In what is the tightest title race across Europe’s major leagues, Borussia Dortmund head to Bayern Munich with a one-point lead over their Bundesliga rivals. We look ahead to Saturday’s match with the key Opta insights and supercomputer prediction.
Bayern vs Dortmund: Quick Hits
- Bayern the expected winners of this match against Dortmund, with the Opta supercomputer rating their chances of victory at 66.8%.
- Borussia Dortmund have won the most points in the Bundesliga in 2023 (28) and 10 more than Bayern (18) across those 10 matches.
- If Bayern win this match, their chances of winning the Bundesliga rise from 75.4% to 89%.
Whilst this is the 19th time that Bayern and Dortmund face each other while occupying the top two places in the Bundesliga table, it’s only the fifth time that BVB lead Bayern in the standings across those occasions. This happened most recently on matchday 28 of 2018-19, when Bayern hammered Dortmund 5-0 at the Allianz Arena to overtake their rivals and eventually win the Bundesliga title.
This result was no outlier in recent years, as Bayern have had the upper hand over Dortmund for some time now. BVB can gain confidence from their 2-2 home draw with the reigning champions earlier this season, though, as that result ended a sequence of seven successive Bundesliga defeats to Bayern Munich.
The Allianz Arena hasn’t been a venue that Borussia Dortmund have enjoyed playing at in recent memory, with Bayern winning their last eight successive home games in league competition against them whilst averaging more than four goals per game on average (33-6 aggregate score). Across their history in the Bundesliga, Dortmund have only had a longer losing streak away from home against one opponent, losing 10 successive trips to Werder Bremen between 1979 and 1989.
The impact of this result on the Bundesliga title race makes this the most exciting ‘Klassiker’ in quite some time, but just to add further intrigue to the game, Bayern decided to part ways with manager Julian Nagelsmann during the international break and replaced him with no other than former Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel.
Tuchel took charge of Borussia Dortmund from 2015-2017, where he averaged 2.09 points per game in the Bundesliga, which is a club record by a head coach in the competition. Across all competitions since 1963, only one Dortmund coach to have taken charge of at least 20 matches is able to match Tuchel’s 63% win ratio at the club – current boss Edin Terzic, who has also won 63% of games.
Key players look set to be missing from both sides for this huge game. Just as in the first league meeting between the sides back in October, BVB goalkeeper Gregor Kobel is likely to miss out through injury, as will Bayern’s first choice Manuel Neuer. Other Borussia Dortmund players that look doubtful or are completely ruled out for this game include Julian Brandt, Karim Adeyemi, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens and Youssoufa Moukoko, while Lucas Hernandez is certainly out for Bayern.
The record Bundesliga champions will be sweating on the fitness of two of their biggest goal threats – top scorer Jamal Musiala (11 goals plus eight assists) and Eric Choupo-Moting (10 goals) face a race against time to be ready for selection.
Borussia Dortmund 2-2 Bayern Munich 8 October 2022 (Bundesliga)
Dortmund’s winless streak against Bayern Munich stretched to eight successive Bundesliga matches earlier this season when they drew 2-2 at Signal Iduna Park – although it would have felt like a win to Edin Terzic’s side.
Leon Goretzka and Leroy Sane had put Bayern 2-0 up in Dortmund, but for the first time since a 3-3 draw in 2006, Dortmund managed to pick up points from a two-goal deficit in a league game versus Bayern.
Anthony Modeste was the unlikely hero for BVB and collected two of his three Bundesliga goal involvements of the season in this single match. He assisted Youssoufa Moukoko for their first goal before scoring the equaliser deep into added time. That goal remains the Frenchman’s last goal involvement in the Bundesliga to date. To add to Bayern’s pain, Kingsley Coman was sent off in second-half injury time after receiving a second yellow card.
While Bayern dominated possession (56%), it was Dortmund who were the more dangerous side, firing more shots (12-9) and generating a higher xG total (1.6-0.6) than their Bavarian counterparts. Bayern’s nine shots were their fewest in a Bundesliga match against Dortmund since April 2015 (six in a 1-0 win), with the Bavarians scoring both their goals in the reverse fixture from distance.
Bayern Munich have won just five of their 10 Bundesliga matches in 2023 so far (D3 L2), and with 52 points from 25 games, this is their weakest Bundesliga season in 11 years. Back in 2011-12 they had 51 points from their opening 25 games and that season, Borussia Dortmund won the title with Bayern finishing eight points behind in second. That remains the last Bundesliga campaign that Bayern failed to win.
Bayern have shown a particular weakness defensively in the new year, conceding 14 goals across 10 league games (1.40 per game). Before the turn of 2023, Bayern had conceded just 13 times across 15 Bundesliga games (0.87).
In Nagelsmann’s final match in charge at Bayern, they lost 2-1 away at Bayer Leverkusen, despite taking the lead. This was the first time that they have lost a Bundesliga game this season from a leading position, while both of Leverkusen’s goals came from penalties – the first occasion that Bayern had conceded twice from the penalty spot in the same Bundesliga game in 30 years (April 1993 vs. Werder Bremen).
Bayern will hope to lean upon their excellent home form, with the record champions unbeaten in 19 Bundesliga matches at the Allianz Arena (W13 D6), while they have scored in each of their last 52 home league games there (171 goals, 3.29 per game). Tuchel will hope to get off to a good start there, too – no Bayern coach has lost their first ever league game in charge of the club since Franz Beckenbauer in February 1994 (3-1 at home vs. VfB Stuttgart).
While Bayern have struggled, opponents Borussia Dortmund have been near perfect in 2023, winning 28 of a possible 30 points this year. That points tally is seven more than any other team and 10 more than Bayern, while they also lead the Bundesliga rankings for goals (30), total shots (165) and expected goals (21.4) since the new year. Going into the break for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, BVB were in sixth position in the table and nine points behind Bayern – now they find themselves top for the first time since MD2 of the 2019-20 season.
Any doubts that Dortmund would begin to wobble following a week that saw them lose 2-0 to Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League and then draw 2-2 with rivals Schalke 04 just four days later were brushed aside with a dominant 6-1 home win over Köln before the international break. It was the first time they had scored six goals in a Bundesliga match under Edin Terzic.
Bayern Munich: Thomas Müller
It is never easy to predict the changes a new coach is going to make, but Tuchel should find it hard to look past the experienced Thomas Müller. In the final match before the international break, Müller was subbed off at half time at Leverkusen with Bayern still leading 1-0. Without Müller the Bavarians went on to lose the match, ultimately costing Nagelsmann his job.
The match at Leverkusen was just one of two starts in the Bundesliga Rückrunde in which Müller failed to register a goal involvement, the other one was in the 3-2 loss at Gladbach, when he was subbed off after 16 minutes due to Dayot Upamecano’s dismissal. In his other five appearances as a starter in the second half of the 2022-23 Bundesliga season, Müller racked up two goals and four assists, including at least one goal involvement in each of his three starts at the Allianz Arena during this time (one goal, three assists).
With wonderkid Jamal Musiala doubtful for the match after suffering an injury in the match against Leverkusen, Müller’s creativity will be key for the Bavarians. After all, he still leads all Bundesliga players on a per 90 basis for big chances created (0.8), open play expected assists (0.4) and assists (0.6) this season.
Müller has regularly haunted Dortmund, with his six goals and nine assists the most goal involvements of any current Bundesliga player against BVB in league competition. Unlike many of his team-mates Müller did not have any international duties in the past two weeks and thus is both well rested and has been able to spend more time to get to know his new manager.
Borussia Dortmund: Raphael Guerreiro
Left-back Raphael Guerreiro is often seen as a perfect embodiment of Borussia Dortmund. He can produce breath-taking moments going forward – tallying 29 goals and 33 assists in 153 Bundesliga matches – yet the Portuguese international can also be sluggish in his defensive work. Most recently, just as the rest of the team, Guerreiro has been his showcasing only his best form in the Bundesliga.
Guerreiro has been directly involved in nine goals in the second half of this Bundesliga season (two goals, seven assists in five games), a league best, as is his 3.2 open-play chances created per 90 minutes across this period. In 2023 so far, no other player within the top five European leagues has as many assists as the Dortmund star (seven).
For the most recent two league matches, Terzic has moved Guerreiro from his original position as a left-back to central midfield and it paid dividends for Dortmund, with the Portuguese both scoring and assisting in each of those games (two goals, three assists). Across those last two matchdays, no player in the Bundesliga has been involved in as many attacking sequences as Guerreiro (19) whose attacking prowess became even more important following Julian Brandt’s absence due to injury.
It is not the first time that Guerreiro has been deployed in central midfield for Dortmund, he had done so in his first season with the club in 2016-17. Dortmund’s coach back then? You’ve guessed it: Tuchel.
Bayern vs Dortmund Prediction
The Opta supercomputer makes Bayern Munich heavy favourites for Der Klassiker on Saturday, with Thomas Tuchel given a 66.8% chance of picking up a win in his first game in charge of the club. Despite their great form in 2023, Borussia Dortmund are only given a 13.9% chance of winning, with the supercomputer believing Bayern’s impressive home form will be the deciding factor.
One thing is for sure: the result of this match will have huge ramifications for the Bundesliga title race.
Despite currently sitting second in the Bundesliga table, the Opta supercomputer still gives Bayern a massive 75.4% chance of winning their 11th successive German top-flight title. Dortmund’s 23.4% chance will be dramatically improved should they win this game, jumping to 54% and above Bayern’s 46%. Should Bayern defeat Dortmund at home yet again, it looks like it’ll be their title to lose, with their chances improving from 75.4% to 89%.