It’s here. Der Klassiker – a footballing event followed the world over – takes centre stage on Matchday 10 as the always-entertaining Bundesliga moves up one more gear.
Champions FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund provided us with a thrilling title finale at the end of last season, and the teams’ coming together this Saturday will write a new chapter in a rivalry that has grown in stature as the years have passed.
After Bayern came out on top to take the title from the Black-and-yellows’ grasp last term, BVB fans are still smarting from that crushing setback. Those same, vociferous supporters will pack the Signal Iduna Park this weekend hoping to roar their side forward as they go in search of a modicum of revenge against the record champions.
Despite the shocker in the DFB Pokal on Wednesday night against third division side, 1. FC Saarbrücken, Bayern arrive in North Rhine-Westphalia in awesome form and on the back of dishing out an 8-0 thrashing on SV Darmstadt 98 last weekend in the Bundesliga. Harry Kane scored a hat-trick in that game – which included a jaw-dropping goal from the halfway line – to become the first player in Bundesliga history to score 12 goals in his very first nine games in Germany’s top flight. Several of Kane’s fellow goalscorers against the Lilies, like the mesmerising Jamal Musiala and assured Leroy Sané, are certain to feature strongly in Der Klassiker. Facing them will be a Julian Brandt in the form of his life, recently signed sharpshooter Niclas Füllkrug and the evergreen Marco Reus.
BVB currently boast a highly impressive 17 -game unbeaten run in the Bundesliga – the longest of any team – while they have not lost at their intimidating home in their last 20 top-flight fixtures. Edin Terzic’s men have also posted more points in this calendar year (67) than Bayern (60) while Die Schwarzge/ben have even outscored their Saturday opponents in 2023 with 78 goals to the Bavarians’ 77.
If the non-stop entertainment of last season’s Klassiker in Dortmund is to be replicated this time around, we’re in for a very special Saturday. Back then, the hosts at the Signal Iduna Park fought back from 2-0 down to earn a 2-2 draw with almost the last kick of the game. That result saw Dortmund end a run of seven straight defeats against their lofty rivals, although Bayern blew their opponents away in the corresponding fixture later in the campaign, which was coach Thomas Tuchel’s first in charge of the Bavarians.
Of course, Der Klassiker is not the only reason to get excited about Matchday 10, for there is a full fixture list bursting with intriguing games to also consider. League leaders supreme, the unbeaten Bayer 04 Leverkusen, will be looking to continue their fantastic form under coach Xabi Alonso when the Werkse/fvisit a TSG Hoffenheim side who have impressed with Pellegrino Matarazzo at the helm. Leverkusen’s slick, attacking displays, spearheaded by Florian Wirtz, Jonas Hofmann, striker Victor Boniface and flying full-backs Alejandro Grimaldo and Jeremie Frimpong, have left Bundesliga watchers in thrall, with the team showing no signs of slowing.
Third-placed VfB Stuttgart – who recently lost the division’s leading goalscorer Serhou Guirassy to injury – will be keen to bounce back from a rare reverse last weekend when they travel to face 1. FC Heidenheim 1846. The resurgent RB Leipzig, meanwhile, visit bottom-placed 1. FSV Mainz 05, a team who are still without a win in 2023-24.
Union Berlin will be desperate to end a sequence of seven straight league defeats when they welcome Eintracht Frankfurt, who have lost just once in the Bundesliga so far this term. The whole show kicks off on Friday night with Darmstadt against VfL Bochum 1848 and with 1. FC Köln facing FC Augsburg and SC Freiburg playing Borussia Mönchengladbach – and not forgetting VfL Wolfsburg taking on SV Werder Bremen – the Klassiker weekend couldn’t look any more complete.