First against second, Borussia Dortmund is a guest at FC Bayern Munich – everything is arranged for the “classic” with the greatest tension factor in recent years. SPOX answers the most important questions before the top game in the Bundesliga.
Only one point separates the two rivals from each other. With a win, Borussia Dortmund could take a big step towards the championship. With a four-point lead, the dominance of Munich, which has lasted for ten years, would shake enormously.
The change of coach from Julian Nagelsmann to Thomas Tuchel raises the question of what tactics the new FCB coach will use against BVB. There are several possibilities.
The two rivals can also each fall back on a lush squad, only a few players are not an option.
SPOX provides the most important answers before the top game.
There are two pieces of good news for the hosts. Both Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (back problems) and Jamal Musiala (torn thigh muscle) are back in the squad against Borussia Dortmund. The former will probably be in the starting XI, the latter trained without restrictions. With a view to Manchester City, however, no risk should be taken.
However, there is growth in Bayern’s hospital. In addition to long-term injuries Manuel Neuer (broken leg) and Lucas Hernández (torn cruciate ligament), forward talent Mathys Tel is also missing in the top game.
The 17-year-old tore a muscle fiber in the adductor area with the French U19 national team. Otherwise, “everyone is on board,” said Tuchel at the press conference on Friday: “We can draw on plenty.”
“There will be a very unfair line-up tomorrow because there are no impressions,” said Tuchel: “I haven’t thoroughly analyzed the last few games because I want to give everyone a new chance. The players should feel our support. I’m sure I have tomorrow few arguments to justify a bench or starting XI place.”
BVB can also look forward to some returnees. In addition to goalkeeper Gregor Kobel, who announced his comeback himself during the week, the recently injured trio of Karim Adeyemi, Julian Brandt and Youssoufa Moukoko are back in Dortmund’s squad.
In the case of Jamie Bynoe-Gittens (shoulder injury) and Nico Schlotterbeck, after his premature departure from the German national team, the decision will only be made after the final training session on Friday.
At least at Schlotterbeck, the chances are good that it will even be enough for the starting eleven on Saturday. National coach Hansi Flick gave the all-clear shortly after the Peru game. Certainly not there are Giovanni Reyna (cold) and Thomas Meunier (back problems).
FC Bayern vs. BVB: The biggest tactical question marks
While the BVB team almost sort themselves out, Bayern have several alternatives when it comes to tactics.
After the almost perfect start to the new year (28 points from ten games), Terzic has no reason to change his formation. Everything boils down to a back four with three midfielders in front and three attackers. Only the division in the head office could change slightly.
So it is also possible that Terzic sends an additional defensive midfielder into the race against Bayern and sacrifices an offensive player. In addition to Emre Can and Jude Bellingham, Salih Özcan would probably ensure even more stability at headquarters in this case.
What Tuchel is planning can only be speculated. Both the return to the clear back four and the continuation of Nagelsmann’s disguised back three are possible.
With four defenders in the starting eleven, there is much to suggest that Benjamin Pavard will have to switch back to his unloved right side. João Cancelo could also play the role – albeit much more offensively. If the Portuguese starts, a back three with Pavard, Matthijs de Ligt and Dayot Upamecano would be very likely.
Then Cancelo could pursue his beloved role as an outside rail player. The technically adept loan player from Manchester City had shone there, above all offensively (one goal, four assists), but also showed weaknesses defensively. How Tuchel will structure the midfield is also an exciting question.
Joshua Kimmich is set, Leon Goretzka as eighth would be the most obvious option. However, the former Schalke player is currently lagging behind his form and slightly injured his ankle with the national team.
So Tuchel could also choose a more offensive approach and do without Goretzka in a 4-1-4-1 or 3-1-5-1 system. Then a lot depends on Musiala’s fitness level, which has already fulfilled the role as an offensive eight in the past. Otherwise, Thomas Müller would have to move back a position and Leroy Sané would have to act in half space, as he did under Nagelsmann.
In addition, there are many signs that winging is returning, which is why Sadio Mané has a good starting XI. Nagelsmann had recently said goodbye to the tactics practiced in Munich for years and let them play more centrally.
Depending on the division in midfield, Coman will act on the right side. In a 3-1-5-1 basic order, Sané could also play the right winger in real tactics. The currently weakening Serge Gnabry would also already be there.
FC Bayern vs. BVB: The timetable for the first FCB game under Thomas Tuchel
It was originally planned for Tuchel to hold his first session as Bayern’s new coach on Monday. However, this plan was changed at short notice. The 49-year-old met his employees at the training ground to make a plan for the week and to hold talks.
Tuesday was the official start for Tuchel. He held his first training session at 11 a.m. – but only four professionals took part in Müller, Sané, Bouna Sarr and Sven Ulreich, who already completed a fitness session without their coach on Monday. The rest of the pros were missing or were still on international duty.
Choupo-Moting reported back just in time for the first team training session of the post-Nagelsmann era. Since the national players are returning on Wednesday, the first training session with all healthy players didn’t start until Thursday. The recovered Musiala was also there. Alphonso Davies joined a day later after his trip with the Canadian national team.
The obligatory final training followed on Friday, closed to the public. Due to the short period of getting to know each other, Tuchel announced at the beginning of the week: “On Saturday morning we might squeeze in a small unit for tactical things.”
“It felt like a month’s work. I was pretty tired in the evening. (…) In the short time it has to work, no matter how much time there is,” said Tuchel on Friday and reported on many conversations with the team and individual players.
FC Bayern vs. BVB: Was there another excitement?
After Leroy Sané, in particular, had attracted negative attention several times in recent weeks from Nagelsmann due to being unpunctual, another Bayern star made the most unfavorable start under Tuchel: Davies.
On Thursday after the international matches, he returned four minutes late to the meeting point on Säbener Straße, one hour before the start of team training.
Since a catalog of punishments was recently introduced in the course of Sané’s lack of discipline, Davies has to dig deep into his pocket. Per minute are noisy Picture 2000 euros due – the left-back has to pay 8,000 euros into the team coffers.
FC Bayern vs. BVB: The last duel
In the first leg, Bayern were in the lead for a long time, in the fifth minute of injury time Anthony Modeste scored the equalizer shortly before the end. That caused a lot of trouble for Oliver Kahn. Kingsley Coman was also sent off.
Neuer – Pavard, Upamecano, de Ligt (Mazraoui 62), Davies (Stanisic 46.) – Goretzka, Sabitzer (Kimmich 46.), Musiala – L. Sané, Gnabry (Coman 46.), Mané (Choupo-Moting 82. )
BVB: Bellingham (14th), Can (40th)
Bavaria: Sabitzer (2nd), de Ligt (11th), Goretzka (57th), Coman (77th), Sané (90th + 2), Adeyemi (90th + 2)
FC Bayern vs. BVB: The last time FCB changed coaches
Unlike Nagelsmann, the last change of coach in Munich happened after the end of a season. Hansi Flick had already announced his departure during the 2020/21 season, Nagelsmann took over in the summer.
His first official game as Bayern coach backfired. Bayern lost 3-2 to Cologne in a friendly. Nagelsmann did not win the first competitive game either.
In the opening game of the 2021/22 season, Bayern did not go beyond a 1-1 draw at Borussia Mönchengladbach. Four days later, however, they won their first Supercup title against BVB (3:1).
Bayern last changed coaches in one season in 2019/20. After a crushing defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt, Niko Kovac had to step down, his assistant coach at the time, Flick, took over and was later to win the treble.
He made his debut as head coach in the Champions League. Flick won 2-0 against group opponents Olympiakos Piraeus, followed three days later by a convincing 4-0 win in the Bundesliga. The opponent: Borussia Dortmund.
FC Bayern vs. BVB: The remaining program of the two rivals
With Union Berlin, Eintracht Frankfurt, VfL Wolfsburg, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Mainz 05, BVB will face five teams after the top game that either have the right to play for the European places or are currently in this region.
With SC Freiburg, Mainz, RB Leipzig and some teams from the lower region of the table, Bayern have a somewhat easier final program on paper.
Bayern Munich (A)
Borussia Dortmund (H)
Union Berlin (H)
SC Freiburg (A)
VfB Stuttgart (A)
TSG Hoffenheim (H)
Eintracht Frankfurt (H)
Mainz 05 (A)
VfL Bochum (A)
Hertha BSC (H)
VfL Wolfsburg (H)
Werder Bremen (A)
Borussia M’Gladbach (H)
Schalke 04 (H)
FC Augsburg (A)
RB Leipzig (H)
Mainz 05 (H)
1. FC Cologne (A)
FC Bayern vs. BVB: The table before the 26th matchday
On the day before the international break, Bayern lost their lead to BVB after a 2-1 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen. Dortmund clearly won 6-1 against Bayern.