This battle was an early title decider in the 2010-11 season. It is set to take center stage again this weekend under slightly different circumstances.
The battle this time is for second place. Leverkusen and BVB are separated by merely a single point. A win for Dortmund will take them to second. A win would certainly not be improbable considering that Leverkusen’s recent record against Dortmund is rather poor. Early on in this season, they were thrashed 3-0. However, Leverkusen had not found the winning formula at that time.
Dortmund had a rather poor first half compared to the lofty standards of the past two seasons. Dortmund has started firing on all cylinders following the winter break. They have recorded two wins out of two so far. Bayern has done the same; however Bayern has given the bare minimum effort required to win games so far.
Leverkusen last week drew 0-0 against Freiburg. Freiburg had the better chances throughout the match. Leverkusen looked slightly lethargic and could not really ever get going. Perhaps, Leverkusen looked poor because of the way they were hassled consistently by Christian Streich’s side. Bayer 04 had the best chance to win the match though.
The chance was created by the brilliance of a certain Andre Schürrle. Schürrle dribbled his way past a few defenders before unleashing a shot which came off the post. Had that been the winner, nobody could have begrudged Leverkusen the three points. Schürrle will hope to produce similar moments of brilliance against Dortmund.
Last season, Dortmund rolled over Leverkusen in one encounter. The other encounter ended in a highly entertaining 0-0 draw. This match brings about many duels. Amongst them is a duel between twin brothers, Sven and Lars Bender. Lars is a hugely important part of the Leverkusen setup. However, Sven has a lot of competition for his spot, especially with the addition of former hero Nuri Sahin.
Dortmund dominated possession against Nürnberg in a brilliant victory. The three goal margin easily demonstrated the difference in quality between the two sides on that day. While Dortmund is largely known as a counterattacking side throughout Europe, they can dominate possession too and play much like Bayern. In this one, perhaps BVB will be the one dominating possession with Leverkusen counter attacking at every chance.
This battle will bring to the fore the tactical brilliance of Jürgen Klopp, Sami Hyppia and Sascha Lewandowski to the fore. The managers of both sides have come up with ingenious methods which suit their players to no end.