Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund Preview: Team News, Key Battles, Classic Encounters and More

James Charlton

While the Champions League semi-final looms over both German sides Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, both sides find themselves playing against each other on Saturday before their very important first legs in Europe.

Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga

Bayern Munich will be coming into the weekends game having lost to the impressive Hoffenheim 1-0 and most likely in the mood to wrap up the Bundesliga title as soon as possible.

Borussia Dortmund haven't had the season they expected, with many thinking they would be battling out for the title, they have fallen from those expectations quite early in the season where now they lay 4th in the league. Unlike Bayern, however, Dortmund recorded a comfortable home win against Hamburg in their most recent game.

​Classic Encounter

When it comes to Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund there have been many tight-knit games in the past. Dortmund actually won the first of this season ties between the two 1-0 and now have an opportunity to do the double - a feat that is extremely rare against a powerhouse club like Bayern.

1-0 was a great result, however the 2012/13 Champions League final pitted these two European giants against each other in what was a more important game.

Borussia Dortmund v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Final
Borussia Dortmund v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Final

With both sides missing a series of chances, Bayern forward  Mario Mandžukić  was able to score in the 60th minute for only Ikay Gundogan to score a penalty eight minutes later. It was t he first goal Bayern had conceded in the competition in 432 minutes – yet it was Bayern who looked more likely to snatch a late winner.

So it proved too, as in the 89th minute as Robben wriggled through to take the trophy to Munich for the fifth time.

Key Battles

Thiago vs Julian Weigl


BVB will be hoping that German international Julian Weigl is fit for the game. This season for Bayern though, Thiago has left his injury problems in the past and has well and truly blossomed into a world-class talent. 

The Spanish star has been dominant in games, cutting passing lanes, transferring the ball from defence to attack and being moulded by manager Ancelotti as the creative hub of a very exciting team. Four goals and five assists doesn't do his work rate justice as he sets his eyes on finally completing a season injury-free.

It will be up to the young Weigl to stop the the former Barcelona player from playing killer passes in dangerous positions or getting the ball in key areas of the pitch. He will have his work cut out if his fitness doubt overcomes him however.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang vs Jerome Boateng

Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Dortmund - DFB Cup Final 2016
Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Dortmund - DFB Cup Final 2016

The Black and Yellows will look to their star man Aubameyang to see them through to the end of the season with the squad having a series of fitness and injury problems. The Gabon international has been their key man this season once again with 25 goals in 25 games.

What's very impressive is that the forward has found the next in each of Dortmund's last seven games - where he's managed to rack up 11 goals. A hat-trick against Benfica in the Champions League quarter-final second leg was the most notable.

It will be up to Boateng and co to null the threat of the lightening-quick striker. The German international has had an injury-hit season and only managed to play in nine games in the Bundesliga. Even if the 28-year-old was to miss out, both Mats Hummels and possible partner Javi Martinez would have to rely on their anticipation and awareness to stop Dortmund's main goal threat.

Team News

Borussia Moenchengladbach v Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga
Borussia Moenchengladbach v Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga

Sven Ulreich will feature in goal once again with Manuel Neuer out injured. Thomas Muller is also ruled out here but both will return against Real Madrid next week with both  Jérôme Boateng and Javi Martínez set to compete for a spot at centre-back. 

Robert Lewandowski had to leave the training pitch early on Thursday, but already confirmed it was just a precautionary measure and that he will be ready to start here. 

Borussia Dortmund v Hamburger SV - Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund v Hamburger SV - Bundesliga

Julian Weigl, Shinji Kagawa, Lukasz Piszczek and Marca Bartra have been described as doubtful for Saturday's clash with Bayern Munich by head coach Thomas Tuchel. 

Matthias Ginter will probably be required either at right-back, central midfield or centre-back depending on whether some of the aforementioned players failed to recover from their injuries in time.

Sokratis returns from suspension and will play at centre-back here and  If Marcel Schmelzer does not recover from his back problems in time, Raphael Guerreiro could get a chance at left-back. 

Predicted Lineups

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim v Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim v Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga

Bayern Munich: (4-2-3-1) Ulreich; Lahm, Boateng, Hummels, Alaba; Alonso, Vidal; Robben, Thiago, Ribery; Lewandowski

Borussia Dortmund: (4-1-4-1) Burki; Piszcek, Sokratis, Bartra, Schmelzer; Weigl; Pulisic, Castro, Kagawa, Dembele; Aubameyang


Bayern rested several players in their disappointing 1-0 defeat at Hoffenheim in midweek and want to make a statement with their strongest XI here. They are unbeaten at home this season and hope to overcome their main rivals in recent years, with Dortmund not having been able to rotate as much due to injuries.

BVB have only won one of their last five away games in the Bundesliga and need to improve their balance against a team of Bayern's quality. A positive result here could be very important to keep pace with Hoffenheim in the third spot though, which must be reached for direct Champions League qualification.

Expect this to be an intense and hard-fought game, with several opportunities at both ends of the pitch, but a rested home side being favourites to win.

Bayern Munich 2-1 Borussia Dortmund

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