Borussia Dortmund will go into their top-of-the-table clash with FC Bayern Munich at Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday evening having kept a clean sheet five times during their recent six-match winning run and 12 times throughout the season.
"We were defensively solid and gave little away," said Manuel Akanji as he reflected on a run that has seen BVB win their last six games while only conceding one goal. "Sometimes it's a matter of luck." As was the case when Steffen's attempt brushed the woodwork at the start of the second half. But you make your own luck, as the saying goes.
Borussia Dortmund have made the second-best start to the second half of a season in their history, having notched 27 points – nine wins plus a narrow and unlucky 4-3 defeat in Leverkusen. Only on one previous occasion did they amass more points in the first 10 matches back (28 in 2011/12). The difference is that back then winter champions Bayern Munich picked up only 20 points from their first 10 matches back after the winter break; this time the Bavarians have 28 points, hence why they are still four points clear of the Black & Yellows at the summit.
"I don't want to speak about Bayern yet. We want to enjoy our victory today," said Lucien Favre at the virtual press conference that followed the 2-0 victory against VfL Wolfsburg. Manuel Akanji addressed Tuesday evening more directly, saying: "I hope that we can pick up our next victory. Since I've been at BVB, we've always lost to Bayern away but won at home. I want to keep that run going by winning at home." The Swiss defender helped BVB to a 3-2 home victory over FCB in the league last season, plus a 2-0 triumph in the Super Cup. "We obviously have a lot of respect for Bayern," explained Thomas Delaney. "But I'm personally really looking forward to this match. And we're in really good form." The Dane attributed that to the defensive solidity on display over the past six games.
At the other end, Jadon Sancho could be the difference-maker. While the Englishman did not start today, he did come off the bench to set up Achraf Hakimi for the second goal. "He hasn't been able to train with the team for long," reported Favre, who added in reference to Tuesday. "I think he'll be able to play for longer than he did today." (br)