Bundesliga: Dortmund chase Der Klassiker and a spot in Europe
Dortmund's European hopes remain alive as they face Bayern Munich in Der Klassiker. RB Leipzig, after a scramble against Monchengladbach, may struggle again against Freiburg, while the latter will be hoping to bounce back against Bayer Leverkusen.
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Round 24 action
If RB Leipzig go on to win the Bundesliga this season they will look back on last weekend’s 3-2 win over Borussia Monchengladbach as arguably the most important of all. Just when it had looked as though Bayern Munich were inviting Julian Nagelsmann’s side back into the title race, Leipzig found themselves 2-0 down to Monchengladbach just hours after Bayern beat FC Koln 5-1.
But a remarkable second half comeback saw Leipzig win 3-2 courtesy of a 92nd minute winner from Alexander Sorloth. Now, they can dream again ahead of a hugely important weekend in which Bayern face Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker.
Further down the table, defeats for Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen allowed Dortmund to strengthen their chance of top-flight European football next season as their win over Arminia Bielefeld took them to within three points of fourth.
Here are three previews of games this weekend.
Borussia Monchengladbach v Bayer Leverkusen (offered at zero margin)
Monchengladbach’s collapse against Leipzig was particularly painful given that, at half-time, it looked as though they were finally going to end a rotten run. Instead, they are now on a five-game winless run in the Bundesliga. Although Leverkusen are above them in the table, this might be just the game Monchengladbach needs - Leverkusen themselves have won only one of their last six.
We don’t expect too much confidence to be on display then - but given both teams are leaking goals, yet both have plenty of rapid forwards in their squads, there ought to be plenty of action. Leverkusen’s Leon Bailey and Moussa Diaby have continued to play well in attack, even through this bad run, while Breel Embolo and Marcus Thuram were back to their best in the first half against Leipzig.
Since both teams are so expansive, and make good use of the transition to quickly counter-attack, we should see some really entertaining end-to-end action - and with that, some porous defence and a high-scoring game.
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Freiburg v RB Leipzig
Freiburg’s shock 1-0 defeat at home to Union Berlin should be seen as an anomaly, in our view. Their home form has been superb thanks to a sturdy defence and some conservative tactics, whereby Freiburg are happy to sit deep and compress space between the lines. The only reason they were beaten by Union (their first home defeat since November) was because Union are so defensive that Freiburg were forced to hold lots of possession.
They will be more comfortable in a low block against Leipzig, who should dominate the ball and thus may play into Freiburg’s hands. The hosts have recently beaten both Leverkusen and Dortmund, while even at Bayern Munich they only lost 2-1. They should keep it tight and hold Leipzig back, leading to a frustrating draw for the title challengers.
Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund
Even though Dortmund are not in the title race, this outing of Der Klassiker will have huge significance for the top of the table. Dortmund are on a three-game winning run and have won their last two Bundesliga games by a 7-0 aggregate, with Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho back to their best.
As for Bayern, they have scored nine in their last two matches, and thus are just as free-scoring as Dortmund. Frankly, both clubs are a little bit poorly organised at the moment, and with so many tired legs this should be a game for attacking players to shine. Consequently, expect a lot of chances for the likes of Robert Lewndowski and Haaland - and another high-scoring game this weekend.
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