What do you get when an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object? When Borussia Dortmund host Bayern Munich in Der Klassiker on Matchday 11, we will find out.
With 30 goals scored in the first ten games of the season – yes, that does mean three per game – Dortmund's supply line has been moving at a rate of knots. However, the defending champions boast a robust rearguard which has leaked just 10 goals this year, and that is where the Borussia buck should stop. Should.
Is it really possible to keep the likes of Paco Alcacer, Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus, Christian Pulisic and Mario Götze completely quiet? Can Bayern succeed in preventing the prolific BVB boys from breaching their backline? With Niklas Süle, Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and – if needs be – Javi Martinez forming a formidable wall, you could say so.
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Let's take a closer look. Last term, only Paris Saint-Germain and VfB Stuttgart breached Bayern's defence by more than two goals: three and four respectively, although the latter succeeded while Bayern were in celebration mode, preparing to get their hands on a sixth straight Bundesliga title. Eintracht Frankfurt also put three past the Bavarians in the final of the DFB Cup, although the third goal came with the final kick of the game, when the Bavarians had sent everybody – including goalkeeper Sven Ulreich – up for a last-gasp assault on an equaliser.
Granted, Bayern did ship three goals to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 7, but that can be considered an anomaly in view of their record of conceding fewer than a goal per Bundesliga game every year since 2010/11 – including a particularly mean 2015/16 season, when they let in just a goal every other game.
Only once – in their goalless Matchday 2 draw with Hannover – have they drawn a blank in all competitive games this season. It is practically as rare for Dortmund to fail to score as it is for Bayern to concede more than two in a game, with Favre's stellar attacking line-up currently the envy of European football.
Alcacer has bumped his record to seven goals in just 206 minutes, Sancho has three in his past three Bundesliga appearances, including the brace against Hertha Berlin which made him the first player born in the 2000s to score two in a single Bundesliga game, and the eighth-youngest to achieve that feat in the Bundesliga's 55-year history. Furthermore, Favre appears to have flicked the switch to get Götze displaying his array of skills once again, while the Swiss coach has put the Rolls back into Reus.
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Dortmund's attacking talent is bursting at the seams, with Axel Witsel's wizardry tying defences in knots and Pulisic packing punches. If that were not enough, Mahmoud Dahoud's dazzling footwork is creating chances by the bucketload, and Jacob Bruun Larsen is showing they have plenty of ammunition in reserve. Just wait for Maximilian Philipp to put his scoring boots back on and Favre's artillery could be even more lethal.
Is it lethal enough to land a telling blow to the defending champions, or will it be blunted in a show of force by Niko Kovac's defence squadron? "It's swings and roundabouts," said Hummels. "We've always said things can change quickly – in any direction."
Change they might when that unstoppable force meets the unmovable object in Der Klassiker, and we see which direction the title race is heading after a veritable clash of the attacking and defensive titans.