We get last year's DFB Pokal final in the quarterfinals this year when Bayern Munich host Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday. With the Bundesliga nearly won and the Champions League tie with Arsenal practically wrapped up, BVB are the current barrier standing in Bayern's pursuit of the treble.
BVB smashed Bayern 5-2 in that match on their way to the double, and they've had the upperhand in the league as well. The last five league matches are all in favor of BVB with four wins and one draw. Two years ago, BVB won 2-0 at home before winning 3-1 in Munich. Last season, Die Borussen edged Bayern 1-0 in both matches. Earlier this season, Bayern took the lead grabbed a second half goal, but BVB quickly equalized for the 1-1 draw.
While Bayern did come close to winning against BVB earlier this season, Wednesday's match is not the same as a league contest. In the league, Bayern doesn't have to beat BVB to win the Bundesliga. They could have lost to Dortmund in December and would still have a 15 point lead in the league. In a cup competition with everything on the line, Bayern must make a statement. The only acceptable statement in this situation is a win.
Aside from Franck Ribery being suspended for Bayern, both teams will be fielding their regular starting lineups. Replacing Ribery is no easy task. The midfielder was voted the best player in the first half of the Bundesliga by his peers and has continued that stellar form into the second half of the season. However, Jupp Heynckes has already stated that Arjen Robben will slide into his spot in the lineup. The Dutchman has struggled with fitness and form for a majority of the season, but he's been playing well in recent weeks. A good performance against BVB will go a long ways to erase Robben's penalty miss --- and Neven Subotic screaming in his face --- in the Final last year.
After stomaching BVB going with a "false 9" against Borussia Mönchengladbach at the weekend, it'll be good to see Robert Lewandowski back on the field and spearheading the attack. The attacking trio of Mario Götze, Marco Reus, and Jakub Blaszczykowski behind him is on par with any in the world. The key for BVB will be the midfield pivot of Ilkay Gundogan and his partner. Gundogan has morphed into the midfield dynamo that they thought he would be when they signed him from Nürnberg a year and a half ago. In fact, he's been so impressive that former Bayern and Germany international Olaf Thon said a few weeks ago that he thought Gundogan had already surpassed Bastian Schweinsteiger.
The real question in the match will be if BVB can score on Bayern. The Bavarians have only conceded 8 times in 23 league matches to date. In all competitions which encompasses 33 matches, they've only conceded 16 goals. The addition of Dante has completely transformed the Bayern defense into arguably the world's best. They're going to have to score twice to beat Bayern Munich, but if any side can do it, it's Borussia Dortmund.
Bayern Munich injuries and suspensions
Out: Franck Ribery (suspended), Holger Badstuber (knee).
Borussia Dortmund injuries and suspensions
Out: Patrick Owomoyela (leg)
Match Date/Time: 25:30 CET, 2:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
TV: Sportsnet World (Canada), ESPN UK (UK), Sky Sport 1 (Germany)
Streaming: ESPN3 (USA), Sky Go (Germany)