The top two clubs in Bundesliga will battle on Saturday as Borussia Dortmund host Bayern Munich in what will be one of the biggest matches of the league season.
Bayern enter the weekend four points clear of Dortmund for first place in the table and Franck Ribery believes that a win could virtually end the race, according to Stephan Uersfeld of ESPN. That being said, the hosts have no intention of giving up three points in this contest.
Considering these two sides competed for the Champions League title last season, there will obviously be a lot of talent on the pitch. The only question is which club can come through in the big moments.
This highly anticipated showdown will go a long way toward securing a 2013-14 league title, so both teams will come through with their best effort. Here is a look at what to expect in the thrilling match.
Who will win?
When: Saturday, Nov. 23 at 12:30 p.m. ET; 5:30 p.m. BST
Where: Westfalenstadion, Dortmund, Germany
Watch: Gol TV
Live Stream: Gol Stadium
Odds (via SkyBet): Bayern Munich (19-20), Borussia Dortmund (5-2), Draw (11-4)
Top Storyline: Can Bayern Munich Excel Without Franck Ribery?
Bayern Munich will have to go into this matchup without arguably their best player in Franck Ribery. According to Uersfeld, the midfielder has been ruled out with a rib injury.
It is hard to quantify how important Ribery has been to this club over the years. According to Oddschecker, he is one of the favorites to win the 2013 Ballon d'Or as the best player in the world. Without his ability to create opportunities, Bayern could struggle offensively.
Things get even worse when you note that Bastian Schweinsteiger will also be unavailable for the match.
The good news is the club has a lot of depth at the position. Arjen Robben is still one of the better midfielders in Europe and he will get a lot of help from Mario Mandzukic and Thomas Muller, as well as Mario Gotze returning to his former club.
As long as these players step up, the squad should be just fine.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 2, Bayern Munich 1
The big question will be if the Dortmund offense can succeed against the Munich defense. Marco Reus and Robert Lewandowski make as good of a tandem up front as any club in the world, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been doing a great job with his new squad.
This attack together leads Bundesliga with 32 goals in 12 matches.
However, the group will have to show it can get it done against a defense that has only allowed seven goals in the same stretch. Only once during this league season have Bayern allowed more than one score in a match.
Still, the absence of Ribery and Schweinsteiger will allow the home team to control more possession as they work toward good shots at the net. While Manuel Neuer is one of the best keepers in the world, he is not perfect.
Borussia Dortmund scored four goals against Bayern Munich in the DFB Super Cup with most of the starting defense on the pitch. This attack has the skill to get on to the scoresheet again and they will pull off the upset in this home match.
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