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5 talking points before Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich

The first ‘Der Klassiker’ of the season will be played at Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion.

FOOTBALL 03/11/17 15:46
5 talking points before Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich

This weekend sees the return of ‘Der Klassiker’ as Germany’s top two, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, go head-to-head on Saturday.

The Bundesliga rivals are separated by only three points at the top of the table.

Here, Press Association Sport’s Will Dennis looks at five talking points ahead of the game.

Lewandowski v Aubameyang

Two of the world’s leading strikers will be on opposite sides in a fascinating sub-plot. The pair have been competing for more than just club honours recently, as both are looking to be the Bundesliga’s top scorer at the end of the season.

In 2016 Robert Lewandowski claimed the prize, scoring 30 goals and becoming one of only six players to do so in a Bundesliga season. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang became the seventh as he notched 31 last season, pipping his rival by just the one goal. This season the pair are tied on 10.

The Heynckes Effect

Wind back five weeks to when Carlo Ancelotti was in charge of Bayern – the defending champions’ faltering start had left them five points off the pace set by Dortmund. Ancelotti lost his job at the end of September, only for Bayern’s popular former manager Jupp Heynckes to step back into the Bayern hotseat for the fourth time.

Since then Bayern have been on a six-match winning run and reeled in their rivals to sit top of Bundesliga once again. While the 72-year-old’s record against Dortmund might not be brilliant, it is the most recent game in which he was involved that will have Bayern fans excited. The all-German Champions League final at Wembley in 2013 saw Heynckes and his brilliant Bayern crowned kings of Europe.

Difficult to split

While Bayern may have come out on top in terms of winning the league recently, it is difficult to separate the two sides when it comes to their head-to-head record at the Westfalenstadion.

Dortmund have won 18 out of 56 meetings, with Bayern triumphing 16 times. The sides’ recent history is similarly close. Since the new millennium the home side have come out on top nine times with Bayern winning eight. There have been nine draws.

Stuttering Dortmund

Since Ancelotti’s sacking at the end of September, Dortmund have won just once in four Bundesliga games, dropping them down to second, with RB Leipzig one point behind in third.

While key players Aubameyang and Christian Pulisic were missing for two of those fixtures, Dortmund can ill afford many more slip-ups, with a rejuvenated Bayern looking back to their best.

Is Gotze Back?

The 25-year-old may be slowly returning to his best following a seven-month lay-off due to a metabolic disorder. Although not at his peak physically, technically he is still one of the best players in the Bundesliga and, now he is playing in central midfield, has contributed four assists in 11 games.

The former Bayern man has played five 90-minute matches in the space of 17 days, not bad for a player with his injury record. He and Dortmund will hope it is a sign his luck is changing.

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