The stage is set for Wednesday, Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund will hold an epic clash between German giants, the unbeaten in 23 games Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich who are on a nine game winning streak. Bayern has been chasing Dortmund in the standings since December and now Bayern only three points behind with five games left, all the chips are on the table.
The two squads last met November 19th at Allianz Arena in Munich. Dortmund took the important match 1-0, mostly because of the efforts of one man. The game was dominated by Mario, not the Mario leading the league in goals scored with 25. It was the 19 year old Mario Gotze who had a wonderful match, leaving his stamp in Munich scoring the game’s only goal in the 65th minute.
Shortly after Gotze’s brilliant performance, the young German international found himself sidelined with a very unusual injury. Similar to Arjen Robben’s groin hernia problems, Gotze’s injury could not be completely solved under the knife, taking time away from the pitch was the only option. The good news surrounding the young star for the Dortmund faithful is that Gotze has recently signed a contract with Dortmund, locking him in with the West German club until 2016. Although Gotze has returned to training last week, it is unlikely Mario will play against Bayern.
Unfortunately for current league leaders Dortmund the opposing Mario will be on the pitch and he is in top form as of late. In the last nine games Gomez has played, five in which he did not play the full 90 minutes, he has netted 12 goals.
Maybe the key to the match for the Bavarians will not be their prolific goal scorer, but the return of their midfield general Bastian Schweinsteiger. ‘Basti’ missed the last match against Dortmund, allowing Dortmund to win most of the battles in the midfield.
Bayern is coming off a dominant display in their European play. Their quarter-final matchup Marseille was barely a challenge for FC Hollywood. Bayern moved on to the semi-final round where they will meet thee Real Madrid. After watching Bayern dismantle Marseille, you have to wonder if you can make any correlation in the fact that Dortmund lost twice to Marseille in their Champions League group play.
One of the major positives Dortmund has going into Wednesday is the play of their 23-year-old Japanese star, Shinji Kagawa. With the absence of Gotze in the Dortmund midfield, Kagawa has been the team’s creative spark plug. After being sidelined with a couple of different injuries, Kagawa has comeback and seen impressive results. Kagawa has scored three goals in his last three games.
There is no shortage of storyline for this massive Bundesliga tilt. Playing on home soil will be a huge factor; it always is when you’re playing at home in front of 78,650 passionate fans all wearing the same colours. With the return of an anchor in the midfield for Bayern in Schweinsteiger and Dortmund having to keep their young super star on the bench, the Bavarian’s will no doubt put up a great fight to take the top spot in the Bundesliga.
Whoever loses this very important match will be able to take some comfort in knowing that they will get another crack at the same opposition in only a month’s time. Round three between the two sides is to hoist the DFB Pokal trophy, the match is slotted for May 12th in Berlin at the historic Olympiastadion.
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