Munich - It's the game of the season so far: FC Bayern Munich, threatening to run away from the opposition at the top of the standings, against back-to-back champions Borussia Dortmund, in need of a victory just to close the gap on their rivals to a still-imposing eight points.

Needless to say, the build-up to the big match has been inexorably gaining momentum as Saturday's early-evening kick-off (18:30 CET) at the Allianz Arena draws ever closer. And the fascination with this heavyweight clash is by no means confined to the home front.

A record 203 countries around the world will be broadcasting it live through one or other of the DFL's partner companies. bundesliga.com asked leading football analysts from Europe to Japan for an insight into the significance this match, and the Bundesliga in general, in other corners of football's global community...

"It’s fair to say that the Bundesliga’s profile in the UK has never been higher. Regular live broadcasts on ESPN, blogs in the Guardian and Independent, and strong showings from German teams in this year’s Champions League testify to German football’s increasing popularity. Hardly a day goes by without one of the Bundesliga’s stars being linked to various Premier League clubs.

Britain has woken up to the league’s potential, on and off the pitch. The Observer’s David Conn visited Dortmund ahead of the game to look at the Bundesliga’s ownership model this week and London pubs such as the 'Bavarian Beerhouse' on Old Street expect capacity crowds for screenings of the "German clasico" on Saturday night."

"I well recall sitting down to interview (Real Madrid and Spain keeper) Iker Casillas just ahead of the World Cup semi final in 2010. He´s bright, articulate and a student of the game. 'Germany are building a group of players to dominate football for a generation' he told me, admiringly.
His point of view represents the resurgent respect which the Bundesliga and the Mannschaft have earned here in Spain. Coherent youth development, patently clear at both Dortmund and even a Bayern currently spending more in transfer fees than ever before, full stadia because of sensible ticket pricing, respect for the fan base, a well-run league and technically adept players; the Spanish footballing public understands and likes what's happening right now in Germany. Bayern v Dortmund will command an audience in Spain on Saturday, irrespective of the Madrid derby and Barça v Athletic. And a respectful audience at that."


"The English are often accused of being a little insular when it comes to football - and often with good reason - but there is widespread interest here in the meetings between Bayern and Dortmund.

It was BVB's February 2011 win at the Allianz, televised live here, that really caught the imagination, with the boldness of Jürgen Klopp's side impressing. Their stellar performance at the City of Manchester Stadium this autumn, where they outclassed the Premier League champions, got tongues wagging again. Frankly, Dortmund have changed the image of the Bundesliga here from 'Bayern plus 17' to something containing a titanic rivalry which, let's face it, we all love."

"The game kicks off at 2:30 in the morning here in Japan, but there will be plenty of Japanese football fans watching it nonetheless. I'm looking forward tremendously to this heavyweight clash myself, and one of the most intriguing questions is whether Bayern can deliver the goods this time after a string of defeats, culminating in the DFB Cup final in May. Dortmund can accordingly take to the pitch with confidence in Munich and the overriding challenge for Bayern is how to counter the dynamic pressing game that is BVB's trademark. From a Japanese point of view, it is interesting to see how Dortmund are adapting to the departure of Shinji Kagawa. Marco Reus is obviously a different type of player, but given that the team have otherwise remained largely unchanged from last season, they're functioning pretty well already, as they demonstrated recently in Amsterdam. But I still think we are in for another form explosion from Borussia after the winter break!"


"What happens in the Polish league this weekend is almost irrelevant. Nobody is interested in who's playing who in Spain, England or Italy. On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people will settle down to watch the game between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund – or Polonia Dortmund, as they are often referred to here. There has been huge coverage in the run-up. Poland's biggest and longest-established sports newspaper Przeglad Sportowy, for example, has prepared a double-page spread preview of Bayern against Dortmund. Ten percent of the entire paper devoted to a single game! But in Poland, this is a special event. The combination of BVB having three top Polish internationals on the books and the team's incredible success over the past couple of years has led to a real boom in the number of people following the Bundesliga here. And on Saturday, Bayern be up against not just Borussia Dortmund, but a few million Poles as well."


To find out which channel is showing FC Bayern Munich versus Borussia Dortmund in your country, please refer to our WATCH page.