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Alas fans won’t be in attendance to witness Bayern’s blockbuster against Dortmund, but the broader football community will be watching, with all other major football leagues on hiatus due to COVID-19.
If the extra eyeballs weren’t enough motivation for the players, there’s a four-point gap which separating the two at the Bundesliga summit heading into tomorrow’s showpiece.
A win for Bayern would send it seven-points clear and well on its way to an eighth-straight league title, while Borussia Dortmund has the chance to continue its scintillating post-lockdown form and close the gap to a single point.
For either side to prevail at Signal Iduna Park, the stars in these key positions must rise to the occasion.
Striker: Erling Haaland v Robert Lewandowski
Since Robert Lewandowski left Dortmund to join Bayern in 2014, Dortmund fans have been longing for a replacement, and they hope the search is over with the arrival of teenage sensation Erling Haaland.
Haaland has 10 goals in as many Bundesliga appearances since joining Dortmund in January, prompting comparisons with Lewandowski, who tops the competition with 27 goals in 25 games.
Bayern boss Hansi Flick believes the comparisons are premature, but if Haaland can outscore his Polish counterpart tomorrow morning, he may be forced to reconsider.
Wing-back: Achraf Hakimi v Alphonso Davies
The fortunes of Lewandowski and Haaland could be decided by the battle of the wing-backs in Bayern’s Alphonso Davies and Dortmund revelation Achraf Hakimi.
The marauding wing-backs are an integral cog in their team’s attack, with surging runs and pin-point deliveries into the box giving their strikers plenty of goal-scoring opportunities.
On loan from Real Madrid, Hakimi has started in all but three of Dortmund’s games this season and has been integral to Lucien Favre’s swift counter-attacking style.
Davies meanwhile, was forced into the back four to get into Bayern’s star-studded starting XI, but the ‘stop-gap’ solution has proved to be a masterstroke.
The 19 year-old winger-turned-defender is enjoying the best form of his career and was recently rewarded with a five-year contract extension.
Midfield: Julian Brandt v Leon Goretzka
While the likes of Marco Reus, Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho dominate headlines, Julian Brandt’s creative exploits for Dortmund this season have somewhat under-appreciated.
The former Leverkusen man revels in big games, putting on a midfield masterclass in last week’s 4-0 derby win over Schalke, plus with inspirational leader Marco Reus missing, Brandt will have to assume the role as Dortmund’s main threat in midfield.
Like Brandt, Leon Gortezka also looks like he hasn’t missed a step during the lay-off, with a commanding performance in last week’s 5-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.
The 25 year-old’s versatility helps Bayern’s transition from defence to attack, and he will need to be at his best to overcome Dortmund’s smothering press.
Wing: Jadon Sancho v Serge Gnabry
Sancho is barely 20, but has already been touted as the future saviour for the England national team and Dortmund’s best performer this season.
With 14 goals and 15 assists in the league this season, the fleet-footed winger is expected to be at the centre of a summer bidding war the Premier League’s top clubs.
Serge Gnabry on the other-hand, moved the other way after his career failed to take off in the Premier League at Arsenal, but the 24 year-old has grown into a world-class winger since returning to Germany.
Gnabry torments defenders with his pace and eye for goal, cementing himself as a regular for Bayern and the German national team.
The return of Kingsly Coman forced Gnabry out of last week’s starting lineup, but the former Arsenal man is expected to get the nod against Dortmund tomorrow morning.