Dortmund can hope for three returnees ahead of their top-of-the-table clash with designated champions Bayern Munich.

FC Bayern will certainly no longer pass as Dortmund’s favourite opponent, the recent history of direct duels is too sinister. BVB lost nine of the most recent ten league games against FCB with one victory and conceded 35 goals – an average of 3.5 per game. Dortmund lost all six of their most recent matches – no other club is currently on such a losing streak. In fact, only against Hamburg (seven games from 1982 to 1985) was there a longer losing streak. This negative record is to be avoided as far as possible on Saturday.

The recent 6:1 home win against VfL Wolfsburg should give them a boost, as it was one of their best performances of the season. Especially the playful double ten with Marco Reus and Julian Brandt and top Erling Haaland set off real fireworks. It is quite possible that coach Marco Rose will again start against Munich in a formation similar to the 3-2-4-1, possibly with somewhat more defensively oriented wing-backs.

The coach even has a luxury problem on the left side, as regular Raphael Guerreiro, whose strengths come into their own in front of a three-man defence, resumed team training on Tuesday and should be fit for the classic. In his position, however, youngster Tom Rothe (17) was convincing last weekend, and his sparkling Bundesliga debut was crowned by a header. Against the record champions, however, Rose is likely to rely on the experienced European champion from Portugal.

Hope for Hazard – moment of shock for Kobel

In the case of Thorgan Hazard (after muscular problems in his back), there is hope that he will also make it back into the squad, even though the Belgian was still absent from the pitch on Tuesday. Felix Passlack (also muscular problems) is back in training. Donyell Malen’s tendon injury seems to be dragging on, though, so his chances of playing are not good at the moment. Mats Hummels and Mahmoud Dahoud will certainly be absent.

Meanwhile, keeper Gregor Kobel, who also played a decisive role in the win against Wolfsburg on Saturday, had a minor scare: the Swiss had to end the session early. It was still unclear on Wednesday morning whether he was questionable for the summit meeting because of this.

Two players not (yet) employed by BVB have also been headline news in recent days: Nico Schlotterbeck and Karim Adeyemi. Dortmund has long been interested in both of these professionals, but decisive negotiations are still pending for both. As in the case of Erling Haaland, a decision in the near future would be surprising.