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Matchday 7 preview: a Klassiker overloaded with subplots and a shared objective for the Rhineland neighbours

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Record champions FC Bayern München travel to Borussia Dortmund on Bundesliga Matchday 7 to contend a Klassiker overloaded with subplots.

For starters, Bayern are the Bundesliga leaders thanks to their 2-1 victory away to 1. FC Köln a week ago. Dortmund also won at promoted DSC Arminia Bielefeld to join the defending champions on 15 points after six rounds of fixtures. Most impressive of all, hunted –the league’s best attack -and hunter –the division’s meanest defense -got the job done without their respective goal machines.

That’s right. For only the 15th time in his career, Robert Lewandowski missed a Bundesliga game. The 2020/21 campaign’s 10-goal leading scorer enjoyed a rare day off, in light of Bayern’s bumper schedule, and returned fresh as a daisy in midweek, scoring a brace in a 6-2 power-play against Red Bull Salzburg in UEFA Champions League Group A.

Erling Haaland made his return from a minor knee complaint 24 hours later in Bruges, where he rattled off two first-half goals to help his team toa3-0 win. The Norway international’s haulin a BVB shirt now stands at 26 goals in 28 competitive appearances, including five in as many league matches this term.

Lewandowski has a habit of scoring against Dortmund, as shown by his frightening tally of 18 goals in 21 meetings with his former employers, who lost home and away to Bayern last season by an aggregate score of 5-0. The summer’s DFL Supercup Klassiker was a much closer affair, with Haaland on target for the first time against Bayern in a narrow 3-2 defeat. A maiden Klassiker win is next on the agenda for the goal-scoring phenomenon. If he succeeds, Dortmund will go top.

To kick things off, SV Werder Bremen host1. FC Köln in the Matchday 7 opener. USMNT striker Josh Sargent scored his first goal for the season last time out and will be quietly confident of swelling his tally against a Billy Goats team winless in their last 16 Bundesliga games.

A smorgasbord of Saturday afternoon action sees RB Leipzig take on SC Freiburg. Julian Nagelsmann’s men surrendered top spot -and with it, their unbeaten league start to the season -in their 1-0 defeat to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 6, but bounced back in style by coming from behind to beat Thomas Tuchel’s Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.

1.FC Union Berlin host Arminia Bielefeld, with a club-record five-game unbeaten streak to uphold. Meanwhile rock-bottom 1.FSV Mainz 05 –the last remaining side without a point this season –host second-bottom FC Schalke 04, in a fixture that has the distinct whiff of a relegation six-pointer, even at this embryonic stage in the campaign.

Elsewhere, in-form FC Augsburg meet Hertha BSC Berlin, and VfB Stuttgart welcome Eintracht Frankfurt to the Mercedes-Benz-Arena.

After the blockbuster 90 minutes that will take place between Dortmund and Bayern at the Signal Iduna Park, VfL Wolfsburg, and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim pick up the baton in one of two Sunday encounters. The visitors are the only team to have beaten Bayern in 2020 and could welcome top scorer Andrej Kramaric back into the fold. The Bundesliga’s September Player of the Month was on a sparkling run of 11 goals in five Bundesliga games dating back to last season, prior to the October international break.

Finishing with a flourish, the Rhine derby between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Gladbach wraps up the show. Leverkusen’s Lucas Alario is in the form of his life with five goals in his last three Bundesliga outings, while opposite number Alassane Plea barrels into the contest fresh off a hat-trick in the Foals’ 6-0 demolition of Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

A top-four finish is the shared objective for the Rhineland neighbours, but victory could spark talk of a title challenge.

 


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