Even this early in a Bundesliga campaign, it’s rare that a Klassiker doesn’t pit first against second. It is even rarer when neither Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund occupy the first two places.
But after eight matches in the new season, that’s precisely what football fans will be treated to this weekend. Sunday’s Klassiker sees a third trip to face the fourth at the Westfalonstadion in Dotmund. Above the giants of German football are Union Berlin and Freiburg – first and second respectively. Although none of the minnows hold any real hopes of ending Bayern’s streak of 10 consecutive league titles, they are proving boring to the establishment.
A victory in Sunday’s heavyweight fight has the potential to lift its winner above Union and Freiburg, however, and one of the biggest names in German football believes the natural order if things will be soon recovered. If Bayern fail in their bid to make it 11 in a row, only one team can stop them.
Three Klassiker free kicks of the absolute highest level 🎯🎯🎯 #FCBBVB pic.twitter.com/5izal5MP6tMarch 31, 2018
“The biggest competition for Bayern remains Borussia Dortmund,” said Lothar Matthäus, winner of seven titles and countless Klassikers with Bayern during his career. FourFourTwo before Sunday’s battle. “The likes of Union Berlin and Freiburg have had a terrific start to the season and it’s fantastic to see some of the so-called ‘smaller clubs’ causing rough nights for the big boys, but when you talk about the main rivals of Bayern, you always start with Dortmund.
“It’s more than just a matter of football. It’s also clear in terms of financial strength, fan support, their stadium and the atmosphere they foster. There can be times when Dortmund falters, but very few teams can compete with them in the long term.”
Bayern lost Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona in the summer, with many German football fans hoping the prolific striker’s absence could spell the end of Bayern’s dominance. Yet Dortmund also lost a star man in Erling Haaland, who opted to join Manchester City in July. Matthäus, however, believes the Blacks and Yellows still have the team to compete this season.
“Despite losing Haaland in the summer – and Premier League fans are already seeing the impact he can have – BVB still had a good window and strengthened in some key areas,” says Matthäus. “New faces have arrived, the defense has received some much needed upgrades and, don’t forget, they also changed coaches. Yes, Edin Terzic has been in the job before, but there’s always a culture change when you change the person in charge.
“With all this change, it’s no surprise that they’re still finding their feet as a team this season, but I expect them to pose serious problems for Bayern in the Klassiker this weekend. – and that they have a successful campaign overall.”
Lothar Matthäus was speaking to FourFourTwo in his role as Bundesliga legend. Discover all latest Bundesliga news here.