Borussia Dortmund ride a wave of confidence entering the mammoth weekend duel against FC Bayern München. A string of four straight victories on the bounce would appear to indicate that the BVB might be capable of snapping a three-game losing streak against Germany's Bavarian giants in what foreign media sources refer to as "Der Klassiker".
The personnel available to trainer Lucien Favre in the match will obviously make a huge difference.
If one looks at the last three times Dortmund and Bayern met in the Bundesliga, the Schwarzgelben have lost all three encounters by a combined 0-10 scoreline. While the BVB have played competitive fixtures against the record German Champions in the last two DFL Super Cups, they've not beaten their direct rivals in the Bundesliga since November of 2018.
Should Lucien Favre & Co. wish to hold onto any hope of reversing the trend, the NRW-club will obviously need its best defensive actors on the pitch. At a Friday press conference, Favre could only confirm that Mats Hummels and Emré Can remain questionable ahead of the crucial clash.
A decision on Hummels will not be made until tomorrow. The talismanic 31-year-old "defensive quarterback" continues to be hampered by the thigh injury that saw him substituted off last weekend and later ruled out of the midweek Champions League clash against Brugge.
Can, who has solely been deployed at center-back this season, continues to recover from a bout with COVID-19. While many footballers infected with the novel virus have been asymptomatic or endured short spells of sickness, Can's case remained serious enough to keep him sidelined for two weeks. The 26-year-old German national team star only resumed training on Wednesday and it is unclear as to whether he will be fit in time for Saturday's showdown.
Favre provided updates on the two players, yet emphasized that the team's prospects are not inextricably linked with the makeup of his defense.
"We always talk about the defense, but [in this instance] it's important that the entire team defends together," Favre noted, "[against Bayern] everyone will be defending. That's the important thing."