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FC Bayern Munich
Posted by Susie Schaaf on 04/10/2012

The German press has said it all: "The Game of Games", "Festival of Football", "A Game We Love", "The Moment of Truth". And indeed, Wednesday's "Clash of the Titans" will live up to its moniker. Bayern Muenchen and Borrusia Dortmund have dominated the Bundesliga over the past few seasons, and this year is no different. A win against BvB would see Bayern level on points- and a superior goal differential- with only four matches remaining. A loss would would almost certainly take Bayern out of the running to hoist the big, ugly gold plate at season's end, and dash their hopes of a possible treble.

Both teams play 4-2-3-1 with similar styles, although Bayern retains an edge in ball possession. Dortmund are the second-most prolific scorers, while Bayern are the first (66 versus 69 goals). The current champions have had the best Rueckrunde, while the Rekordmeisters had the best Hinrunde. The forward attack for Munich has scored more goals than 14 Bundesliga teams, while Dortmund's attack has done better than eight. I could continue in this vein for a spell, but with pretty much every statistic you look at, die Roten and die Schwarzgelben hold the top two spots.

On Juergen Klopp's side, Mario Goetze has returned from long-term injury and practiced with out pain on Tuesday. I would expect him to start on the bench, however, and be brought in as a second-half substitution depending on the scoreline. No matter how wonderful a player he is, BvB have been doing rather well without him; undefeated in 23 straight Bundesliga matches. Julian Koch will also not feature; missing the remainder of this campaign.

Jakub "Can I buy a vowel" Blaszczykowski, Shinji Kagawa, Kevin Grosskreutz and Robert Lewandowski are the definitive teeth to Dortmund's bite with 42 goals collectively in their Bundesliga matches. And their bite comes late as 39 goals for the squad this term have been scored in the second half.

Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer - Guendogan, Kehl - Blaszczykowski, Kagawa, Grosskreutz - Lewandowski.

Jupp Heynckes, once again, has the luxury of too many quality midfielders as Bastian Schweinsteiger is (not quite up to speed, but) match fit. Daniel van Buyten, while given a contract extension, will not feature the rest of the season. And Breno will be, again, joining him in the stands.

I'll take a stab at Bastian coming off the bench in the second half to replace Mueller (with Kroos sliding up to the 10), or to directly replace Kroos himself; depending on the outcome of the first half.

And while Dortmund is decisively a second half team, Bayern does things a little differently. Die Roten plays their best football if they score in the first 15 minutes, and they have done this 15 times this Bundesliga season. However, they're pretty lethal in the last 45 minutes, too, scoring 37 goals after the half.

Bayern Muenchen: Neuer - Lahm, Boateng, Badstuber, Alaba - Gustavo, Kroos - Robben, Mueller, Ribery - Gomez.

Now, the big questions: What do I think? How do I feel? Who will be victorious? Sigh. I don't know. Both teams are filled with class, for sure. I think that Jupp Heynckes should call up Stuttgart's coach, Bruno Labbadia, and ask him for his playbook, after the Swabians held Dortmund to a 4-4 draw at the end of March. I certainly don't see it as a butt-kicking, either way, as both squads are in great form. It will be tense, it will be passionate, it will be exciting. And it will live up to its billing. "Mia san Mia" gegen "Wir sind Fussball". A clash of the Titans, indeed.

Auf gehts, Bayern!

You can (and should) follow Susie on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/fussballsusie

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Comments

Posted by Xander on 04/10/2012

I've been following your blogs since this season. Allways a treat to "read you".

I've watched every single of them forty-something matches of Bayern this season and this is the only one where I actually don't know what to expect.

Admittedly, Bayern HAVE to win. If I don't see them giving 110% and beeing inter, drowzy like vs. Freiburg or Hamburg in the rückrunde, then they just don't deserve it.

Most people say Bastian should start no matter what (simple because he is BASTIAN SCHWEINSTEIGER). But I support your line-up: Kroos - Gustavo have made a very good and stable midfield in the past 8 or 9 games. I don't see why we shouldn't trust them on Dortmund.

Jakub "Can I buy a vowel" Blaszczykowski

Posted by Larry on 04/11/2012

LETS GO BAYERN!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't sleep.

Posted by Ruud on 04/11/2012

Hey Susie,

I can almost feel the tension in between the lines of your blog! Can't say i'm all relaxed - Yes, Larry, no bayern fan could sleep - i'm extremely nervous! and that can't be good with my high blood pressure... I just hope the lads give it their all, and i believe - eventhough Dortmund are in great form - if we are ready psychologically, we will nail it. I might be a bit biased, but i think Bayern are a better side on all levels (not too far ahead though), and we play Dortmund like Real play Barcelona, with fear to a certain extent.

And WTF with that packed schedule?!?!?

The past couple of weeks have been exhausting (for us fans as well), and i am afraid, by the time we get to the Real game, the guys will be worn out, especially that we don't have the same squad depth of our rivals (heck they can field two first teams at the same time).

So i say, come on you lads, roll your sleeves up and show the world what we are made of...

AUF GEHTS, DIE ROTEN!

Posted by Shane on 04/11/2012

Match of the season!!!

Posted by Stevavo on 04/11/2012

I would drop Muller and Play Kroos in the hole. Lets be honest Kroos has by far been the better player for us this season and Muller has been fumbling all season despite a decent performance here and there. A midfield diamond of Schweini, Gustavo and Kroos reminds me of a Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets feel to it and particularly in tough away games I feel that Muller will be ineffective based on his form this season.

Posted by latibaba on 04/11/2012

Dortmund will not survive this,after defeating us three times in row,we can not afford to lose this one.my prediction (Dortmund 1 vs Bayern 3).

I think all we need do is go into the game like every other game,we will come out victorious.
We were able to stop a number of some teams streaks, be it winning and undefeated.am sure we all still rememeber Basel,B.monglabach and recently added is Augsburg and Berlin.We broke thier record,andwho say Dortmund is an EXCEPTION.

With DAVID ALABA on the left back victoria ascerta,can we remember how many times we have lost a single point since the young lad has resume the left back position.None,also Dortmund will not be an EXCEPTION.

God forbid injury for my darling Bayern.With my 2 wings(ROBBERY) and my functinal renewed head(GOAL-MACHINE) and my German powered engine at the back(LBBAN)i will fly any distance without a crash.
How can i forget my pilot at the midfield (KSGT)they are surplus to requiremnt.
Fly higher DIE ROTEN(its 10/10)

Posted by ken on 04/11/2012

This is going to be a close one. My red Bayern blut says 1:2 for FCB. My brain says 2:2. It will be interesting to see how Alaba fares against BVB's attack. I think this is a key.
Knut Kircher is the Schiedsrichter, and he won't stand for nonsense.
I wish I was there.
Tschuss.
ken

Posted by Anonymous on 04/11/2012

SIEHT DEN BAYERN DIE LEDERHOSEN AUS!!!!!

Posted by susie on 04/11/2012

Anon,

Congratulations. And stay classy, Dortmund.

Posted by BayernGator on 04/11/2012

As upset as I am for robben choaking at the death... got to feel for him cuz that is going to haunt him for a while.
Dortmund are a great team, i dont understand how a team of their caliber did so poorly in the UCL, or is it that they only get up for bayern??

Posted by Jorge on 04/11/2012

nice, anonymous. next time you try german, try to get the spelling right.

Posted by Tom on 04/12/2012

Congrats to Dortmund. They beat us twice and thus deserve to be champs. It will be interesting to see how Heynkes handles the Mainz game this weekend. Does he rest some key guys in preparation for Real or does he field the strongest side in a last ditch hope of winning the league? I would rest some guys given that the CL Game is on Tuesday.

Posted by Bryan on 04/12/2012

Wonderful blog Susie, I look forward to every entry. Didn't get to see the whole game due to classes but the last ten minutes really tore at me. Hopefully Robben can shake that performance before UCL.
Do you think that performance could affect Robben signing a long term exstension?

From Idaho auf gehts, Bayern

Posted by Ruud on 04/12/2012

@ anonymous

Your entry is like a fart in a Super Bike Race, i suggest you stay ANONYMOUS!

@ All

I'm gutted, a draw would've been fair, anyhow, tough break. Hope they get their acts together before the Real Madrid game...

Keep the faith y'all, Let's Go Bayern!

Posted by Nathan on 04/12/2012

As dissapointed and shocked as I was after the result (and particularly the PK and wide open miss by Robben), it is what it is and Dortmund have been a great side all year in the Bundesliga. We have only ourselves to blame for leaving so many points on the table at the beginning of the spring season.

And it isn't like there is nothing to play for. We are still Bayern and we have, more often than not, been on the right side of matches like yesterday, sometimes miraculously (Patrik Anderson in 2001, anybody?), so congratulations to Dortmund and now let's win the Champions League.

OK, I am going to return to crying in my office now. It's only a game, right?

Posted by sreejith rc on 04/17/2012

I feel Alaba is going to be the trump card

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