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Bayern Munich Closes in on Bundesliga Title Entering Der Klassiker vs. Dortmund

The Bundesliga champions are closing in on another league title, but their bitter rivals will hope to postpone the celebration at Allianz Arena.
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Bayern Munich will host Borussia Dortmund for the second time this campaign on Saturday in the 2017/18 season's third installment of Der Klassiker.

The Bavarians have already tasted victory over Dortmund in the Bundesliga and DFB Pokal this season, two results which have them on course to win a domestic double this year.

Three points are vital for Borussia Dortmund if they want to bolster their chances of qualifying for the Champions League next season, while Bayern could be crowned German champions for a sixth consecutive year with a result this weekend - depending on how Schalke 04 get on against SC Freiburg.

Here's everything you need to know about this highly anticipated Der Klassiker.

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Classic Encounter

Borussia Dortmund haven't won at the Allianz Arena - in the Bundesliga at least - since the 2013/14 season, where two of the best managers currently in the Premier League squared off in Bavaria.

Jürgen Klopp's fairly impressive career record against Pep Guardiola received a huge boost when his Dortmund side secured a 3-0 win over the Spaniard's Bayern Munich.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan's goal just after the 20-minute mark had Die Schwarzgelben in front at half time and when Bayern's Manuel Neuer was replaced by Lukas Raeder at the break, their lead was soon doubled by Marco Reus. 

The game was put well beyond Bayern's reach when Jonas Hoffman found the back of the net late on and things only got worse for Guardiola's side when Rafinha was needlessly sent off for violent conduct in the 91st minute.

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Key Battle

Javi Martínez vs Mario Götze

Two former Bayern Munich teammates will meet this weekend in opposite colors, with both Javi Martínez and Mario Götze having the potential of winning Der Klassiker for their respective sides.

Bayern's Martínez is more commonly known across Europe as a center back, but the Spaniard is often deployed by Jupp Heynckes as a defensive midfielder. The former Valencia star has been one of Bayern's most important players in big games and he will be vital in the Bavarians attempts at stopping Dortmund's creativity.

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For Saturday's visitors, all eyes will be on Götze to be the difference at his former home. To say the World Cup-winning midfielder has had a turbulent career would be putting it mildly - going from academy wonderkid to Bayern flop, then overcoming a career-threatening illness all by the age of just 25.

But Götze is once again finding his feet in Dortmund colors and has arguably been one of their most important players this season.

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Team News

Borussia Dortmund manager Peter Stöger confirmed that star man Marco Reus was a "doubt" for the game on Saturday, dealing the travelling side a hammer blow to their attacking threat.

Dan-Axel Zagadou and Shinji Kagawa could also be missing for Dortmund this weekend, as well as long-term absentees Sebastian Rode and Erik Durm.

For Bayern, Manuel Neuer and Kingsley Coman are the only senior players that are expected to be forced out of action at the Allianz Arena.

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Potential Bayern Munich Starting Lineup: Ulreich, Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Alaba, Martínez, Vidal, Müller, Robben, Ribéry, Lewandowski.

Potential Borussia Dortmund Starting Lineup: Bürki, Piszczek, Akanji, Toprak, Schmelzer, Weigl, Dahoud, Götze, Pulisic, Schürrle, Batshuayi.

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Despite the arrival of Michy Batshuayi giving Dortmund a huge boost since the turn of the year, the beloved Black and Yellows are still far from reaching the standards they set under Jürgen Klopp.

Realistically, the best outcome for Dortmund is that their bitter rivals Schalke 04 win at the Veltins-Arena this weekend - thus making it impossible for Bayern to be crowned as Bundesliga champions in Saturday's late kickoff.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-1 Borussia Dortmund