Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
On Tuesday evening, the Bundesliga’s immovable object meets the division’s unstoppable force when Borussia Dortmund host Bayern Munich in a potentially explosive title tussle at the Signal Iduna Park.
With just four points separating defending champions and current leaders Bayern from Dortmund in second, the outcome of Tuesday’s game could set in motion a season-defining three-point swing in either direction.
Both clubs enter the field of battle armed with six-match winning streaks, and with the 2019/20 campaign hurtling towards its climax, Tuesday’s contest could be Dortmund’s last chance to rein their Bavarian rivals in to within striking distance.
Ahead of the action in North Rhine-Westphalia, here are five things to watch out for in Tuesday’s Der Klassiker between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.
Make sure to check out our huge 40/1 #OOT special for Borussia Dortmund’s meeting with Bayern Munich here!
Attacking talent on show
There will be no shortage of world-class attacking talent on show when the two most prolific teams in the Bundesliga line-up against each other on Tuesday.
Dortmund are ready to unleash a formidable arsenal that features Norwegian sensation Erling Haaland, Belgian wing wizard Thorgan Hazard and the ever-improving Julian Brandt, who seems to be thriving in the injured Marco Reus’ absence.
The incredibly productive Jadon Sancho, who has 30 goal contributions in 25 Bundesliga appearances this season, is also likely to be restored to the Dortmund starting XI by coach Lucien Favre after two games on the bench.
Bayern’s options in the final third are just as heavily sprinkled with stardust. Bundesliga leading scorer and match-defining talisman Robert Lewandowski will be out to punish his old employers again having scored twice against them earlier this season, and the Polish hitman will be joined up front by Thomas Muller and Serge Gnabry (if fit), with Kingsley Coman, Ivan Perisic and Leon Goretzka providing a star-studded supporting cast.
Wonderkid wing-backs set to collide
In one of the most fascinating aspects of Dortmund’s meeting with Bayern this week, emerging fullback pair Alphonso Davies and Achraf Hakimi will slug it out for supremacy down the same side of the pitch.
Canadian flier Davies has been enjoying a breakout season in Munich, hitting two goals and five assists in 23 Bundesliga appearances from his left-back berth, while Moroccan defender Hakimi has been performing with distinction in Favre’s forward-thinking outfit, notching an incredible 10 assists and four goals for Dortmund so far.
Davies and Hakimi are just 19 and 21 respectively, and having played against each other for the first time in Bayern’s 4-0 win over Dortmund last November, we could be witnessing the start of a decade-long battle between two of football’s finest young players.
Familiar faces meet
Though the tradition might seem a little alien to fans of England’s Premier League in particular, there is a long history of transfers involving players switching from Dortmund to Bayern and back again.
A lengthy list of stars have donned both clubs’ colours over the past couple of decades while competing for the same trophies from opposite sides of the dividing line – and Tuesday’s encounter between Dortmund and Bayern will likely feature players who have represented both again.
Bayern’s leading marksman Robert Lewandowksi spent four seasons with Dortmund before controversially signing for the Bavarians in 2014, while ex-Inter winger Ivan Perisic was with der BVB between 2011 and 2013.
Current Dortmund midfielder Mario Gotze moved to the club from Bayern in 2019, while Mats Hummels has bounced back and forth between the clubs four times since 2008. Emre Can also came through the academy system in Munich before flying the nest in 2013.
Can Bayern crack the Signal Iduna Park code?
Dortmund’s title charge this season has been largely powered by their phenomenal form at the Signal Iduna Park, and ahead of their latest test there against Bayern, der BVB have the Bundesliga’s only remaining unbeaten home record in 2019/20.
Lucien Favre’s men have been making full use of home advantage to win 10 of their 13 German top tier fixtures on their own patch since August, while scoring 45 goals and conceding just 10 times during the same period.
Bayern make the trip north armed with the league’s most outstanding away record this season, and with the usual motivational powers provided by the Yellow Wall absent, Hansi Flick’s side will believe they can be the first team to tarnish Dortmund’s unblemished record this term.
Borussia Dortmund will have to shake off any psychological scars they still carry from successive Bundesliga batterings at the hands of Bayern if they are to oust the league leaders on Tuesday.
Bayern stuck four goals without reply past Dortmund last November, in what had been billed a fixture between two evenly matched rivals before kick-off.
That hammering followed on from the 5-0 drubbing Bayern dished out against BVB in the teams’ last league meeting directly before the one-sided November mauling – results that are bound to have lingered in Dortmund players’ psyche.
Die Schwarzgelben did manage to restore a little pride in a 2-0 Super Cup victory that they managed to squeeze in between their two Bundesliga pummellings back in August, though with five attempts on goal to Bayern’s 15 that day, it was the very definition of smash and grab.
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