This weekend sees one of the most eagerly anticipated games in the Bundesliga season – European and German Champions Bayern Munich take on double runners up Borussia Dortmund. The last two meetings between these two teams were hugely entertaining games. Bayern, of course, beat Dortmund by 2 goals to 1 in the Champions League final at Wembley in May. Dortmund got some measure of revenge by convincingly thumping Bayern 4-2 in the German Super Cup. With only four points separating these teams at the top of the table, this game really is a ‘six-pointer’. Bearing this all in mind, we used the data at our disposal to look at the way both teams have been performing thus far this season and to see where their respective strengths lie.
Bayern Munich found themselves in decent positions in front of goal (be it 20 meters out but with a clear pathway to goal or one on one 5 meters out etc) on 19.08 occasions per game this season. Dortmund are not far behind with 18.58 such chances per game. In order to understand how each team managed to get into such positions, we looked at the actions taken just prior to such scenarios.
Dortmund have managed to create scoring chances using passing moves on 7.66 occasions per game with Marco Reus passing the ball in 2.36 of those. Reus also dribbled the ball in 1.55 of the 4.167 of Dortmund’s dribbling moves. Essentially this means that Reus is responsible for the creation of 4 of the team’s chances on goal per game. One can now see why he is considered as one of the hottest prospects at the moment. Dortmund also make use of both aerial and ground crosses to get themselves into these good scoring chances. They average around 4.08 of these crosses per game with Neven Subotić crossing the ball 0.95 times per game and Robert Lewandowski on 0.30 occasions. We can see that Dortmund create chances from all over the field with these three players representing a defender, midfielder and striker.
As for Bayern, passing moves represented 7 of their 19.08 scoring chance moves with Thomas Müller passed the ball 2.27 times. Mario Mandžukić was heavily involved in it came to crosses, both aerial and ground. Out of the 4.74 crosses per game, Mandžukić crossed 4 of them. Bayern also make use of dribbles and here, unsurprisingly, Franck Ribery*, is the most prolific dribbler in the team. Out of the 4.25 dribbling moves, Ribery was part of 1.86. Unlike Dortmund, most of Bayern’s chances are as a result of their midfield and attacking players.
Dortmund hold the edge over Bayern when it comes to regaining possession from the opposition. On average, the Dortmund players, get the ball back from their opponents 26.16 times per game whereas Bayern only manage to do this on 16.16 occasions. Mats Hummel is the standout player for Dortmund in this regard. He regains possession for his team on 5.5 occasions per game. This is more than double than the Jerome Boateng from Bayern who is their highest player regaining possession on 2.77 occasions only. Sven Bender, of Dortmund, regains possession 4.91 times per game with Neven Subotić responsible for the regaining of possession 4.54 times per game. The second highest Munich player is Dante who regained possession on 2.52 occasions per game. David Alaba is third with 2 per game. The top three of Bayern’s player involved in this are defenders whereas Dortmund’s top three are made of one defender and two midfielders. This could be that Dortmund manage to get the ball back more often than Munich who allow their opposition a little more space to move forward. This set up could suit Dortmund who are known for the quality of their counter attacks and will make the game very interesting.
Luckily for Bayern they have a keeper like Manuel Neuer who has saved 44% of all dangerous shots on his goal. Dortmund, however, need the whole team to defend as their keeper, Roman Weidenfeller, only managed to save 18% of these dangerous of shots.
Based on the above information, it would be interesting to see how the Bayern defence deal with the high line of play that Dortmund seem to employ whereas Bayern should try get as many shots on target as possible, knowing Weidenfeller’s issues thus far this season. Whatever the case, this game should be a real humdinger and make sure that you don’t miss it!
*Franck Ribery is injured and will not take part in the game against Borussia Dortmund