A key contest in the Bundesliga title race takes place later on Tuesday when Borussia Dortmund host champions and leaders Bayern Munich.

Bayern are four points clear at the top of the table with seven matches left to play, making this a must-win encounter for Dortmund.

BVB have seen their fortunes boosted since the January arrival of in-demand striker Erling Haaland from Salzburg.

Bayern have a formidable frontman of their own, though, in the shape of former Dortmund star Robert Lewandowski.

Ahead of a huge Klassiker contest, we have used Opta data to review the numbers behind the two strikers' prolific 2019-20 campaigns so far.


GOALSCORING STATS

Lewandowski just edges Haaland when it comes to goals scored in league matches this season, with 27 to his name compared to 26 for the Dortmund star, whose figures include his time with both Salzburg and BVB.

However, the Poland international has spent 546 minutes longer on the pitch then Haaland, who has scored a goal, astonishingly, for every 64.5 minutes he has spent on the pitch.

Lewandowski's mark is 17.8 minutes longer than Haaland, but he still averages more than a goal a game with his minutes-per-goal rate also impressive at 82.3, his goals having come in just 25 appearances.

While it is worth bearing in mind Haaland was playing against weaker opposition in Austria, he has only needed 2.8 shots per goal, compared to 4.2 for Lewandowski.

The Bayern star is more of a presence in the opposition penalty area though, with 22 per cent of his touches there, compared to 18 per cent for his rival.

Both players are scoring more than their expected goals rate, with Haaland's 10 Bundesliga strikes defying an expected rate of 6.0, while Lewandowski's 27 are favourable to his expected tally of 25.1.

When it comes to creativity, it is another mixed picture, as Lewandowski has laid on 27 chances for his team-mates, compared to 21 for Haaland.

However, Haaland has 6 league assists to his name, twice as many as Lewandowski, who has 3.


KEY OPTA FACTS

Haaland

- The Dortmund striker became the youngest player to reach the milestone of scoring 15 goals in the Austrian Bundesliga. He was 19 years, three months and 20 days old at that moment.

- Haaland did not need long to get comfortable in the BVB jersey. He scored in all three competitions in his debut appearance: a hat-trick in the German Bundesliga against Augsburg, a goal in the DFB-Pokal loss to Werder Bremen, and two goals in the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain.

Lewandowski

- The in-form Bayern star got his 27th goal of the season on the 27th matchday of the league season, which represents his personal best. The overall Bundesliga record is held by Gerd Muller, who had 34 goals by the 27th match round of the 1971-72 season.

- Lewandowski has scored 12 goals in his last six Bundesliga matches against Dortmund. He has netted a total of 16 league goals against his former side – only Klaus Allofs has more (18).

Erling Haaland cannot yet be compared to Robert Lewandowski, according to Hansi Flick, though Bayern Munich's coach firmly believes Borussia Dortmund have a star in their ranks.

Haaland has hit the ground running since his move to Dortmund in January, continuing the stellar form he showed in the first half of the season for Salzburg.

The 19-year-old has scored 10 goals in 10 Bundesliga appearances, propelling Dortmund on in the title race.

Lucien Favre's side sit four points behind leaders Bayern heading into Tuesday's behind-closed-doors Klassiker at Signal Iduna Park.

Haaland's form has been touted as a potential match for former Dortmund striker Lewandowski, who netted his 41st goal of the season in all competitions in Bayern's 5-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, yet Flick believes it is too early for such comparisons to be made.

"It is [Haaland's] first season, so comparing him now is too early," Flick told reporters.

"Robert has always been at a world-class level in recent years. But Haaland is a huge talent.

"He is a young player, but he has a huge pull towards the goal. He just wants to finish.

"He has a brilliant dynamic. He is greedy, is an enormous size but is still agile. But we don't just have to watch out for him [on Tuesday]."

Flick, who is anticipating a resilient Dortmund performance, also acknowledged the peculiarity of playing such a pivotal match in front of no supporters, due to the coronavirus crisis.

"It is a very special game," Flick said as he was asked if playing behind closed doors could present an advantage to Bayern.

"The atmosphere can inspire any team. It is about how you can cope with it. You have to accept the current situation. You can't look for an excuse. We have to implement the match plan."

Thomas Muller has been in scintillating form since Flick took charge of Bayern, and was at his best once more against Frankfurt, providing his 17th league assist of the season before helping himself to a seventh goal of the campaign.

"Thomas is a player who can lead a team very well and gives commands over and over again," Flick added.

"He played very well against Frankfurt and was always available – he brought dynamism into play. Thomas has enormous experience but wants to win every game.

"He embodies 'Mia san Mia' perfectly and knows that he has to go to the limit again and again to win games."

Lucien Favre is convinced Borussia Dortmund will be an entirely different beast in Tuesday's Klassiker to the one Bayern Munich thrashed 4-0 earlier in the season, with Erling Haaland and Emre Can playing a part in that.

Bayern were comfortable victors in the first Klassiker of the season back in November, with a Robert Lewandowski brace added to by Serge Gnabry's effort and a Mats Hummels own goal.

Tuesday's encounter will likely play a vital role in deciding where the Bundesliga title ends up, with Bayern four points clear of Dortmund at the summit.

While the phenomenon of home advantage may have been lost since the Bundesliga returned behind closed doors following the coronavirus-enforced suspension, Favre – whose Dortmund side will host Bayern – insists conclusions from their previous meeting are irrelevant this time.

"Obviously we didn't play well in the first meeting," Favre told reporters. "It was three days after our home match against Inter.

"Since then we improved and play with another system. It suits our squad more. In the transfer market we signed two players [Haaland and Can] and have more presence on the pitch now.

"We are simply better than back then, but this match [the 4-0 defeat] definitely was not good from us."

Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc added: "I can back Lucien 100 per cent on this. It's a crucial factor that we added two winners in Erling Haaland and Emre Can.

"Furthermore, there is big difference in our performances between home and away matches. We beat them at home last year, we beat them in the Super Cup.

"We are all looking forward to this match, as does the whole of German football."

But Zorc was eager to impress on Favre and the players the importance of this match, certain that failure to win will effectively doom their title challenge.

"First and second place in the league table are facing off. Emotionally it is a different match, just like it was in the derby against Schalke," Zorc said.

"When you play without fans it's going to be determined by the values we showed on the pitch in the previous two games. The team has been right on point.

"Obviously, you don't have to be a prophet when you say: If we want to keep competing for the title, we have to win the match. It's as simple as that.

"There are only six more matches to play after that. It's easy to say, difficult to achieve, since Bayern are an exceptional side."

Thiago Alcantara will miss Tuesday's Klassiker between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.

Head coach Hansi Flick confirmed the midfielder will not be available for the game at Signal Iduna Park after being forced to miss Monday's training session.

"Thiago didn't train," Flick told reporters. "Unfortunately, he is ruled out for this game. The final secret regarding the line-up, I'd like to keep to myself."

Thiago has played 23 times in the league this season but sat out Saturday's 5-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt due to a groin problem.

In his absence, Flick hopes to see Leon Goretzka continue his impressive run of form.

"He won plenty of balls against Frankfurt and was very aggressive. That's very important for a holding midfielder," Flick said. 

"He has added some muscle, which has benefited his game. Leon is developing well. 

"He was a little more attacking before, as a 10 or a number eight. But, as a six, he can show off his strength, his sprints forward.

"He interprets things differently to Thiago. I'm happy to have alternatives in this position."

Bayern head into the game with a four-point lead over Dortmund at the top of the table, with just seven games of the season remaining.

They are on an eight-match winning run in all competitions and won the reverse fixture 4-0 at the Allianz Arena last November.

Tuesday's game takes place just a day after the seventh anniversary of Bayern and Dortmund's meeting in the Champions League final at Wembley in 2013, when Arjen Robben's late goal secured the treble for Jupp Heynckes' side.

Robert Lewandowski might be Bayern Munich's most lethal forward, but the prize for their best player this season arguably belongs to Thomas Muller.

A regular fixture at the Allianz Arena for 11 years, Muller is sixth on Bayern's all-time appearance list on 523 games and has scored 196 goals. His 147 assists give him a total of 343 goal involvements in a club career that has yielded 21 trophies.

His place in Bayern folklore is secure. At the start of the season, the same couldn't be said for his future.

Muller started just three of 11 Bundesliga games under Niko Kovac and did not complete 90 minutes even once. His struggles at club level came after Germany coach Joachim Low decreed he would no longer be required for international duty, a century of senior caps and a World Cup winners' medal not enough with which to plead his case.

It seemed Muller's career at the highest level was petering out. And then, last November, came a Flicker of hope.

When Kovac's troubled time in charge came to an end, assistant Hansi Flick was tasked with steadying the ship and getting a trophy challenge back on track. Six months on, the former Germany number two has done just that, rewriting the story of the season with Muller as his chief protagonist.

MULLERDEPENDENCIA

"Emotionally, it was very tense back then," was how Muller described his time under Kovac, shortly after he extended his contract to 2023 in April.

"With the change of coach and different playing style, everything has developed positively. Not only have I been playing more, but I've also been able to put my stamp on our games again."

Flick certainly saw every reason to put his faith back in Muller, naming the 30-year-old in his starting line-up for 14 of his first 16 Bundesliga games in charge. Muller has repaid that by producing arguably the form of his career.

Since Flick took over, Muller was been involved in 20 Bundesliga goals for Bayern, scoring seven and setting up 13. That's the best record at the club, and came after he endured a goal drought of 1,356 minutes that ended in late November.

This is not a case of a forward feeling unburdened during a 'new manager bounce', either. Muller has been at the heart of Flick's set-up. He has been involved in by far the most open-play sequences to end in a shot (121 – at least 17 more than any other player). In terms of sequences to end in a goal, only Lewandowski on 23 comes close to Muller's 27. He has also had a hand in 27 of Bayern's 49 league goals from open play under Flick.

CHASING DOWN DE BRUYNE

Aside from goalscorer, Muller has taken on something of a new role under Flick: that of playmaker.

Flick seems to have remembered Muller's qualities from their time working together at international level and embraced them. In short, Bayern's best football now goes through their number 10.

Under Flick, Muller is averaging just over 70 touches per 90 minutes, a higher number than he has recorded under any other Bayern coach. His goal-involvement average stands at one every 66 minutes – a personal best in the Bundesliga by far.

Muller's distribution seems to be getting better, too. He has completed 79 per cent of his passes under Flick, created close to four chances per 90 minutes on average, and 1.3 certified 'big chances'. Louis van Gaal, Jupp Heynckes, Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti – none of them could get Muller to reach these numbers.

It tallies, then, that Muller is enjoying his best season for Bundesliga assists. His 17 in the first 27 matchdays has only ever been achieved once, by Kevin De Bruyne for Wolfsburg in 2014-15.

Another four assists in the remaining seven games will see Muller eclipse the Belgium star's Bundesliga record of 20 for a whole season. That would be a remarkable number to reach for a forward who doesn't take set-pieces.

Then again, Muller is no ordinary player.

Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre is expecting Jadon Sancho and Mats Hummels to be involved in Tuesday's Klassiker against Bayern Munich, while Axel Witsel could also be in the squad.

Dortmund host Bayern in a potentially vital match for the title race, with Favre's side heading into the clash four points adrift of the pacesetters.

Both sides have resumed their Bundesliga campaigns following the coronavirus-enforced hiatus with a pair of wins – Dortmund beating rivals Schalke and Wolfsburg, while Bayern eased past Union Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt.

Favre has had to contend with injury problems since the resumption, however. Sancho has only been fit enough to make two substitute appearances, Hummels was withdrawn halfway through Saturday's 2-0 win over Wolfsburg with an Achilles issue and Witsel has missed the past two fixtures with a muscular problem.

But there is a chance all three could take part in some capacity.

"I think Mats Hummels will be okay to play. I can't say for sure, but I'm 99 per cent [sure] he will be on the pitch," Favre said.

"Axel Witsel started to train with the team yesterday [Sunday]. He could be in the squad.

"Jadon was lacking training. He has now been training with the squad for 10 days. He played 20 minutes against Schalke and a little more against Wolfsburg. He did well. He is getting there slowly.

"He did well in training and slowly but steadily gets back to his old level. He is getting there, I don’t see a problem – we'll see."

Bayern warmed up for the trip to Dortmund with an entertaining 5-2 win over Frankfurt – Thomas Muller and Alphonso Davies catching the eye in particular for Die Roten.

Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick lauded David Alaba's performance in a 5-2 Bundesliga win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

Usually a left-back, Alaba continues to impress in the centre of defence for Bayern, who are four points clear at the top.

While Martin Hinteregger's double brought Eintracht back from 3-0 to 3-2 early in the second half, Bayern claimed an eighth consecutive win in all competitions.

Flick was satisfied with Bayern's display, but he had special praise for Alaba – and goalscorer Thomas Muller.

"I was very satisfied with the first half. We were very concentrated. We made a lot of chances to score," he told a news conference.

"Unfortunately, we did not score enough goals. You just have to say that. There could have been even more goals. We also didn't allow our opponents any chances.

"You can also highlight two players. One is Thomas Muller, who plays very intelligently and occupies the space well. But then, of course, there's the head of defence, David Alaba, especially in the first half he played outstandingly. I'd just like to say that here.

"In the second half we let the opponent come back. There we were careless in the five, 10 minutes … we must defend better and more consistently. We knew that this is a great strength of Frankfurt. We allowed them to score two goals, unfortunately.

"But the reaction afterwards was good and I liked it. Then we tried to score again. And then we could decide the game with the fourth and fifth goals."

Leon Goretzka, Muller, Robert Lewandowski and Alphonso Davies were also on the scoresheet for Bayern to go with a Hinteregger own goal.

Bayern are next in action in Der Klassiker, facing Borussia Dortmund in a top-of-the-table clash on Tuesday.

Bayern Munich can make a fool of you. Ask Niko Kovac.

How, for instance, did he lead Bayern to a 5-1 defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt back in November?

Kovac, who was head coach of Frankfurt before landing the Bayern job, cleared his desk at Sabener Strasse shortly after that aberration and would have been forgiven for giving Saturday's rematch a swerve.

What he missed in the battle of his former teams was a sometimes confusing 90 minutes, and further proof that Bayern can make one feel a fool.

At the 50-minute mark, they looked an unstoppable force, 3-0 to the good against a Frankfurt side who had lost four Bundesliga games in a row before arriving at the Allianz Arena.

Leon Goretzka, Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski punished increasingly feeble defending, and Bayern were rampant. It would have been easy to lionise them at that point.

Tuesday's Klassiker clash with Borussia Dortmund looked like a fixture they could tackle without any questions asked over their levels since the league resumed.

Enter Frankfurt's Martin Hinteregger, whose most memorable involvement to that point had been landing an accidental blow that caught Lewandowski near the eye.

In the space of three minutes, he twice embarrassed Bayern's defence, first when allowed far too much space on the edge of the six-yard box to bundle beyond Manuel Neuer, and then when he jumped between a gang of red shirts to head home a corner.

Game on? Not really. Order was restored as Alphonso Davies danced through a dithering Frankfurt defence for a gift of a fourth Bayern goal.

And then came another reminder of how Bayern can make even a towering footballer cringe, as Hinteregger made it onto the scoresheet for the third time in the half, albeit this time at the wrong end.

Attempting some clever footwork to fend off another Bayern raid, he contrived to trickle the ball into an empty net with some of the ditsiest defending seen this side of Djimi Traore.

Bayern finished up with five goals and have beaten Frankfurt 11 times in a row at home now, while Eintracht have now lost 10 of 13 away games in the Bundesliga this term.

Their coach, Adi Hutter, had the bragging rights in November but might now be fearing for his job.

Dortmund will analyse Bayern's performance and search for conclusions, noting those moments of vulnerability that Frankfurt exploited. There were weaknesses to be found, but it would not seem prudent to read too much into those.

The logical conclusion is that Bayern switched off, believing the game to be already won, and will be far more wary of Dortmund from the first to the last whistle at Signal Iduna Park.

So four points separate the top two again, with the Hansi Flick revolution at Bayern still sweeping all aside in Germany, regardless of the odd bump in the road.

Dortmund might take some heart from the cracks in Bayern's backline, but equally Muller and Lewandowski looked primed to exploit any weakness in any side, any day of the week. Tuesday? They can do Tuesday.

Five goals and a mid-match nap was not a bad primer for the biggest match of the Bundesliga season.

Borussia Dortmund are hoping Mats Hummels will recover from an Achilles problem to take on former club Bayern Munich on Tuesday, but Lucien Favre revealed Jadon Sancho is not guaranteed to start.

Hummels had to be withdrawn at half-time in Dortmund's 2-0 win over Wolfsburg on Saturday, as Emre Can made his return from the bench.

BVB sporting director Michael Zorc later revealed the World Cup winner was suffering with a long-standing issue.

Dortmund face defending Bundesliga champions and leaders Bayern at Signal Iduna Park in midweek.

Zorc said of Hummels, who spent three seasons at Bayern before returning to Dortmund: "I spoke briefly to the doctor. Mats has a complaint with his Achilles tendon.

"He has had this from training for a long time. But we hope that he can play again on Tuesday."

Head coach Favre added: "I can't tell if he will play or not. I hope that he will be back on Tuesday."

Sancho's involvement in the crunch top-of-the-table clash is also in some doubt despite an impressive cameo at Wolfsburg.

The England winger earned his 16th assist of the season as he teed up Achraf Hakimi for the second goal, adding to the in-form Raphael Guerreiro's first-half opener.

But Sancho was again only appearing from the bench, as he had against Schalke, following a calf injury upon his return from the coronavirus-enforced break.

Any assumptions Sancho was simply being rested in order to start against Bayern were seemingly dismissed by Favre.

"He's only been training with the team for 10 days. That is not much," Favre said. "I can't say for sure if he will play on Tuesday."

On the day it was announced that Mario Gotze will be leaving Borussia Dortmund again, it was Erling Haaland who played the role of forgotten man in a 2-0 win at Wolfsburg.

It's the stunning rise of players such as Haaland that has brought Gotze's second spell at his boyhood club to an end. Last time, he was leaving for Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich; seven years on, nobody is sure of his next move.

He does not suit the flowing 3-4-3 in which Haaland, Jadon Sancho, Thorgan Hazard and Julian Brandt are thriving - head coach Lucien Favre admitted as much on Friday. While not exactly a relic at 27, Gotze needs a new lease of life in fresh pastures. His career has drifted for too long for a player of his talent.

Sitting as an unused substitute on Saturday, he might have sympathised as Dortmund's latest young superstar went missing.

Between joining from Salzburg in January and facing Wolfsburg this weekend, Haaland had scored 10 goals in six starts in the Bundesliga. His latest came in last week's 4-0 derby of thrashing of Schalke, in which he set up Raphael Guerreiro for the fourth. The 19-year-old has been in Germany barely five months and is already in high demand, lined up for a move to Real Madrid and touted as the heir to Brazil great Ronaldo.

All this made his performance against Wolfsburg surprising. He managed 29 touches, only one more than goalkeeper Roman Burki, won under half of his duels and lost possession nine times. His 20 attempted passes was the lowest number of any outfield player to start the match bar Daniel Ginczek, who was withdrawn after 64 minutes.

The explosive turn of pace, the power with which he can make defenders look amateurish, was not there. He was closed down, eased off the ball and tripping over too easily against Wolfsburg centre-backs John Brooks and Marin Pongracic, who pushed high to keep him far from goal. They didn't exactly bully Haaland, but he might want to check if they at least pilfered his lunch money.

He still managed to play his part in the opening goal, despite his best efforts. The Dortmund right flank was their best avenue throughout and it was from there that Brandt, Achraf Hakimi and Hazard combined, the latter given space to cut the ball back across the box. Haaland stepped, turned and swung his foot, missed the ball completely, and thumped down on his backside, giving Guerreiro a tap-in.

Dortmund's lead was comfortable, but largely by virtue of Wolfsburg's tepid early efforts. After half-time, Oliver Glasner got his side playing the sort of football that had set them on a seven-game unbeaten league run. Renato Steffen should have scored when he bustled his way into space, beat Burki but only found the crossbar, and his compatriot did well to parry a second effort from 25 yards out that swerved dangerously towards the left-hand post.

In the end, Dortmund only made the win safe as Wolfsburg went for broke, with substitute Sancho racing away on the break and teeing up Hakimi to bury the second. Haaland had a half-chance for a third, but it petered out when he stood on the ball and watched it run for a goal kick.

Strikers are, by their nature, often isolated figures, and Haaland has set such extraordinarily high standards that he's allowed an off-day, particularly in what was only the second game back after a substantial break caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Yet Dortmund will hope for a sharper display in Tuesday's Klassiker. Whether you're playing for or against Bayern, anonymity is never tolerated. Gotze can attest to that.

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge revealed the Bundesliga champions have not activated their purchase option for Philippe Coutinho and the clause has now expired.

Coutinho joined Bayern on a season-long loan deal from LaLiga holders Barcelona at the start of the 2019-20 campaign but he has struggled to establish himself in Munich.

The Brazil international arrived with the option to buy for €120million but Bayern have opted not to exercise the deal, though Rummenigge did not close the door on Coutinho.

"The option expired and we haven't activated it," Rummenigge told German magazine Der Spiegel.

"We're going to plan our squad for next season and we'll see if he still has a role to play with us or not."

Coutinho has failed to live up to the hype since swapping Liverpool for Barca in a blockbuster transfer in 2018.

The 27-year-old has scored eight goals and set up another six goals in 22 Bundesliga matches for Bayern this season, which has been disrupted by coronavirus.

As Bayern reportedly eye Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz and Manchester City's Leroy Sane, Coutinho does not appear to be at the top of the club's list.

Manuel Neuer wants to captain Bayern Munich until 2023 and is hoping to lead them out in a home Champions League final at the Allianz Arena in 2022.

The Bayern goalkeeper and skipper on Wednesday signed an extension to a contract that was due to expire at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

He is now tied to Bayern until 2023, though he will have added competition from next season, when Alexander Nubel will join from Neuer's former club Schalke.

However, Neuer clearly has designs on retaining his place as number one between the posts and wants to keep the armband for the duration of his deal.

"I am convinced by our team and the whole club and I am sure we will be playing successful football throughout the coming years," he told club media. 

"Of course, we have some goals we can reach within this current season. We have a good team for the next few years and it is a lot of fun working for FC Bayern, also as captain. This is also my job and I want to continue until 2023."

Bayern lead the Bundesliga - which resumed last weekend having been suspended since March because of the coronavirus pandemic - by four points.

They are also in the DFB-Pokal semi-finals and hold a 3-0 lead over Chelsea from the first leg in the Champions League last 16.

Neuer is hopeful Bayern can complete the treble and has an eye on May 2022, when the Champions League final comes to his home stadium 10 years after their penalty shoot-out defeat to Chelsea on the same stage at the same venue.

"You start every year from the beginning of course wanting to win it all. There is now the championship to win this year and we are still in every competition," he added.

"But right now it is a different situation for us and everyone has to adjust to the current situation, not only us football players.

"One of our big goals for the next few years is definitely having the chance to play a home Champions League final, like we did in 2012. 2022 will be another European final in Munich, which is a great incentive for me and the whole team.

"It would be a dream for us all to be able to reach this final at home."

Eintracht Frankfurt coach Adi Hutter has denied talk of a "crisis" at the club ahead of their trip to Bayern Munich, but is urging his players to begin performing on the pitch like they do in training amid an unsatisfactory season.

Frankfurt resumed their 2019-20 campaign last Saturday with a 3-1 defeat at home to Borussia Monchengladbach, who rarely appeared in any danger of dropping points – Andre Silva's consolation coming nine minutes from time with the visitors 3-0 up.

The result saw them pick up from where they left off before the coronavirus-enforced suspension, as they had lost back-to-back matches against Bayer Leverkusen and Basel, conceding seven goals in the process.

It will not be any easier this weekend when they go to pacesetters Bayern, who were easy 2-0 winners at Union Berlin last time out, but Hutter was keen to steer away from talk of a crisis with Frankfurt five points above the relegation play-off spot.

"We are not satisfied, the game against Gladbach showed us what we have to improve, but it went according to the season," he told reporters on Friday. "I'm not talking about a crisis, I'm talking about a team that trains hard. There are no nuances.

"I don't think about the result, but about the fact that the team does what it showed in training: to be compact. We need the conviction that we can perform well. Then there is a surprise in it.

"Bayern are the measure of all things in football – the benchmark. They're the clear favourite for the championship, the ultimate in German football.

"If our performance isn't right, it could be very uncomfortable. We have to get through the initial phase and remain highly concentrated. This applies especially to the duels, but also the forward game.

"Bayern are tactically flexible, appear homogeneous and variable with good counter-pressing. That was already the case with Niko Kovac, who, like Hansi Flick, did an outstanding job.

"They don't have many weak points. They not only have great individual players, they also harmonise well within the team and are broadly positioned everywhere on the pitch."

Victory for 13th-placed Frankfurt could take them up to 11th, but Bayern's win at Union extended their unbeaten run in the Bundesliga to 12 matches and they are four points clear at the top of the table.

Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre is not giving up on Marco Reus playing again this season despite reports claiming his 2019-20 campaign is already over.

Reus suffered a groin injury during a DFB-Pokal match in February, and although he was only thought to be facing a month out, the 30-year-old still has not been able to return to full training.

It was reported earlier in the week that Reus will definitely miss next Tuesday's Klassiker against Bayern Munich, and an absence until the end of the season is likely.

Favre, speaking ahead of Saturday's trip to Wolfsburg, refused to openly confirm or contradict those claims, though he did appear hopeful that Reus would be able to feature again this term as Dortmund challenge Bayern for the Bundesliga title.

"He hasn't trained with the team yet," Favre told reporters.

"We hope that he will come back as soon as possible and can help us until the end of the season."

There was positive news with respect to Emre Can and Giovanni Reyna. The midfield pair missed the 4-0 win over Schalke as Dortmund resumed their season last Saturday, and they are due to be involved in team training on Friday.

Dortmund have had to contend with numerous injuries of late, with Axel Witsel still out with a muscular problem and Dan-Axel Zagadou set for a long absence due to a knee ligament injury, but Favre feels such issues were to be expected following the coronavirus-enforced pause.

"We trained first in groups of two, then in groups of four. There is a certain danger," he said. "We all did not train normally and then had to train properly four or five days before a championship game, duels. This is not a big surprise for me."

Erling Haaland has a chance to create more Bundesliga history when Borussia Dortmund take on Wolfsburg on Saturday.

Cologne's Mark Uth is another striker on a strong run who will be hoping to help his team pick up a victory over relegation-threatened Fortuna Dusseldorf, while Kai Havertz will be out to maintain his impressive second half of the season.

Bayern remained four points clear at the summit following a victory over Union Berlin on the league's return from a two-month coronavirus stoppage last weekend and are up against Eintracht Frankfurt.

RB Leipzig fell further off the pace and would no doubt welcome a repeat of their Timo Werner-inspired 8-0 thrashing of Mainz from earlier this season when the pair meet again on Sunday.

Ahead of the next round of Bundesliga fixtures, we bring you the best Opta Facts.

FRIDAY
Hertha Berlin v Union Berlin
- Hertha lost 1-0 in the previous meeting in November 2019, which was the first time the two clubs faced each other in the Bundesliga. Hertha have never lost two Berlin derbies in a row in professional football.
- Union have won two of their past three Bundesliga away games (2-0 against Werder Bremen and 2-1 against Eintracht Frankfurt), picking up more wins and points than in their first 10 top-flight away matches this season (one win, five points).

SATURDAY
Borussia Monchengladbach v Bayer Leverkusen
- Leverkusen have lost each of their last three Bundesliga games against Gladbach – they only ever lost four in a row against the Foals across 1980 and 1981.
- Havertz has recorded 10 of his 13 Bundesliga goal involvements this season in the Ruckrunde. He has had a hand in at least one goal in each of his last five top-flight games (four goals, three assists).

Wolfsburg v Borussia Dortmund
- Wolfsburg have only taken one point from their past nine Bundesliga games against Dortmund – a goalless draw at Signal Iduna Park in January 2018.
- Haaland needed just nine games for his first 10 Bundesliga goals – only Paco Alcacer and Gert Dorfel required fewer matches (both eight). Haaland will equal the top-flight's record with an 11th goal in his 10th outing.

Freiburg v Werder Bremen
- Bremen have a higher winning percentage (56 per cent) and average more goals per game (2.2) against Freiburg than they do against any other current Bundesliga side.
- Werder's 18 points from 25 games represents their worst Bundesliga season. In league history, all of the 37 teams that have had 18 points or fewer after 25 games have been relegated.

Paderborn v Hoffenheim
- Paderborn have failed to score in all five of their competitive matches against Hoffenheim – they have only ever endured a longer barren streak in professional football against Kaiserslautern (six games between 2006 and 2010).
- Paderborn are six points behind 16th-place Fortuna Dusseldorf. Since the introduction of the three-points-per-win rule in 1995-96, no Bundesliga team has made up such a deficit after 26 games.

Bayern Munich v Eintracht Frankfurt
- Bayern have won each of their last 10 Bundesliga home games against Frankfurt – their longest winning run at home to any current top-flight side.
- Frankfurt are the weakest team away from home in the Bundesliga this season, picking up just seven points. They have lost nine of their 12 away games this term and have yet to keep a clean sheet on the road.

SUNDAY
Schalke v Augsburg

- Schalke have scored just two goals in their past eight Bundesliga games, fewer than any other side in this time frame. They have equalled a negative club record from 1965-66 with just four goals in nine Ruckrunde games.
- Augsburg's Florian Niederlechner has scored four goals in six Bundesliga games against Schalke – more than he has netted against any other top-flight team.

Mainz v RB Leipzig
- At least three goals have been scored in each of the seven Bundesliga meetings between Mainz and Leipzig.
- Mainz have 27 points and a goal difference of -19, which represents their second-worst Bundesliga campaign at this stage – they were only worse off after 26 games in 2017-18 (25 points).

Cologne v Fortuna Dusseldorf
- It has been nearly 31 years since Dusseldorf's last win away to Cologne in the Bundesliga - they celebrated a 3-1 victory in October 1989.
- Uth has had a hand in a goal in each of his eight Bundesliga games for Cologne (five goals, four assists); his longest such run in the competition.

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