The Bundesliga usually flies a bit under the radar when compared with other leagues in Europe, but it may be the best division to watch in the continent, and it’s supreme rivalry match at the moment, Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund, just may be the best game to watch in the whole of Europe.
Remember the last two seasons? Dortmund winning four times in the league and one huge Cup final demolition? Forget about it. Bayern haven’t wont the league title two times in a row, and that’s too much for FC Hollywood. The answer? Just a bit of rational tweaking, like bringing in Mario Mandzukic to take over the role of striker from the injured (returning now) Mario Gomez. Gomez has since taken the starting striker position back, but most would argue that the Croatian (9 goals this season is the better player).
It doesn’t really matter, although Mandzukic adds more to the passing game than Gomez. Bayern are built on the people behind the striker – Franck Ribery, Toni Kroos in his best season up to this point, the fantastic Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Muller who seems to be back to impressive form this season, scoring 8 goals so far this season. Bayern are 10 points ahead of Leverkusen, winning 12 of their 14 league matches this season.
Dortmund are left behind, trailing Bayern Munich by 11 points. Maybe the win by the Bavarians in the Super Cup (the German League Cup) before the season signaled a change. Jurgen Klopp’s men have struggled with consistency and the switch from the Champions League to the Bundesliga, failing to win two of their five matches post a UCL game. That might not be such a bad of a record, but with Bayern on record breaking pace, that’s not enough to keep up.
Injuries to Kuba and Gundogan while the erratic form of Mario Gotze have hurt this team, who haven’t lost a match since their October 20 loss to Schalke, but also finish in explicable draws against the likes of Fortuna Dusseldorf at home, like last week. Klopp is also finding that playing both Reus and Gotze together may add to the offensive flair, but hurts his defensive schemes as Reus doesn’t defend as Kevin Großkreutz usually does. There weren’t too many changes made during the summer, with Dortmund holding on to everyone except for Shinji Kagawa, but something in the team’s consistency and ability to break down defenses has been hurt.
Predictions – When Dortmund bring their A game, they look like the best team in Europe. A visit to Bayern should bring the best out of Klopp’s players, but it won’t. Bayern are steamrolling everything they see this season, and will finally get a win over their big rivals this time.