Now more than ever
Well, there we have it. Another big fixture against FC Bayern Munich, another „German Clasico" as the media like to call it. A stupid expression for yet a very important game. Borussia is four points behind Bayern in the rankings, another loss would mean losing touch at last year's triple crown champion. It is not only the big clash between the leader of the table and his follower, it is also a battle of records. Bayern Munich recently set a new record after being undefeated for 39 consecutive matches in Bundesliga competition while Borussia Dortmund equalized the club record with winning the first six home matches in Bundesliga. One streak definitely has to end on Saturday. The question is: Which one will it be?
The personal situation is as bad as it gets. Borussia misses an entire defensive line with the injuries of Marcel Schmelzer, Mats Hummels, Neven Subotic and (still) Lukasz Piszczek. During the week, Borussia reacted to the recent injuries by signing former national player Manuel Friedrich who had no contract and is therefore allowed to play on Saturday but not in Champions League competition. Friedrich knows coach Jürgen Klopp from their days together at FSV Mainz 05 and is an likely option for defending alongside Greek Sokratis in the center. On the right, Kevin Großkreutz will probably replace Piszczek again (even though the Pole is back in team training and played during a friendly on Tuesday) and on the left, Erik Durm will step in for Marcel Schmelzer once again. So the defensive line has nothing to do with the one who played Bayern half a year ago in Wembley and of course, this means a weakened Dortmund side before the big match. However, the offense is still intact which cannot be stated for Munich who will miss key player Franck Ribéry because of a broken rib just as Xherdan Shaqiri, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Claudio Pizzaro.
Even though many fans tend to lower their expectations before the match, to complain about all the injuries and to smell defeat even before kick-off those fans seem to forget what Borussia Dortmund is all about. Borussia is about making the impossible possible and overcoming odds. They did so for many years now and will do in the future. And why should they not beat Bayern now? They have proven over the last years that they are one of the few teams who know how to play against Munich. In fact, they are still the only club who managed to beat Bayern in the running season in a competitive match when they won the German Supercup before the season. So, yes, there are several injuries who suck and who definitely weaken the black and yellows. But why should we be desperate and forfeit the match before it even started? Borussia needs to get their focus back on old strengths: passion, will, heart and soul. And of course, they will have 70.000 screaming fans behind them who will hopefully give everything to support their team. In the Ruhrgebiet, there is a history of people having to face some setbacks during their life. However, this lead to a general mentality of thinking "Now more than ever" after facing those setbacks, standing up again and getting back stronger than ever. Borussia presented that mentality after nearly facing bankruptcy and became German champion and double winner and even managing to get to the final of the Champions League. Focus back on this mentality and there still is a chance that Bayern could be beat. Now more than ever.
In other news, the match against Bayern Munich also means the return of Mario Götze to the Westfalenstadion. And of course, this will not be an easy ride for the former Borussian who changed sides this summer after extending his contract with Borussia just a few months before. Götze is seen as a traitor, a modern day Judas and is one object of hatred for many fans so that you could imagine that there will be no warm welcome for him in the temple. Instead, he should get used to the idea that he will be booed out of the arena. Let's hope that will help him staying in his recent shape where he was no big use for Bayern Munich after missing some months due to injuries. In general, even though the results for Munich are more than alright during this season, I think they are not as good as they were with Jupp Heynckes as a coach. Pep Guardiola surely is a great mind but the team lacks to show his signature on the pitch. Like stated before, the results are more than okay but a lot of points were won just because of the pure fact that Bayern had the better individual players than most teams in the Bundesliga. Let's see how they will do when they face a team with a great offensive line just like ours.
So let's forget about records, injuries or returns of traitors. There are still 90 minutes to be played. Of course, those 90 minutes are very important and very difficult. But with all its heart and all their passion, Borussia is definitely not without a chance against the record champion. Come on, black and yellows. Those are the days when heroes are born and legends are written. Now more than ever.
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Großkreutz, Sokratis, Friedrich (Kehl/Bender), Durm - Bender, Sahin - Blaszczykowski, Mkhitaryan, Reus – Lewandowski
FC Bayern Munich: Neuer – Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba – Martinez – Robben, Müller, Kroos, Götze – Mandzukic
Referee: Gräfe (Berlin)
Location: Westfalenstadion (sold-out)
Matchday bets - You vs. the editors: Matty (England) vs. Vanni
13th day of Bundesliga 2013/2014
Stuttgart - Mönchengladbach 1-1 / 1-2
Nuremberg - Wolfsburg 0-2 / 1-2
Braunschweig - Freiburg 1-0 / 1-1
Frankfurt - Scheiße 04 2-1 / 1-2
Augsburg - Hoffenheim 2-2 / 1-1
Hertha - Leverkusen 1-1 / 0-2
Dortmund - Bayern 1-1 / 3-2
Hamburg - Hannover 3-2 / 2-0
Bremen - Mainz 1-3 / 2-1