Image from ctpost.com
The most hyped fixture around the world is undoubtably Spain’s “El Clasico” between rival giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, and for good reason, but there is another big derby game developing in world football – the Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund fixture in the Bundesliga is quickly becoming a “clasico” in itself.
While Bayern have for a long time been the biggest club in Germany, Dortmund have had a resurgence in recent years and have become Bayern’s most competitive rival in the Bundesliga.
Dortmund have secured back to back Bundesligas thanks to Jürgen Klopp’s revolution at the club, but after their much anticipated derby at the weekend, Bayern look set to reclaim the league after accumulating an impressive lead as they head towards the half-way point of the season.
After a 1-1 draw that saw German internationals Toni Kroos and Mario Goetze score at Bayern’s Allianz Arena this weekend, Bayern hold a massive 11 point lead over their yellow rivals.
In fact, Dortmund are not even the closest team to Bayern – BVB sit in third place, while Bayer Leverkusen separate the two competitors, three points up on Dortmund and eight behind Bayern.
The Bavarians have shown incredible determination to bounce back; last season they lost three potential trophies in heartbreaking fashion – losing the league and cup to Dortmund and losing the Champion’s League trophy in their own stadium to English side Chelsea.
But bounce back they have.
Bayern have stormed to the top of the Bundesliga this season, winning 12 games, drawing 2 and losing only one match. Die Roten have scored a staggering 41 goals, 11 more than any other team (the closest of which, inevitably, is Dortmund) and conceding only 6 goals in the process.
As well, they are joint top of their UEFA Champion’s League group after 5 games, tied with Valencia on 10 points. Bayern is in front on head-to-head (they beat Valencia once and tied them another time) but both teams are already through to the knockout stages.
Bayern have been boosted by the additions of versatile midfielder Javi Martínez and Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic (who is Bayern’s top scorer in the Bundesliga with 9 goals) and also by the tremendous form of key players such as Franck Ribéry and Thomas Müller.
Ribéry has been at his best, scoring four and asissting six in the Bundesliga, while Müller has also captured his 09/10 season form, scoring eight and assisting seven.
Add to that the contributions of ever-present players like Philipp Lahm, Toni Kroos, and Manuel Neuer, and Bayern’s success looks all the more reasonable.
The dominance that Bayern has achieved so far in Bundesliga season makes it highly unlikely that the Bavarians will be caught, but despite being only in third place, if anyone is to catch them it will be Dortmund.
Despite adding star winger Marco Reus to add to their squad which achieved two Bundesliga titles on the bounce (while also adding a DFB Pokal cup in that period) Klopp’s side has struggled to keep up with the blistering start that Bayern have had to the Bundesliga season.
Bayern can be confident that the Bundesliga is in their control, but with Leverkusen, Schalke and especially Dortmund chasing them, they would be foolish to think they’ve already won.