Key battles in the first ‘Der Klassiker’ of Bundesliga 2019-20
Sportsbet.io takes a look at the decisive battles that will aid Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund’s cause to claim the latest ‘Der Klassiker’.
Bayern Munich, who recently relieved Niko Kovac of his managerial duties, enter the contest with just a win in their last four fixtures. The Bavarians romped off to a commanding 5-0 win in the last meeting between the teams, but given the injury crisis at hand, the scenario of a possible annihilation seems to be on the cards.
Dortmund’s last win at the Allianz Arena came back in 2014. Although based on their form guide, Die Borussen are presented an opportunity to end Bayern’s five-game derby winning run in Munich. Lucien Favre’s men will start as favourites in the latest edition of the ‘Der Klassiker’, and stay in pursuit of table-toppers, Monchengladbach.
ALPHONSO DAVIES vs ACHRAF HAKIMI
As first choice left-back David Alaba will start in the heart of the defence, Alphonso Davies is poised to start for Bayern against Dortmund. The 19-year-old has started in two of his six Bundesliga appearances so far, contributing a goal and 88.1% successful passes from open play. However, given the fact that the Canadian youngster has won just 55.2% of his duels, it will be interesting how Davies will stand out against Achraf Hakimi.
The Moroccan international has been Dortmund's standout performer in recent weeks, and recently inspired a miraculous comeback for Die Borussen against Inter Milan in the Champions League. The 21-year-old is a versatile figure on the right flank, and given he has registered 85.7% successful passes from open play, Hakimi will look to spell doom for Bayern's makeshift defender Davies.
PHILIPPE COUTINHO vs THOMAS DELANEY
Since signing up on loan from Barcelona, Coutinho is developing into a crucial piece of the puzzle at Bayern and has registered two goals and three assists in nine league appearances. The 27-year-old is a versatile midfielder and is widely regarded as a player with a perfect mix of creativity and lethal finishing.
To counter his prowess, Dortmund will turn to Thomas Delaney who has been a keen figure in the heart of the midfield. The 28-year-old has won 59.6% of his duels and 57.1% of his ground duels, and Die Borussen will have the Danish international stationed around the Brazil playmaker.
ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI vs MATS HUMMELS
Team-mates at Dortmund and Bayern at one point of time, Lewandowski will resume his ‘friendly’ rivalry with Hummels at the Allianz Arena on Saturday. The Polish attacker is the Bundesliga’s all-time foreign goalscorer and currently leads the season’s goalscoring charts with 14 goals in 10 games. Lewandowski has 14 league goals against his former employers, but Dortmund will look upto the influential Mats Hummels to be a strong obstacle in his way.
The veteran German is enjoying his return to Dortmund, with the club keeping four clean sheets on his watch. Hummels has won 67.1% of his duels but commands ascendancy in aerial confrontations, winning 74.3% of the contested duels. As Die Borussen boast the third most watertight defence in the division after 10 matches (11 conceded), Hummels will have the daunting task of subduing his former team-mate, Lewandowski’s goalscoring instincts.
Words: William Paul