It's Borussia Dortmund. Against Bayern Munich. In Der Klassiker. As if that were not reason enough to tune in on Matchday 10, allow bundesliga.com to hammer home just why you should...
1) Perennial title rivals
Bayern are defending champions and have not lost in the league, Dortmund are also unbeaten after nine rounds of fixtures and hot on their heels. Only two points and two places separate the two rivals, six months on from one of the most dramatic conclusions to a title race in Bundesliga history.
On the final day of last season, Dortmund had a first Bundesliga title since 2011/12 in their hands. With a two-point lead over Bayern, all they had to do to be sure of sealing the deal was win at home to Mainz. Anything else, and they'd be relying on Cologne to do them a favour against Bayern. Easier said than done.
BVB fell two goals behind at the Signal Iduna Park, whilst Bayern took the lead in Cologne. The record champions were pegged back, before Jamal Musiala scored a decisive 89th-minute winner. The Black-Yellows did level at 2-2 against Mainz, but it was too little, too late. Bayern were crowned champions for a record-extending 11th season in a row.
Watch: Decision day in the 2022/23 title race - relived
In hindsight, Dortmund were the first to admit that it was previous results that cost them top honours. They blew a 2-0 lead in defeat to Werder Bremen and in a draw with VfB Stuttgart, were held by Bochum and lost 4-2 on former coach Thomas Tuchel's debut in the Bayern dugout. BVB could also only draw with Bayern on home soil, albeit recovering from a 2-0 deficit in a high-spirited display, the like of which has enabled them to keep picking up results this season without necessarily playing their best football. And as the old adage goes, that is the mark of champions...
2) A Harry Kane Klassiker?
Not that Bayern have done much to suggest they won't defend their crown once again in 2023/24. The record champions have won seven of nine so far, only dropping points in draws with DFB Cup and Supercup holders RB Leipzig, and leaders Bayer Leverkusen. Slowly but surely, Tuchel is recasting Bayern in his vision, aided and abetted by the acquisition of England captain Harry Kane.
The former Tottenham Hotspur goal machine has scored 12 times in his first nine Bundesliga appearances, whilst producing five assists. That's nine more goal involvements than Dortmund's chief attacking threat, Julian Brandt, and the second-best goals haul league wide behind VfB Stuttgart phenom Serhou Guirassy (14). For added context, last season's joint-top marksman Niclas Füllkrug has just two goals in nine Bundesliga outings since moving to BVB from Werder Bremen at the end of August.
Watch: Niclas Füllkrug and Harry Kane compared
Not only is Kane the more prolific leading man, he also has the experience of playing in numerous London derbies in Tottenham colours. They don't compare to Der Klassiker as a global spectacle, but his record in such high-pressure games is proof he won't choke on the big stage. Bayern's new No.9 hit 14 goals in 17 English Premier League meetings with Arsenal alone.
3) Sané, Brandt and the supporting cast
Kane's arrival has helped lift Leroy Sané's performances to another level. The Bayern winger has been in sensational form in the early part of 2023/24, registering nine goals and three assists in all competitions. Kingsley Coman is also enjoying a rich vein of form, with four goals in his last five assignments, while 2022/23 title saviour Musiala continues to run rings round opposition defences in the No.10 role once held under lock and key by the evergreen Thomas Müller - the source of eight goals and nine assists in 25 Bundesliga Klassikers to date.
Dortmund's answer to Sané, Brandt, is enjoying a hot streak of his own with a goal or assist in each of his previous eight Bundesliga appearances. Marco Reus - who orchestrated BVB's last Klassiker win over Bayern in November 2018 - has found a second wind after falling down the pecking order towards the end of last season. And not forgetting Dutchman Donyell Malen, who is among the highest-scoring Bundesliga players this calendar year.
Watch: Marco Reus: Borussia Dortmund's deadlock breaker
4) Teenaged trump cards
As those names go to show, the Klassiker is a showcase for football's finest. It was in the past, it is now and will continue to be in the future. The legendary Müller scored a superb brace on his debut in the fixture back in 2009, while Dortmund teen Youssoufa Moukoko's goal set the comeback wheels in motion in last season's corresponding fixture. Like Müller, the 18-year-old hasn't been as influential so far this term - but that doesn't mean he can't be BVB's saviour from the bench, as he was last weekend in the 3-3 draw in Frankfurt.
The same theory applies to Bayern's Mathys Tel. The 18-year-old is averaging a goal every 56 minutes in the Bundesliga in the early part of his second season at the club, despite only being used as a substitute. As well as three league goals, the Frenchman has also found the net twice in three UEFA Champions League fixtures, as well as once in the DFB Cup opening round. If it is a common tactic to save your trump card for last, Tel might prove to be the ace up Bayern's sleeve in Der Klassiker.
5) Goals galore
Goals are pretty much guaranteed when Dortmund and Bayern come together. After the drama of Bayern's 4-2 win in April, a whopping 352 goals have been scored in this fixture, ahead of what will be the 109th rendition of the Bundesliga era: 133 for Dortmund and 219 for Bayern. That equates to an average of 3.26 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. And in terms of the form books, Dortmund are averaging 2.2 goals per game this Bundesliga season while Bayern are division-leading scorers with a whopping 34, an average of 3.6 goals per 90 minutes so far.
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