Jude Bellingham and Sadio Mane are just two of a number of compelling reasons to tune into Der Klassiker as Borussia Dortmund host Bayern Munich on Saturday. - © /
Jude Bellingham and Sadio Mane are just two of a number of compelling reasons to tune into Der Klassiker as Borussia Dortmund host Bayern Munich on Saturday. - © DFL
bundesliga

5 reasons to watch Der Klassiker between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich

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It's Borussia Dortmund. Against Bayern Munich. In Der Klassiker. As if that were not reason enough to tune in, allow bundesliga.com to hammer home just why you should.

1) Top-quality football

It’s why we watch football in the first place, isn’t it? To marvel at the best of the best doing what they do best.

And Bayern and Dortmund have been Germany’s leading duo for the last decade, if not more. Granted, they might not be occupying the top two positions in the table right now but over the course of the past few years, the cream has invariably risen to the top.

Dortmund underperformed by their own high standards last season, even if they did finish as runners-up, but under head coach Edin Terzic this term they have demonstrated a grit they have previously been lacking. While there have been disappointing defeats by Cologne, Werder Bremen and Leipzig, BVB have also shown they can grind out results when they need to, having done so against Schalke, Leverkusen and Freiburg.

Watch: Tactical analysis of Dortmund's win over Schalke

The summer arrivals of some serious no-nonsense players in Salih Özcan, Niklas Süle and Nico Schlotterbeck goes some way to explaining that, coupled with the firm but approachable Terzic in charge. “We see every day how well Edin works with the players, both in sporting and emotional terms,” said sporting director Sebastian Kehl. “He’s an incredibly meticulous worker who addresses problems in an open an honest way.”

In the opposite dugout, Julian Nagelsmann is widely regarded as one of the finest tactical masterminds in the game. Still just 35, he won the Bundesliga title in his debut season at the club last season and more often than not has some carefully concocted plan up his sleeve for the big occasions.

For example, against Leverkusen last weekend he rejigged what had been a misfiring front line that had managed just four goals in four games between Matchdays 4 and 7. He fielded Sadio Mane wide on the left, Leroy Sane on the right, and Jamal Musiala and Thomas Müller as a central strike pairing in a formation the quartet had never played in before. And it worked, with Bayern running out 4-0 winners in a game in which all four players got on the scoresheet.

Watch: Highlights of Bayern's win over Leverkusen

2) Star allure

Those four players make up just some of the household names that will be on display at the Signal Iduna Park - Germany's largest and Europe's best attended stadium.

In the same way that movie-goers flock to theatres to see their favourite Hollywood actors on the big screen, so too in football. And there will be nothing but A-listers strutting their stuff in Der Klassiker.

“Fans come to the stadiums to see such unique players,” Bayern president Herbert Hainer said of Mane when the signing was announced in the summer. He could easily have been talking about any member of the two squads. Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels, Matthijs de Ligt, Süle, Sane, Alphonso Davies and Julian Brandt are all likely to start… and the list goes on.

3) The promise of youth

In addition to witnessing established stars at the top of their game, the Bundesliga is also the place to be if you want to see the world’s brightest young talents forge their paths.

And while you could be forgiven for thinking that is mainly the case at smaller clubs where there is perhaps less pressure to deliver every week, Dortmund and Bayern are not shy about blooding fresh-faced greenhorns either.

Jude Bellingham - who captained Dortmund for the first time on Matchday 8 - Musiala, Karim Adeyemi and Ryan Gravenberch are all in the running for this year’s Kopa Trophy, a prize presented to the best player over the past year under the age of 21 as part of the famous Ballon d'Or celebrations.

The same quartet are also in contention for the prestigious Golden Boy gong, awarded by Italian sports newspaper Tuttosport in recognition of Europe’s best U21 player. Gio Reyna, who will likely miss the Klassiker through injury, is also on the list, as is Mathys Tel, the 17-year-old Bayern forward who recently became the club’s youngest ever goalscorer.

And then there is also BVB teenager Youssoufa Moukoko, who has broken all manner of appearance and goalscoring records since making his top-flight debut the day after turning 16.

Der Klassiker offers a chance to see if they have what it takes to shine at the very top: who will sink and who will swim?

4) Goals by the bucket

A whopping 342 goals have been scored in this fixture, ahead of what will be the 107th Bundesliga Klassiker: 129 for Dortmund and 213 for Bayern. That equates to an average of 3.23 goals per game.

There have only ever been five goalless draws when these teams have met in a top-flight encounter, and only two of those since the turn of the century. In short, then, goals are all but guaranteed!

Watch: Musiala vs. Bellingham - friends turned Klassiker rivals

5) Title race implications

It’s not all about the entertainment, though: there are some serious, potentially title-deciding points at stake too.

Dortmund’s surprise capitulation in Cologne on Matchday 8 deprived them of the chance to go top of the table and maintain their three-point advantage over Bayern. Yet that only serves to add spice to an already fully seasoned Klassiker dish: the teams are level on 15 points, with Bayern above BVB thanks to their (far) superior goal difference.

If Dortmund win, in front of their raucous Yellow Wall, no less, it would be morale-boosting result that would lift confidence in their ability to mount a sustained title tilt. Should Bayern triumph, Terzic’s men will be forced into playing a game of catch-up once more.

Marco Reus (l.) will be one high-profile absentee in the Matchday 9 Klassiker due to an ankle injury. - Sebastian Widmann/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty

Both teams will also be eager to squirrel away as many points as possible in the run up to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, each packing in 13 matches across a 45-day period.

Fatigue, injuries and squad rotation may well play a larger role in 2022/23 than in any other season, adding greater significance to banking points – particularly against a direct rival - in a hectic period that is likely to throw up several more surprises.