Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich Preview: First Klassiker of the season already set to prove pivotal to title race

Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich meet in Der Klassiker on Saturday evening with three points between the two at the top of the Bundesliga.

Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich Preview: First Klassiker of the season already set to prove pivotal to title race
Dortmund have struggled at Signal Iduna Park recently. (Photo: Maja Hitij / Bongarts / Getty Images)

Borussia Dortmund face Bayern Munich in the first Klassiker of the season on Saturday evening with the result likely to prove pivotal in terms of setting the pace in the title race.

Three points separate the two heading into the game with Bayern top of the Bundesliga while Dortmund sit second - although that could all change come the final whistle.

BVB suffering from a slump in form

Despite capitalising on Bayern's slow start to the season, Dortmund have slipped up in recent weeks and have won just once in their last five games in all competitions.

Two 1-1 draws against APOEL Nicosia in the Champions League came either side of poor results in the Bundesliga, with a 2-2 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt preceding their most recent fixture - a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Hannover 96.

Their sole win in their last five games came in a 5-0 thrashing of 3. Liga side Magdeburg in the DFB-Pokal and their most recent Bundesliga victory came over a month ago as they beat FC Augsburg 2-1 with goals from Andriy Yarmolenko and Shinji Kagawa.

Peter Bosz's side have scored a league-high 27 goals so far with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring 10 of those, while summer signing Maximilian Philipp has impressed with five goals since his move from SC Freiburg.

The Dortmund boss has acknowledge his side's subpar form, admitting they "need to do a few things differently" to improve but also stressed that "if we win this, we are back at the top of the table."

Old face, familiar results for Bayern

The return of Jupp Heynckes in the Bayern dugout has done wonders for their performances as they boast six wins from six in all competitions since the German's arrival.

Two wins each over Celtic and RB Lepizig, as well as victories against Hamburger SV and SC Freiburg has seen the Bavarians reclaim their place at the top of the Bundesliga as well as all but secure qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League - albeit PSG pipped them to first place in Group B.

It is not at all surprising that Bayern have conceded the least amount of goals in the Bundesliga so far this season with seven, while only Saturday's opponents Dortmund have found the net more times.

Polish talisman Robert Lewandowski has been in red-hot form in front of goal as ever with 10 league goals to his name so far, although they do rely on him somewhat with next-highest scorers Arjen RobbenJames Rodríguez and Corentin Tolisso all on just two league goals.

Lewandowski is available after missing the 2-1 win over Celtic with Heynckes assuring fans the striker "has not sustained an injury, but an overburdening", while also saying that "Dortmund will be much more concentrated and attentive" this weekend.

Team news

Bosz will have four players missing on Saturday as Marco Reus, Sebastian Rode, Erik Durm and Łukasz Piszczek are all set to miss out due to various injuries.

The visitors are without a whole host of first-team players with the latest absentee being Joshua Kimmich, who misses his first game this season due to an upset stomach.

Bayern are also without Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller, Juan Bernat and Franck Ribery on Saturday evening.

Predicted line-ups

Borussia Dortmund (4-3-3): Bürki; Schmelzer, Sokratis, Toprak, Bartra; Sahin, Castro, Weigl; Philipp, Aubameyang, Pulisic.

Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1): Ulreich; Alaba, Hummels, Boateng, Rafinha; Tolisso, Vidal; Rodríguez, Thiago, Robben; Lewandowski.