4 Key Battles That Could Decide This Saturday's Der Klassiker Clash Between Dortmund & Bayern MunichNischal Schwager-Patel08 Nov 2018
On Saturday, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich will face off in Der Klassiker, Germany's most famous heavyweight clash.
Both teams will be looking for three points, as well as bragging rights, when they face off at Signal Iduna Park.
Dortmund are currently sitting top of the Bundesliga, unbeaten after ten games. Bayern, meanwhile, sit in third place, four points off Die Schwarzgelben. They were in the midst of a crisis however, with Niko Kovac failing to assert the usual dominance that Die Roten have come to expect in recent years.
Lucien Favre's side will feel they have a great chance to get one over on their rivals in what promises to be a fabulous match. Here are four key battles that prove to be decisive in determining the outcome of the three points.
Since joining BVB on loan from Real Madrid, Hakimi has greatly improved Dortmund’s defence quality. The 20-year-old Moroccan already has a vast amount of experience, having played in the Champions League and World Cup.
On Saturday he will face one of the best strikers in the world – Robert Lewandowski. The Polish talisman returns to Signal Iduna Park after leaving four years ago, and since then, has become somewhat of a Bayern legend. This season alone, he has scored 13 goals in 15 games.
This battle will be interesting because we will see how the inexperienced Hakimi deals with the nouse and know how of Lewandowski, who is 10 years older than him. The Polish talisman's movement and power could prove crucial in swinging the pendulum Bayern's way.
From one prolific striker to another, Paco Alcacer will be looking to improve on his fantastic start to the season. Another loanee at Dortmund, the Barcelona man has eight goals in seven games, with an injury preventing him from making further appearances.
Bayern central defender Niklas Süle is his most likely adversary on Saturday, and although he too is also relatively young, he already looks at ease alongside either Mats Hummels or Jerome Boateng in the Bundesliga champions' defence.
He’ll face a tough challenge against an in-form Alcacer though – and their duel should provide an interesting spectacle.
In another face-off between youth and experience, David Alaba will be dealing with a young Englishman who has lit up the Bundesliga.
Jadon Sancho is rapidly developing into one of the most exciting talents in world football, and he already has four goals and six assists to his name this season – despite finding himself limited mainly to brief cameo appearances.
Alaba on the other hand has been at Bayern since 2008, emerging from Bayern's youth system to win six consecutive league titles. He won't face many trickier tests this season though, with this particular battle perhaps the most eye catching.
Two contrasting midfielders complete our set of key battles, as Axel Witsel prepares to face off James Rodriguez.
Since signing for Dortmund from Russian giants Zenit St. Petersburg, Witsel has been outstanding. Playing in a two-man defensive midfield, he is the heartbeat of everything BVB do – breaking up attacks before feeding the ball onto the team's more creative outlets.
He faces the ultimate test of his defensive skills this weekend, with Bayern's Rodriguez likely to test his extensive repertoire of qualities. The Colombian fashions chances with his sublime touch and ability on the ball, and he'll look to exploit any space he may be afforded in central affairs. Closing him down will be vital if Witsel is to come out on top in this one.
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