- Lewandowski effective in more ways than one.
- Götze also has impressive Klassiker goals record.
- Picking BVB and Bayern defenders a risky ploy.
The Bundesliga returns with a bang this weekend as Borussia Dortmund entertain FC Bayern München in the 95th Bundesliga edition of Der Klassiker. BVB could move to within three points of the league leaders with victory at SIGNAL IDUNA PARK, but precious points are also at stake in the Official Fantasy Bundesliga!
Like me, you're probably facing a bit of a selection headache ahead of Matchday 11's titanic tussle. Should I go for Robert Lewandowski or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in attack? Should I assemble a back four made up of players from other teams, in case Saturday's clash finishes 4-4? Do I keep faith with Manuel Neuer between the sticks?
I've been poring over the stats from the last ten Bundesliga Klassiker in a desperate search for answers. Here's what I've found...
Prolific Klassiker record
There are no prizes for identifying the top goalscorer in the last ten encounters between Dortmund and Bayern: Robert Lewandowski. The prolific Pole has netted five goals in ten Klassiker appearances (one for BVB, four for Bayern), including the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win at the SIGNAL IDUNA PARK in 2014/15. Mario Götze, who rejoined Dortmund from Bayern last summer, is the second top scorer with four; Thomas Müller is third with three. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, meanwhile, has scored just one league goal against Bayern since joining BVB in 2013.
Müller is also joint-top of the assist standings with three (level with team-mate Thiago Alcantara). The 27-year-old's tally of three goals and three assists would have earned him 15 points from those two categories alone - just as many as Lewandowski. Götze would have received an impressive 17 points thanks to his four goals and solitary assist from midfield. You could try and accommodate all three, of course, but one player's impressive Klassiker record in the challenges department gives him the edge over his attacking rivals.
Challenges and clean sheets
Astonishingly, Lewandowski has also won the most challenges in half the last ten meetings between the two great rivals. In the 1-0 win at BVB in 2014/15, the 28-year-old won an incredible 29 duels, which would have earned him an overall tally of 18 points from that match. Lukasz Piszczek is second in the list of current BVB and Bayern players to have won the most challenges in that time, but Lewandowski reigns supreme in that category as well.
Switching our attention to the other end of the pitch, at least one of the two teams has kept a clean sheet in six of the last ten Klassiker. The last of Manuel Neuer's - and Bayern's - three clean sheets came in the sides' goalless draw on Matchday 25 of last season, in which Roman Bürki kept his first Klassiker shut-out. Neuer has also saved the only penalty he has faced in games between the two clubs - ironically from Lewandowski in the teams' 1-1 draw at the SIGNAL IDUNA PARK in 2012/13 (which would have earned Neuer five points).
BVB have kept four clean sheets in that same timeframe, though only one of those came at home. Roman Weidenfeller, who is likely to start Saturday's encounter on the bench, kept three of those, as well as saving Arjen Robben's spot-kick in Dortmund's crucial 1-0 triumph at the SIGNAL IDUNA PARK in 2011/12. Can Bürki step up to the plate this weekend? If I had to choose between the two for my Fantasy XI, I would have to go for Neuer.
Discipline and defensive dilemma
A glance at the disciplinary record of the two teams in recent Klassiker also reveals some surprising numbers: Only two current Dortmund and Bayern players have been shown more cards in the last ten meetings than Aubameyang and Xabi Alonso, who have both seen yellow twice - hardly the end of the world, considering the Fantasy Bundesliga penalty for a caution is a one-point deduction.
Jerome Boateng has been cautioned on three occasions while Rafinha, who has been booked twice, is the only player in the last ten Bundesliga Klassiker to have been sent off, having been shown a straight red card in Bayern's 3-0 defeat to Borussia in Munich in 2014/15 (which would have resulted in a five-point penalty!).
Even if the duo manage to keep their cool on Saturday, I'd be wary of picking them - or indeed any Dortmund or Bayern defender - in my own XI. No defender has stood out in recent Klassiker history, while the two teams' attacking prowess makes me think goals are virtually guaranteed in this one. Remember though, the last league meeting between the sides did end goalless...
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