Nagelsmann: ‘The team that shuts down the opponent’s top striker, increases the chances of winning’
Bayern Munich’s coach Julian Nagelsmann talks about the upcoming match vs Dortmund and how they want to stop Erling Haaland.
Dortmund vs Bayern Munich: Line-ups
If Haaland Returns, He Can Make a Difference
The unexpected return of Erling Braut Haaland to the Dortmund squad last weekend provided a much-needed boost to the second-placed title challengers. Having watched on from the sidelines as his teammates limped across the finish line in numerous Bundesliga encounters, whilst all but failing to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League as well, Haaland returned with a goal off the substitutes bench at Wolfsburg to seal a 3-1 win.
Despite Marco Rose’s side faltering in Europe and being far from their best in the absence of their star man domestically as well, Dortmund managed to grind out the wins to maintain the pressure on Saturday’s opponents at the top of the table. Dortmund head into Der Klassiker just a single point behind Bayern, with a win taking them to top spot for the first time this campaign, which would see them in a strong position to finally put together a consistent challenge for their opponents’ crown and prevent a 10th-consecutive Bundesliga title.
However, Dortmund will be all too aware of the almost meaningless nature of form heading into this occasion, with six straight defeats suffered against their rivals in all competitions, despite approaching some encounters in a seemingly advantageous position compared to Bayern. The 3-1 defeat in the DFL-Supercup back in August was an appropriate example of this, with BVB heading into that clash on the back of a 5-2 thrashing of Eintracht Frankfurt on the opening Bundesliga weekend, whilst Bayern struggled to a 1-1 draw at Borussia Monchengladbach in Julian Nagelsmann’s debut game as manager.
In both recent triumphs, the Bavarians have lacked a clinical edge in the final third – an attribute that they have possessed with huge success for most of Nagelsmann’s tenure to date – with an incredible 76 goals being scored in 21 competitive fixtures in the 2021-22 campaign so far. Included within that astonishing total was the sole strike from Leroy Sane in the 1-0 victory against Bielefeld at the Allianz Arena last weekend, with the winning goal not arriving until the 71st minute following a barrage on their opponents’ goal up to that point.
A far greater winning margin would have been expected against the relegation candidates on home soil and although it is not ideal preparation for the top-of-the-table clash on Saturday, Bayern will be sure to maintain their level-headed confidence of being able to outclass their rivals once more.
These giant clashes can tend to go one of two ways in terms of a tight affair with little action or an entertaining encounter with plenty of goals, but considering the 20 goals across the last four meetings, as well as Nagelsmann’s high-risk approach at Bayern, we are predicting the latter for Saturday’s spectacle. Despite the drop off in standards by Bayern in recent weeks, they can never be written off in Der Klassiker meetings, and for this reason we believe they will edge out a Dortmund side boosted by the return of Haaland.