One of the biggest matches to date this season in world football takes place on Saturday at Signal Iduna Park when Bayern Munich visit Borussia Dortmund. Four points currently separate the two sides in the table, and Bayern would love nothing more than to push that lead to seven with their first win in Dortmund since the 2009-2010 season.
The match will be missing numerous stars by the time kickoff takes place. Bayern will be without Ballon d'Or favorite Franck Ribery and vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger. Claudio Pizarro and Xherdan Shaqiri will also miss out, while Holger Badstuber remains absent with his long term injury.
Bayern can turn to some combination of Arjen Robben, Thomas Müller, or Mario Götze to replace RIbery. It's called depth, and the Bavarians have it. Martinez will likely start in the defensive midfield position to cover for Schweinsteiger's absence.
BVB are missing their entire starting defense from last season's run to the Champions League Final. Lukasz Piszczek has recently returned for BVB in a test match, but he's not ready to start a match against the defending European champions. Neven Subotic is done for the year after a knee ligament tear, and Mats Hummels is out with his ankle. One day, Ilkay Gundogan will return to the field once he recovers from his back injury. Jürgen Klopp signed Manuel Friedrich to help cover in defense, and midfielders Jakub Blaszczykowski and Kevin Großkreutz will fill in at the fullback positions.
Sparks flew in last season's encounter at Signal Iduna Park. After Rafinha was sent off for an elbow to Blaszczykowski, the Brazilian was goaded into a shouting match by Klopp. Rafinha and the BVB coach had to be separated, and then Matthias Sammer and Klopp got into it on the sidelines.
Pep Guardiola has been spending the majority of this season to date crafting the treble winning Bavarians into more of his image, and he'll be hoping that he can unleash them on a severely depleted Dortmund backline.
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller; Blaszczykowski, Sokratis, Friedrich, Großkreutz; Bender, Sahin; Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, Reus; Lewandowski
Bayern Munich: Neuer; Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba; Martinez; Robben, Müller, Kroos, Götze; Mandzukic
Injuries and Suspensions
Borussia Dortmund: Ilkay Gundogan (out-back), Mats Hummels (out-ankle), Lukasz Piszczek (out-thigh), Marcel Schmelzer (out-calf), Neven Subotic (out-knee)
Bayern Munich: Holger Badstuber (out-knee), Claudio Pizarro (out-thigh), Franck Ribery (out-rib), Bastian Schweinsteiger (out-ankle), Xherdan Shaqiri (out-thigh)
Television and Streaming
TV: Gol TV (USA & Canada), BT Sport 1 (UK), Sky (Germany), Setanta Sports (Australia), Neo Prime (India), Others
Streaming: Sky Go (Germany)
Time and Location
Time: 18:30 Local / 12:30 PM Eastern
Location: Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund