Bayern Munich travel to Borussia Dortmund for the first Klassiker of the 2023/24 campaign on Satuday. As Harry Kane hits his stride and Manuel Neuer makes the spot between the sticks his own once more, bundesliga.com walks you through five reasons why Bayern will prevail...
1) Kane on fire
As Kane prepares for his first Klassiker, the England captain could hardly be in better form. A tally of 12 goals from his first nine Bundesliga outings is a league-wide record, and he has already plundered two hat-tricks, against Bochum (7-0) and Darmstadt (8-0).
The latter displayed his versatility in front of goal: his first showed fantastic positioning and awareness to nod home from close range for his first, while his second, a stunning, pinpoint effort from inside his own half, may have already secured the Goal of the Season award. For the third, he kept his composure when one-on-one with Marcel Schuhen before slotting into the corner.
There is so much more to Kane’s game than just goals, however. He already has five league assists to his name, which takes his goal involvement tally for the campaign to 17 strikes – unsurprisingly, that is more than anyone else in the top flight.
Watch: Harry Kane: Dream Goal & Next Milestone
The 30-year-old’s all-round game is up there with the very best on the planet, allowing him to hurt Dortmund in a variety of different ways. It will, therefore, be all but impossible for BVB to keep him quiet at Signal Iduna Park.
2) Neuer is back
Although Sven Ulreich has been more than reliable for Bayern early on this season, Neuer’s return from injury after breaking his leg during the 2022/23 winter break is an undoubted boost for Thomas Tuchel. The Germany international knows a thing or two about beating Dortmund, having done so 19 times in all competitions while on Bayern’s books, and his presence will be invaluable once again on Saturday.
It is not just his shot-stopping ability that make him a key component of Bayern’s sustained success – only Union Berlin's Frederik Rønnow (81.5 per cent) managed a better save ratio than Neuer (79.5 per cent) last term among Germany's elite. As club captain, the former Schalke goalkeeper also possesses the leadership skills a squad full of ambition and world-class individuals requires.
His distribution is another quality that makes him stand out from the rest of his peers and, even as he now approaches the end of his career, he remains one of the very best. A clean sheet on his return to Bundesliga action against Darmstadt was the perfect way to reintroduce himself, and he will be looking to back that up against Die Schwarzgelben.
3) Sané and a goal-hungry supporting cast
If you thought Kane was putting opponents to the sword on his own, you would be sorely mistaken. Across the opening nine matchdays, Bayern have struck on 34 occasions, which is a Bundesliga record.
Nine different players have found the back of the net, including Leroy Sané, who is currently in the midst of his best run of form since moving to Bavaria from Manchester City in 2020. The Germany international has eight goals in the Bundesliga alone, as well as two assists, and has already struck up a strong understanding with Bayern’s new No.9.
After a low-key start to the season, Jamal Musiala opened his Bundesliga account with a brace against Darmstadt and appears to be hitting his stride, while Mathys Tel has struck three times from the substitutes' bench, impressing in each of his nine cameos.
Thomas Müller has had a more reduced role over the past few weeks, but his quality and experience remain unparalleled, while Leon Goretzka and Serge Gnabry, both back in contention after recovering from their respective injuries, are also major offensive threats. There are goals wherever you look in this Bayern team – stopping Kane is only part of the task facing Edin Terzić’s side.
4) A watertight backline
It is not just in the final third that Bayern have upped their game this campaign – they are looking imperious at the back, too. No side has conceded fewer than their seven Bundesliga goals so far this season, while the four clean sheets they have kept is just one behind RB Leipzig, who lead the way with five.
Uncertainty and instability have not prevented Tuchel’s men from standing firm in the face of opposition attacks. Injuries have kept Matthijs de Ligt and Dayot Upamecano on the sidelines at times, but new arrival Min-jae Kim, who was recently named the Asian Football Confederation Asian International Player of the Year (given to players plying their trade on a different continent) has settled into the heart of the back four with ease.
Alphonso Davies, meanwhile, looks back to his best, already popping up with three Bundesliga assists while contributing defensively. With Neuer now also back, Bayern will, ominously for BVB, only improve.
5) Bayern on top in Der Klassiker
In recent meetings between the two sides, Bayern have made this fixture a recurring nightmare for Dortmund. The 2-2 draw during Matchday 9 last term was the only one of the last 10 games that Die Roten haven't won, whether that be at the Allianz Arena or away from home. They have scored at least twice in all but one of those encounters, continually underlining their supremacy over their perennial closest rivals for the Meisterschale.
Watch: Bayern beat Dortmund 4-2 on way to the title last season
In seven of their last nine wins against the Ruhr-based outfit, Bayern have scored at least three times. Mental superiority is an important aspect of any rivalry, and Der Rekordmeister’s record against Dortmund, as well as the manner in which they clinched the 2022/23 title - overturning a two-point deficit on the final day - means they will go into this particular clash with a sizeable psychological advantage.
Vote: Who will win Der Klassiker?
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