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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bayern Munich V/S Borussia Dortmund - Key Battles

Bayern Munich host defending champions Borussia Dortmund tonight in a clash of mammoth proportions. Bayern will be without the services of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Anatoliy Tymoschuk, but have Arjen Robben returning to action. Heynckes will probably decide to start the Dutchman on the bench and expect him to run riot against the Dortmund back four when he comes on. Dortmund's only player on the injury list is center back Neven Subotic and he will be replaced by Felipe Santana.

Dortmund beat Bayern in both ties last season, but are without the services of the ever so influential Nuri Sahin, who moved to Real Madrid this summer. The other goalscorer for Dortmund over the two games last season, Lucas Barrios, will probably start on the bench yet again. Both teams are brimming with quality and this is proving to be a mouth watering clash. Both teams are not the most efficient defensive units, so if you're a neutral, this could prove to be a highly enjoyable goal-fest.

Let's take a look at which personal battles could prove to be crucial in tonight's game.


Formerly at the Bayern youth academy, Mats Hummels was considered a mere fringe player at the German giants and moved to Dortmund. He has grown to become one of the best defenders in the world and will be looking haunt the Bavarians tonight. His main job will be to shut down the in-form Mario Gomez. Gomez has scored 13 goals in the Bundesliga so far and is the top scorer in the league at the moment. Hummels will have to be at his defensive best tonight and will not be allowed to play higher up, preventing him from playing long balls for the attackers. Hummels might be able to match Gomez in the air, nullifying the German striker to a certain degree.


Marcel Schmelzer is still a doubt for tonight's game, but Klopp will be desperately hoping that the 23 year old is fit to start and keep Thomas Muller quiet. Schmelzer likes pushing forward but his attacking side will be suppressed thanks to the threat posed by Thomas Muller. Muller will link up a lot with Toni Kroos and will look to get in behind Schmelzer to cut it back for Gomez. With Hummels drawn out of the equation courtesy Gomez, Muller will look to annihilate Dortmund down the right. Schmelzer's attacking may also prove a threat to Bayern since Grosskreutz will keep Boateng busy, giving a lot of space for Schmelzer to run into.


A 22 year old German and a 19 year old Austrian. Both touted as future superstars. And tonight they shall lock horns in a game that could prove decisive in the fight for the Bundesliga. Alaba will be the more attacking of the two and will shift more towards the wing. Bender will have to prevent the austrian from doing so while pushing forward himself. Alaba is not the best holding midfielder around and Bender will have to take complete advantage of that. By dragging Alaba out of the middle, Bender will look to release Kagawa through the middle and Gotze down the left. If Bender proves to be successful, Dortmund may possibly pick up 3 crucial points in the race for the title.


Nuri Sahin was by far the most influential figure in the last two meetings between the two teams. Goals in both ties and dictating play throughout the 180 minutes, Sahin destroyed Bayern but his absence could now destroy Dortmund. Dortmund lack the creativity that Sahin provided. Kehl and Bender are destroyers and lack creativity. They lack the ability to crack defences open with a single pass.

Coming to Bayern, they will miss Schweinsteiger dearly. His place will be taken by Alaba, a player with very little experience, thus making that Bayern defence fairly vulnerable. Bayern will lack tenacity, vision and strength in midfield thanks to the absence of Schweinsteiger. 

MY PREDICTION : Bayern Munich 2-2 Borussia Dortmund

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