Dortmund vs Bayern: Bellingham to Decide Der Klassiker?

Jamal Musiala (left) of Bayern Munich getting into a challenge with Jude Bellingham (right) of Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund host rivals Bayern Munich in what is set to be an exciting encounter at the Signal Iduna Park, with the two sides only separated by goal difference. The Black and Yellow will look to English starlet Jude Bellingham as their main man to decide Der Klassiker after another coming-of-age performance midweek.

Dortmund have had a mediocre start to the season, winning 7 of their 11 games across the Bundesliga and European competitions. Edin Terzić’s men sit 5th in the league standings, 2 points off surprise league leaders Union Berlin. BVB also have a strong chance of qualifying for the next round of the UEFA Champions League, laying 2nd in Group G after losing to Man City courtesy of a late strike from former player Erling Haaland.

Dortmund head into the derby off the back of a 4-1 away win over Sevilla in the UCL, inspired by the brilliance of 19-year-old Jude Bellingham. The former Birmingham City player bagged a goal and an assist on Wednesday night in a game that also saw him captain the German giants. In fact, Bellingham became the first English teenager to captain a side in the UCL, a remarkable feat given the size and status of Dortmund as a German giant.

BVB will once again look to their star midfield man to turn the tide in their favour, especially in the absence of club captain Marco Reus through injury. His ability to drive the team forward bas been heavily relied upon since becoming a mainstay in Dortmund’s midfield.

His performance midweek against Sevilla was an accurate representation of the responsibility Bellingham takes on, with the player often using his well-rounded skillsets to bail Dortmund out of unideal situations. The scoreline  against the Spanish side flattered BVB, who registered one less shot than Sevilla in what was a very open encounter.

Bellingham continues to grab the headlines with his stellar performances. His recent starts for England during the international break suggests he’ll be one of the first names on Gareth Southgate’s team sheet at the World Cup in Qatar, after racking up 6 goal involvements in 12 games this season. Dortmund are without doubt fully aware of Bellingham’s importance to the side, as well as the interest he’s attracting from Europe’s elite, with the club setting their price amid a likely summer move.

Jude Bellingham captaining Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League
Jude Bellingham captaining Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League

Bundesliga champions Bayern have had a poor start to the campaign by their lofty standards, with Julian Nagelsmann coming under pressure after it seemed that the Bavarians lost focus.

Bayern sit 3rd in the Bundesliga standings, only ahead of opposition BVB on goal difference. Despite scoring an abundance of goals even after Robert Lewandowski’s exit and having the joint-best defence in the league, Die Roten have only won half of their 8 league games thus far, drawing 3 and losing 1.

Manager Nagelsmann has demanded more control from his players heading into the derby, as Bayern look to build on their 5-0 demolition of Viktoria Plzeń in the Champions League earlier this week.

“There’s a lot of reporting about Dortmund showing ‘fluctuating performances’ within recent games. I don’t think it’s that dramatic,” Nagelsmann said in his pre-match press conference.

“I think they’re having a good season and will be a top opponent tomorrow.

“They create a lot of ‘give and go’ situations with a lot of good footballers who sprint behind the lines and receive good passes.

“They are a very good team… especially when they defend deeply – it always creates a strong danger when they counter.”

Bayern will be without longstanding playmaker Thomas Müller, who misses the game through illness. However, Die Roten have Jamal Musiala that can cover Müller’s role, as the teenager has been in spectacular form this season, accumulating an amazing 7 goals and 6 assists in 12 matches across all competitions.

Bayern Munich and Germany duo Leroy Sané (left) and Jamal Musiala (right)
Bayern Munich and Germany duo Leroy Sané (left) and Jamal Musiala (right)

The derby is an important fixture for both clubs. Besides only being separated by goal difference, the pair won’t want to lose any ground on those on top of the league. Dortmund will hope the Black and Yellow wall will act as the 12th man and spur BVB on to a long-awaited victory over their rivals.


Borussia Dortmund 1 – 3 Bayern Munich

The German champions are bound to show their class in this fixture as it seems that they always have the upper hand over Dortmund. The form of Leroy Sané and Jamal Musiala should concern the BVB backline given how shakily they’ve started the season, having already conceded at least 3 goals in a single game on three separate occasions this campaign.

Der Klassiker has generally been a one-sided affair in recent times, with Bayern coming away as victors in winning 9 of the last 10 encounters. However, this derby is the first one in years without Robert Lewandowski, who proved to be a constant thorn in the BVB side, of whom he was once a player too.