Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich: Five Key Duels In Blockbuster Clash
Bayern Munich have turned things around since Carlo Ancelotti was sacked at the end of September. Borussia Dortmund, by contrast, have endured a disastrous few weeks.
Second-placed Borussia Dortmund host leaders Bayern Munich in the clash of the Bundesliga heavyweights on Saturday with three points separating the teams. Saturday's fixture is an opportunity to extend their lead in the title race and heap more misery on a Dortmund side currently in crisis. Despite injuries to Lewandowski, Franck Ribery and Thomas Mueller, Bayern have turned things around since Carlo Ancelotti was sacked at the end of September. Dortmund, by contrast, have endured a disastrous few weeks. Peter Bosz's side have won just one of their last six games, dropping to second after defeats to both RB Leipzig and Hanover 96.
Here are five key duels in the German league showdown:
Goetze vs Thiago
After seven months out with a metabolism disorder, Germany's World Cup winner Mario Goetze is recapturing his best form.
The attacking midfielder has been Dortmund's best performer in the last fortnight when they dropped eight league points in defeats to RB Leipzig, Hanover 96 and the draw at Eintracht Frankfurt.
With Thomas Mueller injured, Thiago Alcantara is back in his favourite position of attacking midfielder.
With an average of 106 touches per game -- the highest in the team -- Thiago runs Bayern's attack.
Goetze shades the head-to-head stats with 18 passes which have led to goal chances this season compared to Thiago's 15.
Aubameyang vs Lewandowski
The clash of the best strikers in Germany's top flight over the last two years.
Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was top-scorer in the Bundesliga last season with 31 goals, one more than Lewandowski, who took the 2015/16 title with 30 goals.
Both have scored ten goals in as many league games this season.
However, Aubameyang is currently in a goal drought, failing to score in his last four games.
He drew another blank in Wednesday's 1-1 draw with APOEL in the Champions League.
Lewandowski was rested for Tuesday's 2-1 win at Celtic and has recovered from a thigh knock.
Despite his dip, Aubameyang has scored 15 goals in 16 games this season, one more than Lewandowski in as many matches.
Yarmolenko vs Coman
Both wingers have pace to burn with Dortmund's Andriy Yarmolenko clocking 32.8km/h (9.1m per second) while Bayern's Kingsley Coman can hit 34.7km/h (9.6m per second)
By comparison, Usain Bolt clocked 12.27m per second in setting the world 100m record in 2009.
After starting his Dortmund career with a bang after signing from Dynamo Kiev in August, Yarmolenko, has struggled in recent weeks.
He has still provided two goals and three assists in his six league games.
Coman's best match was a goal and assist in the 5-0 thrashing of Freiburg last month.
The Frenchman is Bayern's quickest player and this season has dribbled past more opponents (39) than veterans Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery (34) together.
Burki vs Ulreich
Goalkeeper Roman Burki has bombed in key games when Dortmund lost 3-1 to Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur in Europe, plus the 3-2 home league defeat to RB Leipzig.
Borussia's bosses insist they are planning with him as first-choice goalkeeper next season.
Statistically, especially given the leaky defence in front of him, Burki is a sound bet with 72 percent of shots on goal saved.
Sven Ulreich, Bayern's reserve goalkeeper, was thrust into the first-team in September when Manuel Neuer was ruled out until early 2018 with a fractured foot.
His contract expires next June.
Ulreich has said he wants to join another club where he will be first-choice, but betters Burki with 76 percent of shots at his goal saved.
Boateng vs Sokratis
The match at Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park is likely to be decided in defence.
Jerome Boateng has resumed his partnership alongside Germany team-mate Mats Hummels after injury.
The World Cup winning centre-backs are a solid unit which will test Aubameyang.
Dortmund centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos was twice exposed for pace in last Saturday's shock 4-2 defeat at Hanover 96, but is a threat with headers from set-pieces.
Boateng prides himself on his silky-smooth, long passes from deep from which Bayern like to attack.