Munich - The countdown is well underway towards the most eagerly anticipated game of the 51st Bundesliga season by some distance: the Matchday 13 meeting of Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern München at the Signal Iduna Park.
In terms of the title race, the onus on the hosts to emerge victorious has increased on the back of a 2-1 defeat at VfL Wolfsburg last time out, which leaves them four points off the searing pace being set at the top by their great rivals. Disappointing as that away day was, Jürgen Klopp's men can take heart from their oft-proven capacity to strike on the rebound – to say nothing of an attacking potency that seeks its like in the top flight this season, Bayern included.
That Dortmund have a flawless six-win Bundesliga record on home turf this season has been duly noted in the pre-match analysis, as has the fact that 21 of their division-topping 32 goals were racked up in the process of acquiring those 18 points. Perhaps an even more revealing statistic, however, is that the three individual players to have had the most scoring opportunities in the entire league so far all pull on the famous yellow-and-black for a living.
Out on his own by some way, unsurprisingly, is the man leading the BVB line, Robert Lewandowski. The Polish striker supreme has had 48 shots at goal in the ongoing campaign, four a game on average. Of those, he has scored from nine into, a return that has taken him to the top of the individual scoring charts.
Prolific across the line
Second on the Dortmund, and national league, list, is Marco Reus, the German international all-round forward talent having taken a crack at the opposition goal 41 times in the course of the season's opening dozen games. Seven of those efforts found the target, three penalties included.
And then there is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The French-born Gabon international may not quite have managed to maintain the pace set in his remarkable Bundesliga debut, but seven goals from nine starting appearances and three off the bench is a handy return nonetheless. He has had a total of 36 attempts, the joint-third highest tally in the division alongside Hertha Berlin's Adrian Ramos.
Beware efficient Mandzukic
The figures also make for an interesting contrast with those of visitors FC Bayern. The German and European champions are hardly shy themselves when it comes to asserting their forward dominance on opponents, but their style of play under Pep Guardiola is evidently weighted towards a rather different distribution of the scoring opportunities. Franck Ribery has had the most for them - 34, resulting in four goals - with fellow attacking midfielders Thomas Müller (five goals from 30) and Toni Kroos (one from 29) next on the list.
It promises, then, to be an intriguing contest between full-throttle attacking power and midfield-heavy intricacy. Not that it is by any means likely to conform to such a black-and-white pattern, of course. Dortmund have their own on-form midfield maestros in Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Nuri Sahin, while the next name on Bayern's 'opportunity knocks' list is Mario Mandzukic . And if BVB have on occasion been accused of profligacy in front of goal, that's not a claim that can be levelled against the Croatian frontman. With eight of his 27 strikes on goal finding the net, Mandzukic is the most effective of the lot this season.