<i>Der Klassiker</i> duels: the battles that could decide Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund

Bayern Munich's massive Matchday 28 encounter with Borussia Dortmund not only sees the two Bundesliga juggernauts collide, but also pits some of the top-flight's biggest stars against each other.

bundesliga.com looks at some of the duels between the men who could tip Der Klassiker their team's way at the Allianz Arena.

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Thiago Alcantaravs.Julian Weigl

When Toni Kroos tipped Weigl to become a world-class player, the former Bayern midfielder gave credence to what many were already thinking. Such a fixture is he at the heart of the Dortmund side, it's difficult to believe Weigl has only been with BVB since 2015. Thiago can also play a more attacking role, as testified by his four goals and as many assists — Weigl in contrast has none — but as a number six in front of the back four, the Spain international's stats are only slightly better than his metronomic BVB counterpart's. With the pair around the 90% pass completion mark, they are the tick in their teams' tock.

Verdict: His big-game experience and extra string to his bow with his qualities in the opposing final third give Thiago the edge.

Arjen Robbenvs.Ousmane Dembele

In terms of experience, honours won and — let's face it — age, there is no comparison, but Bayern's fleet-footed Dutchman and Dortmund's jet-heeled Frenchman, 13-and-a-half years Robben's junior, are cut from the same fine, extremely rare cloth. Their ability to beat their man or even men means they both belong to an exclusive group in the Bundesliga, and have proven almost as effective for their teams: Eight goals and five assists for Robben, six goals and nine assists for Dembele.

Verdict: With neither having contributed to a goal in their last three league outings, whoever re-finds form on Saturday could prove a matchwinner.

Mats Hummelsvs.Marc Bartra

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Stylish and supremely elegant, you could imagine the pair would trip the light fantastic in Germany's version of Strictly Come Dancing. Bartra's Barcelona schooling is clear in his ability to play the ball out from the back, the quality that made him the ideal replacement for Hummels. But as impressive as his maiden season in Germany has been, Bartra is not yet a match for Mats. The Bayern man's passes find their target nine-out-of-ten times — Bartra is at 81.5% — while his combativeness means he wins nearly two-thirds of his challenges compared to 56% for Bartra.

Verdict: Bartra has potential for improvement, Hummels is the finished article.

Robert Lewandowskivs.Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

The pair were neck-and-neck in the Torjägerkanone race following Lewandowski's hat-trick against Augsburg only for his BVB rival to edge ahead with his midweek goal against Hamburg. It means Aubameyang has scored eight times in his last six games, hitting the net in each. Lewandowski, eerily, has scored exactly the same number of goals in the same number of games, but his came in bunches with two hat-tricks and a brace. Perhaps ominously for BVB, though, he didn't score against Hoffenheim midweek - so he could be due one or three?

Verdict: Aubameyang - he has taken two games fewer to score one goal more, and looks like scoring in every match he plays at present.

Carlo Ancelotti vs. Thomas Tuchel

Ancelotti was already a rising star in the dugout when Tuchel brought his modest playing career to an end in 1998. By the time Tuchel got his first big break, taking over Mainz in 2009, Ancelotti had guided AC Milan to a Serie A title, one Coppa Italia, a FIFA Club World Cup and a pair of UEFA Champions Leagues. But given there is a 14-year age gap, Tuchel has time to catch up. He also has the ability, remodelling the team he inherited from Jürgen Klopp, revamping it with a rash of young players with virtually no impact on results.

Verdict: Eyebrows would be raised if Ancelotti did not get the nod, but he does have the slightly sharper tools with which to work.

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