Coming up this week on GOAL!....
There's little doubt as to the main event this weekend, as the Bundesliga swings back into action with the much anticipated head-to-head between Germany's top two teams. GOAL! gets into the spirit of the occasion with a Borussia Dortmund vs. FC Bayern special, garnering expert opinions and looking at defining tussles from times past as well as previewing the game itself. Make sure you tune in to for all the pre-match skinny on the big one!
Game of the Year
Borussia Dortmund against FC Bayern München – it's a veritable Clash of the Titans, and no longer in 'merely' domestic terms either. The first Bundesliga match-up of the season between last May's UEFA Champions League finalists is a duel that now fires the imagination of football fans around the globe. To kick-start the programme, a few soundbites from either camp to set the scene for a mouthwatering contest.
As Thomas Müller put it, games against Dortmund have been “a prestige duel for as long as I've been watching football.“ Given the FC Bayern attacking all-rounder's relative youth, the rivalry, of course, goes back a lot further than that, Since Dortmund really rose to national and international prominence in the mid-1990s, however, it has intensified considerably, hitting new heights over the past three years as BVB claimed back-to-back league titles and wrapped up a domestic double by trouncing Bayern in the DFB Cup – only for the men from Munich to deliver the last season. Here, we take a look back at some of the heroes, records and monumental victories this meeting has produced down the years.
In 1997, with two successive domestic titles already under his belt, Ottmar Hitzfeld guided Borussia Dortmund to victory first in the Champions League, then in the World Club Cup. In 2001, he repeated the trick with Bayern München, going on to oversee five domestic championship triumphs all-told in two separate spells at the helm in the Bavarian capital. Who better, then, to weigh up the respective merits of the sides ahead of the game of the season at the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday? Not surprisingly perhaps, the current Swiss national team coach foresees a very tight contest.
3 Minutes with...
...Thomas Helmer. Like Ottmar Hitzfeld, Helmer made the switch from Dortmund to Bayern – in his case as a player, and for what at the time was a Bundesliga record fee. And, like Hitzfeld, he too anticipates a game balanced on a knife-edge this weekend. In addition to explaining why the hosts could just pull it off, the 68-time Germany international turned full-time pundit reflects on the growing potency of the country's national top flight – and reminisces on his own tension-charged return to his former Dortmund workplace for the first time as an FC Bayern player.
Not the least intriguing aspect of Saturday's match-up is the battle of the coaches in prospect. In the home corner, the effervescent, spontaneous, baseball-capped Jürgen Klopp with his high-intensity, high-pressing style; in the away corner the consummately tactful and immaculately attired Pep Guardiola, with his intricate and elegant short-passing game. The new man in the FC Bayern hotseat is still getting attuned to an interclub rivalry that has occasionally bubbled over into some colourful rhetoric in recent times – hardly surprising, given the size of the stakes. But what does Klopp really make of the side who are the traditional dominant force on the German stage, and the other half of a double-act doing the Bundesliga proud these days in the wider arena?