February has been far from plain sailing for Lucien Favre and Borussia Dortmund. Die Schwarzgelben were knocked out of the DFB Pokal by Werder Bremen and have dropped points in successive Bundesliga games for the first time this season. As of February 12th, they still hold a five-point advantage over Bayern Munich and look to be in prime position. Can they prevent the resurgent holders from regaining their crown this season?
Source: BBC Sport via Twitter
This year’s title race has been fascinating viewing for neutrals, with Dortmund taking advantage of Bayern’s early-season inconsistencies. The pair are eight points clear of third-placed Borussia Monchengladbach and it appears to be a straight shoot-out between the high-flying pair. Niko Kovac’s side are looking to secure their seventh successive Bundesliga title, but they’ve already been defeated on four occasions this campaign and were edged out in a 3-2 thriller at Signal Iduna Park on November 10th.
Dortmund have rightly been getting plenty of plaudits this season and have been a joy to watch. They are the most prolific side in the German top flight, netting 54 times in 21 games and scoring four or more goals on six separate occasions. Paco Alcacer found the net in each of his first seven matches for the club, but he’s failed to notch since December 18th and Dortmund fans will be hoping the former Barcelona man can recapture his early-season form in 2019. Jadon Sancho is another player who has caught the eye this season, but Dortmund’s troubles have largely been at the other end of the pitch. They’ve only kept one clean sheet in their first four games of this calendar year and a cavalier approach to maintaining the lead inevitably proved costly against Hoffenheim on February 9th.
Lucien Favre’s side will travel to the Allianz Arena on April 6th and it could be a potentially decisive 90 minutes. Both sides are currently 10/11 in the outright Bundesliga betting markets and it makes a refreshing change to the usually one-sided title race.
Source: Bayern Strikes via Twitter
Bayern will be boosted by the imminent return of Manuel Neuer and his vast experience could be vital in the title race. Serge Gnabry has emerged as an unlikely hero this season with the former Werder Bremen man adding some much-needed dynamism to the Bayern attack in 2019. They will be hoping to keep the pressure on the leaders, but they face a number of tricky away trips over the next couple of months. They travel to face Monchengladbach on March 2nd and Dortmund fans will be desperately hoping that Dieter Hecking’s side can take all three points at Borussia Park.
Meanwhile, Lucien Favre’s side will be hoping to avoid any more slip-ups although they may not find it straightforward against in-form Bayer Leverkusen at the end of the month.
Dortmund looked unstoppable during the first half of the campaign, but they have shown some frailties in recent weeks and fans are beginning to worry about their side’s lack of defensive nous. They started the campaign in swashbuckling fashion and their style is incredibly easy-on-the-eye, however, there is still a long way to go. If BVB are able to keep Bayern off top spot, it will be a sensational achievement and the pair look set to play their part in an absolutely fascinating finish to the 2018-19 Bundesliga campaign.