The biggest rivalry in Germany gets another airing on Wednesday as Bayern Munich host Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals of the DFB Pokal. After two seasons in which Dortmund were the side to beat, the teams meet this time around with Bayern in the midst of an incredible campaign.
The Bundesliga title is all but wrapped for Jupp Heynckes’s side, as they hold a 17 point lead over second-placed Dortmund, while a 3-1 first-leg victory away at Arsenal confirmed Bayern as perhaps the favorites for the Champions League.
But Dortmund would love nothing more to throw a significant spanner in the works of Bayern’s seemingly unchecked march to glory. While they have not performed to expectations in the league, Jurgen Klopp’s side have every reason to travel to Munich with optimism.
Dortmund have had the edge on Bayern in recent times and are undefeated in their last six clashes with Germany’s most successful club. Part of that run was a dominating 5-2 victory in the cup final last season.
There is another subplot surrounding the game, with the reported strong interest from Bayern in Dortmund’s key striker Robert Lewandowski. The Poland international will return to the visitors’ side, having missed Dortmund’s 1-1 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach at the weekend through suspension. Mats Hummels looks likely to miss out, however.
Bayern will have Javi Martinez and Daniel van Buyten available after injury and illness, respectively, but Franck Ribery is suspended.
Bayern Munich (probable)
D: Lahm, Van Buyten, Dante, Alaba
M: Martinez, Schweinsteiger
Muller, Kroos, Robben
Borussia Dortmund (probable)
D: Piszczek, Subotic, Santana, Schmelzer
M: Gundogan, Kehl
Blaszczykowski, Gotze, Reus
Prediction: Dortmund’s hunger, work rate and pace has seen them become Bayern’s bogey side in recent times. While Dortmund are having a poor season in the Bundesliga, they have showed in the Champions League that they remain a thrillingly accomplished outfit.
But Bayern are a different animal this season, with the failures of the previous campaign appearing to inspire them. There is now far greater work off the ball and that could be crucial in preventing Dortmund’s stunning counter attacks. It promises to be close and the match may even go to extra time, but Bayern should just prevail.
Bayern Munich 2-1 Borussia Dortmund
Where to watch: The DFB Pokal quarterfinal will kick-off from the Allianz Arena at 2.30 p.m. ET. A live stream can be viewed on ESPN3.