Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund: It could be a classic Klassiker

Der Klassiker is one of the biggest games on the German football calendar, and Kevin Hatchard expects a thriller in Munich.

Bayern have the chance to make a statement

Bayern's biggest challenge has generally come from Borussia Dortmund during their recent run of domination, but now they face a different threat, and Der Klassiker is no longer their toughest test of the season. The game that could truly define the title race is in early April, as they visit second-placed RB Leipzig. The gap at the top is just two points, but after having a post-Club World Cup wobble, Bayern look to be back on track.

Thomas Müller and Serge Gnabry made their returns from illness and injury respectively in last weekend's 5-1 demolition of Köln, and that came hot on the heels of the 4-1 thrashing of Lazio in Rome in the Champions League. Gnabry bagged a brace against Köln, while Müller set up a goal just 14 seconds after coming on, his 11th league assist of the campaign.

Bayern have already beaten Dortmund twice, winning 3-2 on both occasions, and they relish this kind of contest.

Robert Lewandowski

almost always raises his game against his former club - in his 22 meetings with Die Schwarzgelben, he has rattled in 19 goals. The Polish international is on course to break the single-season scoring record in the Bundesliga. The great Gerd Müller set the bar at 40 goals, but Lewandowski has already scored 28, and has 11 games left.

Benjamin Pavard is back in training after recovering from COVID-19, and could slot in at right-back, with Niklas Süle either dropping out or moving to centre-back. Bayern will be able to field an eleven that is pretty close to their best, with Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich dovetailing in midfield, and two from Gnabry, Kingsley Coman and Leroy Sane flanking Müller.

Resurgent Dortmund face acid test

Borussia Dortmund have had some incredible coaches, players and teams in recent years, but regardless of their line-up, they have developed a genuine mental block when it comes to visiting the Allianz Arena. They haven't won their since the 2017 DFB Cup semi-final, when Ousmane Dembele played a starring role in a thrilling 3-2 victory. Since then, they have lost 2-1, 6-0, 5-0, 4-0 and 3-2 at the Allianz Arena, with the most recent defeat coming in the DFL Supercup in September.

The current Dortmund side is on a high after winning four straight competitive matches. They won at Sevilla in the Champions League, swept aside local rivals Schalke 4-0 in the Revierderby, overpowered Arminia Bielefeld 3-0 and won 1-0 at Borussia Mönchengladbach in the DFB Cup quarter-finals.

At the heart of this form have been Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland. Sancho has racked up 12 goals and 12 assists in all competitions, and scored a fantastic winner against Gladbach. Haaland has scored in only three of his last ten games, but his link-up play has still been excellent at times, and he scored one of the goals of the season at Schalke.

Both Sancho and outstanding left-back Raphael Guerreiro are expected to shake off minor knocks, but Axel Witsel and Manuel Akanji are still out.

Bayern rightful favourites

We can't ignore Dortmund's recent bounce, but Bayern have already beaten them twice this season, and BVB find it really hard to put together a 90-minute performance against the Bavarian giants.

Bayern are 1.64 in the Match Odds market, and that seems too big considering their home record against Dortmund, and indeed their overall recent record against them

Goals galore the way to go

Bayern will always operate with a high line under Hansi Flick, and they continue to have sloppy moments when they don't have the ball. With 11 matchdays left, the champions have conceded the same number of league goals as they did in the whole of last season, and they have managed just five clean sheets in the Bundesliga.

If you look at Bayern's games against the big teams this term, there tend to be goals. They drew 3-3 with RB Leipzig, lost 3-2 at Borussia Mönchengladbach, won 2-1 at Bayer Leverkusen and won 3-2 at Dortmund.

With both attacks in form, I fancy Over 3.5 Goals, and I'll combine it by backing Lewandowski to score on the Same Game Multi at 2.16 on the Sportsbook.

If you instead want to combine Over 3.5 Goals with backing Erling Haaland to score, that combination is 2.9, or you can simply back the Norwegian sensation to score at evens. Haaland has netted in both games against Bayern this term.

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