Sadio Mane the Finisher up against Ball Winner Nico Schlotterbeck and old friends turned rivals in Jude Bellingham and Jamal Musiala – it’s the 107th Bundesliga edition of Der Klassiker. But what are Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich’s strengths going into this crunch fixture? Bundesliga Match Facts by AWS has a look…
Matchday 9 brings one of the biggest games in world football as the Bundesliga’s two dominant sides from the last decade, Dortmund and Bayern, meet once again. The champions from Munich have seemingly put a drop in form behind them, putting nine without reply past Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga and Viktoria Plzen in the UEFA Champions League. The former saw them move back ahead of BVB in the table.
Watch: 5 things to know about Der Klassiker
That was a result of Borussia slipping to their third defeat of the league campaign against Cologne – their most after eight matchdays for eight years – as they once again let a lead slip. Their Win Probability, the newest Bundesliga Match Fact, in the 53rd minute was 64 per cent, when they were 1-0 up. Two minutes and two goals later, their odds had plummeted to just 10 per cent.
It means Bayern go into Der Klassiker above Dortmund in the table for the sixth consecutive meeting, but only on goal difference this time.
Form is still on the side of the champions in this fixture. They have won 10 of the last 11 league Klassikers, including each of the last seven – the longest winning run of either team in this match-up. The most recent encounter on Matchday 31 of last season was a 3-1 home win in Munich, which saw Bayern crowned champions for the 10th year in a row - the first time ever the title had been decided in Der Klassiker.
Plenty of expected goals
Looking just at the attacking stats, Bayern come out ahead in a number of areas. They are the division’s top scorers with 23 goals, while Dortmund are in fact one below the league average of 12. Based on xGoals, BVB should in fact be better off in the scoring chart, with their accumulated chances producing an xG of 16.1.
That value is second in the division only to Bayern, who have in fact exceeded their expectation of 19.9. That is also despite a run of four games without a win and where the team’s ability to create and convert chances was called into question.
One of the standout players in terms of putting chances away is Mane, who comes into Der Klassiker with a personal xG of 3.7 but four goals to his name. Marco Reus tops the Borussia standings with an xG of 2.5 and two goals scored. If he’s fit enough in time for Saturday, it will be a huge boost to the hosts’ chances. Not least because of the league record 60 goals he’s scored to put his team 1-0 up in games, and the eight he’s put past Manuel Neuer – the most any player has scored against the Germany No.1 in the Bundesliga.
However, the stats show that Borussia must be more clinical in front of goal. They’ve produced the second most shots in the division (118), but have the worst shot efficiency of all 18 clubs, being 5.1 goals shy of what was expected.
Watch: Fly with us through the Signal Iduna Park
Those numbers are better for players in red, despite the aforementioned blip. They’ve had by far the most attempts on goal in the Bundesliga (184), but are still 3.1 goals over their xG, placing them third in the division in that category. Musiala is the standout player for both teams in this regard, being the only Bayern or Dortmund player in the top 10 for shot efficiency (+2.2, ranked fourth).
Will speed make the difference in a breathless 90 minutes?
It was Jürgen Klopp who really introduced the concept of Gegenpressing – counter-pressing – to world football during his time at BVB, and helped make this fixture the headline-grabber it is. His principle has remained at both clubs, after Bayern realised they had to tweak things to keep up. It can be seen in the number of chances they’ve had from counter-attacks or turnovers, with Borussia leading the division on 14 shots and FCB just behind with 12. Strangely, however, neither side have managed to score as a result yet.
Bayern appear to have the advantage when it comes to leading – and snuffing out – potential breaks thanks to their numerous players with blistering pace. Alphonso Davies is currently tied with Sheraldo Becker of Union Berlin as the fastest man in the Bundesliga this season (22.4 mph / 36.0 km/h). There are two more Bayern players in the top 10 in Leroy Sane (21.1 mph / 35.6 km/h) and Dayot Upamecano (21.9 mph / 35.3 km/h). Donyell Malen is the quickest player in black and yellow this term, ranking 11th in the league at 21.8 mph (35.1 km/h).
Borussia may not be winning individual sprints, but there’s no questioning their workrate as a team. They lead the division for most sprints per game (256 on average), while only two teams can beat them for intensive runs (BVB average 707 per 90 minutes). However, one of those is Bayern (720); the other is Wolfsburg.
Watch: Davies eyeing next Klassiker success
Eyes on the teenage sensations
With the game being broadcast live in over 200 countries and territories, viewers from around the world will have their eyes on different players. But everyone will want to see how Bellingham and Musiala get on. The 19-year-olds are friends, former England youth internationals but now on opposite sides of major club (and international) rivalries.
They are also already world class, and pillars of their respective teams. Their desire to get involved and dictate the game means they are the two most pressed players in the Bundesliga. Bellingham – who has stood in as captain for Borussia’s last two games – has been pressed more than anyone else in the division (168 times), followed closely by the mercurial Musiala (166). There are two more Bayern players in the top 10: Sane and Mane.
Bellingham and Musiala are used in different positions, but still have a great influence on the game. The former has won the most challenges of anybody in the league (137) and ranks among the best players in the Skills Match Fact ‘Ball Winner’ category.
On the other hand, Musiala does most of his work in the attacking third, running at defenders and creating chances for himself and others. He’s Bayern’s top scorer with five (already as many as he had in 2021/22) and has another three assists – only Union’s Becker has been directly involved in more goals in the Bundesliga (nine). The young Germany international has contested the most challenges in Munich red, coming out on top in 51 per cent of them. It all means he features in both the ‘Finisher’ and ‘Initiator’ Skills categories.
Watch: Bellingham and Musiala – friends turned rivals
Solid defence and controlled passing
Both teams have done alright so far defensively. Bayern have conceded six times, Borussia 10. That’s also reflected in their xG against. Teams up against the champions have only been expected to score 7.8 goals – only Union boast a lower xGA (7.5). BVB’s value is 9.6, placing them fourth behind Cologne (8.5).
Both teams also have standout performers in the new Performance Under Pressure Match Facts. Niklas Süle, who this summer swapped Munich for Dortmund, has been able to find a way out of 79 per cent of his pressure situations – the best rate in the division. His nominal replacement Matthijs de Ligt is Bayern’s best man under pressure and sixth in the league with an escape rate of 75 per cent. Midfielder Marcel Sabitzer comes one place below him with 74 per cent.
It's no surprise to see that the record champions like to dominant the play. They lead the Bundesliga for average possession (62.8 per cent) and pass completion rate (88.4 per cent), while they are also the most efficient distributers of the ball with a pass performance of +109.9. Die Schwarzgelben are in fact in the red here, completing 6.6 passes fewer than expected, but it still ranks them fifth in the league.
Watch: Der Klassiker is coming!
In terms of players, Joshua Kimmich (+24.1) and Thomas Müller (+18.2) top the division for pass performance, meaning their potential inclusion on Saturday is even more vital to Bayern. Upamecano and Benjamin Pavard make it four FCB men in the top 10. The leading BVB passer is Julian Brandt (+7.4), ranked 19th division-wide.
There are areas where Bayern come out ahead, areas where it’s Dortmund who hold the statistical advantage. It could all come down to those fine margins when the pair meet at Signal Iduna Park for another massive Klassiker encounter.
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