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Sports News

Rampant Bayern attack faces stingy Dortmund defence in Klassiker

(Reuters) - If there is one team that can stop Bayern Munich’s rampant attack, it would appear to be arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund.

Soccer Football - Champions League - Group A - FC Red Bull Salzburg v Bayern Munich - Red Bull Arena Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria - November 3, 2020 Bayern Munich's Lucas Hernandez celebrates scoring their sixth goal with teammates REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

The two sides, who are level at the top of the Bundesliga with five wins and one defeat each from six games, meet in a German Klassiker on Saturday which pits the league’s best attack against its tightest defence.

While titleholders Bayern have blasted 24 goals in six games, last season’s runners-up Dortmund have conceded only two, both in a 2-0 defeat at Augsburg, and have kept clean sheets in their other five matches.

Dortmund, hosts on Saturday, have played 374 minutes in all competitions since conceding their last goal in the 3-1 Champions League defeat to Lazio.

Dortmund coach Lucien Favre has reverted to his preferred four-man defence this season, having switched to a three-man back line halfway through the last campaign due to what he described as a “few problems.”

“We feel very comfortable with the new system,” said defender Manuel Akanji after their 3-0 win at Club Brugge on Wednesday. “Sometimes you need a small change and I think the return to the four-man defence has helped.”

Dortmund are hoping that Akanji’s regular partner at the centre of defence, Mats Hummels, will be fit after missing the Brugge match.

Bayern, 6-2 winners at Salzburg on Tuesday, are on a remarkable run and have won 27 out of their 28 matches in all competitions since football restarted in May following the coronavirus stoppage.

Former Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski has led the way and has scored 10 league goals already this season, at an average of one every 37 minutes.

Bayern did the double over Dortmund last season as they won the title by 13 points and also beat their rivals 3-2 in the Supercup in December.

Even so, the club lived up to their reputation for off-field drama this week after president Herbert Hainer said in a radio interview that they had withdrawn their offer to long-serving David Alaba over a contract extension.

The Austrian said he was disappointed that details had come out into the open while his team mates and coach Hansi Flick both backed him.

“It’s important to me that we have calm in the team and our surroundings,” said Flick. “We have a very, very important game against Dortmund on Saturday and I’m not interested in anything else. I won’t say anything more about it.”

Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis

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