It’s one of the highlights of the season as Bayern Munich host Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker, this time with some added spice as Bayern can secure the title with victory. But what do the Bundesliga Match Facts tell us to expect from this edition of Germany’s biggest fixture?
Although Bayern are nine points ahead of Dortmund and can claim the Meisterschale for the 10th year in a row, the two teams have been on an even footing since we moved into 2022. The Bundesliga’s top two have both picked up 29 points from their 13 league outings in the Rückrunde with identical records of nine wins, two draws and two defeats.
It’s in attack where these two teams mostly make their mark. Bayern have found the back of the net 89 times so far this campaign – just one shy of the league record at this juncture they set in 2019/20. Second in the scoring stakes is BVB on 76. That total trails only their 2019/20 tally after 30 matchdays of 81 and is seven more than the third-best attack in this season, Bayer Leverkusen (69).
Bayern create more, but Dortmund more clinical
A look at the xGoals numbers tells us about both the quality and quantity of the shooting chances they create. The Munich side carve out opportunities like no other, boasting an xG value of 88.6. That is the number of goals they have been statistically expected to score – and is almost bang on.
Things are very different looking at the Borussia stats. Their xG value only comes to 58. They trail the likes of Leverkusen and RB Leipzig in this regard, but have in fact scored 18 more than expected. The difference between the two is a team’s ‘Shot Efficiency’, and Dortmund lead the division in that regard as the most efficient team in front of goal. And by some margin, as well. Die Werkself follow in second with a shot efficiency of +8.9.
To put it another way, Die Schwarzgelben don’t tend to squander chances and in fact put away opportunities that appear unlikely. That trait is characterised by Erling Haaland. The BVB striker boasts the Bundesliga’s best individual shot efficiency of +4.9. Broken down, it means he has scored 18 times despite the probability of his chances suggesting he should only have 13.1.
Again, for comparison, Robert Lewandowski is pretty much as expected with 32 goals from an xG of 31.8. That includes hitting the woodwork a league-high eight times but, although appearing less clinical than Haaland, it shows he takes the chances that come his way and is also a sign of just how many opportunities he does get.
Two dominant sides
Both teams score goals, but build their game on possession and passing. They see more of the ball than any other sides in the Bundesliga, with Bayern having an average of 61 per cent possession this year. That’s followed by Dortmund on 57 per cent.
The process of their build-up play is similarly methodical as well and also includes a high number of cross-field balls. BVB (31 per cent) and FCB (30) play the highest proportions of passes that are moved out to the left or right third of the pitch.
When it comes to the short passing game, Bayern are in a league of their own. They are far out in front for passing efficiency, finding a teammate 256.7 times more than statistically expected based on the passing scenario. BVB are down in fourth in this regard on +64.6.
As Haaland is to Dortmund for shooting, Joshua Kimmich is to Bayern for passing. No player in the Bundesliga has a more positive difference between completed passes and expected completed passes, coming in at +67.7.
Kimmich and Bellingham under pressure
And Kimmich does all that despite immense opposition pressure. He was Bayern’s ‘Most Pressed Player’ in 10 matches this season, which is the most of any of his teammates.
However, Borussia’s Jude Bellingham has been placed under the most significant opposition pressure in 13 games, which is nearly half of his club’s fixtures.
Yet that hasn’t stopped the pair of midfielders from having their say in attack. The German has had a direct hand in 13 goals, while it’s 10 for the England international – both displaying world-class ability on the ball.
Sane, Gnabry and Haaland in multiple categories
This Klassiker will likely also come down to some individual quality – and there are many potential candidates for that here. Of the 40 players across the Bundesliga in the ‘Skill’ Match Fact categories of ‘Finisher’, ‘Initiator’, ‘Sprinter’ and ‘Ball winner’, 14 represent Bayern and Dortmund alone.
In the Red corner there are: Leroy Sane (Sprinter, Initiator), Serge Gnabry (Finisher, Initiator), Alphonso Davies (Sprinter), Dayot Upamecano (Ball winner), Kimmich (Initiator), Lewandowski (Finisher) and Thomas Müller (Initiator), who are among the 10 best players in those skill categories.
Watch: The new Set Piece Threat and Skills Match Facts explained
And even with all that quality on the pitch, it could well come down to a set piece at the Allianz Arena.
Bayern have seven goals this season from free-kicks – second only to Freiburg – and are 70 per cent above the league average for those dead balls in the ‘Set Piece Threat’ Match Fact. Die Schwarzgelben are also in the black here with five goals and 17 per cent above the average. They even got one last time out in their 6-1 win over Wolfsburg, where they also netted from a corner.
Will it come down to accurate set-piece deliveries, clever passing, clinical finishing or outstanding individual skills? We’ll find out in Der Klassiker on Saturday!
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