Dortmund Keep Bayern At Arm's Length
Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund won their midweek matches in the DFB Pokal Semifinals. Dortmund needed a last minute goal in extra time to send them past 2.Bundesliga leaders Greuther Fürth, while Bayern dismissed Borussia Mönchengladbach in penalties. They'll meet in the Final on May 12 at the Olympiastadion in Berlin. Until that time comes, Bayern have their focus spread across two competitions while Dortmund only have to concentrate on one.
Dortmund being knocked out of the Champions League early may be their biggest asset in winning the league. They currently sit five points ahead of Bayern at the top of the table, They took the lead after Week 20 and haven't looked back. Bayern suffered a second dip in form in 2012, and it appeared that Dortmund would pull away. Back to back dominant performances by Bayern over Hoffenheim and Hertha Berlin have seen them pull right back into the race.
Is it possible that Bayern won't catch Dortmund? There's a huge chance that Bayern won't catch them. Dortmund have been in spectacular form since the winter break with 8 wins and 1 draw in 9 matches. Shinji Kagawa is looking like a €25m player, and Robert Lewandowski's excellent form has allowed Dortmund to let Lucas Barrios gear up (allegedly) for a summer departure to China.
While Franck Ribery and Mario Gomez have been in excellent form all season for Bayern, injuries have been keeping Arjen Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger from reaching the same heights. Bastian was in impeccable form for the first half of the season before he broke his collarbone in the Champions League group match against Napoli. He hasn't been able to find his way back on to the pitch for a lengthy period of time since then due to nagging injuries. Robben was suffering from a pubic bone injury at the beginning of the season, and he struggled until just the last few weeks. In the last three matches Robben has put in some spectacular peformances that have clearly raised the entire bar for the Bayern side.
This weekend sees Bayern hosting Hannover on Saturday, and Dortmund traveling to Köln on Sunday. After the midweek cup matches, one would think that the two sides might find some struggles this weekend.
Predicting the future is never easy, but we'll find out if Dortmund will retain their title as league champions beginning the second week of April. In a span of 11 days from April 11-21 Die Borussen will host Bayern Munich, travel to Gelsenkirchen for the Revierderby against Schalke, and host Borussia Mönchengladbach.
That eleven day stretch will make or break the season for Dortmund. If they manage to come out of that stretch aof matches with the Bundesliga lead still in their grasps, the title is as good as theirs.
Friday, March 23
Wolfsburg vs Hamburg - 20:30 CET / 3:30 PM ET
Saturday, March 24
Werder Bremen vs Augsburg - 15:30 CET & 10:30AM EST
Mainz vs Hertha Berlin - 15:30 CET & 10:30AM EST
Bayern Munich vs Hannover 96 - 15:30 CET & 10:30AM EST
Freiburg vs Kaiserslautern - 15:30 CET & 10:30AM EST
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Hoffenheim - 15:30 CET & 10:30AM EST
Schalke vs Bayer Leverkusen - 18:30 CET & 1:30PM EST
Sunday, March 25
Stuttgart vs Nürnberg - 15:30 CET & 10:30AM EST
Köln vs Borussia Dortmund - 17:30 CET & 12:30PM EST