Dortmund-Bayern Bundesliga title fight unmatched in Europe

It’s often said that the German language has a compound word for absolutely everything, and of course that maxim applies to the scenario we have in store for us on Saturday.

Word “Fernando“(a long-distance duel) is a universally understood concept in Germany. It is a contest involving two teams competing for the same thing and playing at the same time but in different places. Perhaps the English language should just adopt the word as it did with Gegenpressing since no exact equivalent exists!

Saturdays Fernando promises to live up to the excitement that Bundesliga fans have had for weeks now. The events of the past weekend, with Bayern Munich losing 3-1 at home to a highly motivated RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund dealing with FC Augsburg 3-0 away in the Fuggerstadt, mean that BVB holds the cards – again. With just one game remaining, Dortmund will be crowned champions with a victory, while a defeat or a draw will open the door to an 11th consecutive crown for Bayern.

– Dortmund-Mainz, Saturday at 9:30 a.m. ET, ESPN+
– Cologne-Bayern, Saturday at 9:30 a.m. ET, ESPN+
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (US)

Since March, the pendulum has swung almost violently between the two German greats, with neither side able to walk away from the other, with both experiencing ups and downs and levels of anticipation generally off the charts. . There have been eight changes at the top of the Bundesliga table this season, with those two positions swapped four times in the past nine weeks.

No other top league has been able to offer this level of uncertainty and unpredictability. Sorry, Premier League fans who insist on telling me that fascinating things are happening in this league. It’s not even close to that term.

Commenting for the global stream of the Bundesliga last week in Munich, even when Bayern took the lead against Leipzig through Serge Gnabry, I doubted in my mind that this was a harbinger of a crucial victory to come for THE rekordmeister. On the air, I almost unconsciously added the qualifier “maybe” to the question, “another step towards MeisterschaleBayern were the better side for 30 minutes but the wobbles crept in afterwards, conceding a pair of penalties and a logic-defying four-on-one counterattack that led to the visitors’ first goal. Leipzig , who needed a win to secure Champions League football, earned their first-ever triumph at the Allianz Arena against the Bavarians.

The next day, 60 miles along the highway, Dortmund, backed by loud and spirited away support, had to wait 58 minutes for their first goal. This despite a season-high 17 first-half attempts, playing with a one-man advantage from the 38th minute.

That they were twice denied by aluminum (what English speakers call “carpentry”) only added to the general jitters. But Sebastien Haller’s strike to give the visitors a 1-0 lead calmed everyone down, and it was no surprise when he scored a second before Julian Brandt ended the game.

Dortmund are now just 90 minutes away from their first Meisterschale in 11 years of yawning. At one level, the Schwarzgelben, who will host Mainz on Saturday (9:30 a.m. ET, live stream on ESPN+) in front of a crowd of 81,000 at Signal Iduna Park, don’t worry at all about what Bayern are doing at the same time at FC Cologne (live stream on ESPN+). A BVB win will make that irrelevant. However, imagine if Bayern score first and then add a goal or two before BVB manage to come out on top. Or if Dortmund falls behind Mainz.

It’s the Fernando stress in all its glory. Dortmund and Bayern may be on different grounds this weekend, but mentally, psychologically, it’s still a two-man race for the crown. Expect multiple airings on shows from the Blitztabelle (the live table, as it is,).

BVB are undoubtedly the favorites to win the title now, and it feels a bit like 2002 to me. That year, the Schwarzgelben caught up with longtime leaders Bayer Leverkusen on the penultimate matchday, when the Worker lost in Nuremberg and Dortmund won in Hamburg.

Then on the final day, with Dortmund in charge at home against Werder Bremen, there was nervousness as they fell behind while Leverkusen came ahead. It all came together in the 74th minute, with Brazilian striker Ewerthon, who had just come on, scoring the decisive goal of the season. BVB finished one point ahead of Leverkusen.

Bayern fans could hang their hats on what happened a year earlier, Patrik Andersson’s infamous afternoon. Schalke 04, who had beaten Unterhaching, were voted champions for four minutes with the game over and everyone in Gelsenkirch waiting to see if Bayern, losing 1-0 at Hamburg well before stoppage time, would give them the Meisterschale.

However, Andersson’s 94th-minute indirect free kick burst Schalke’s bubble, entering Bayern and Bundesliga folklore and securing a 17th league title for the Bavarian giants.

Saturday will be devoted to pure emotion. Dortmund manager Edin Terzic summed it up nicely by saying that while his players are very well paid and can buy a new house or a new car, you can’t buy moments like this: luck to become Bundesliga champions in front of their own fans. .

Home form speaks for Dortmund. THE Schwarzgelben have, after all, picked up 11 successive Bundesliga home wins and failed to win the league at Signal Iduna Park when they drew 2-2 with Bayern on October 8.

If you think everything is now a foregone conclusion for Dortmund, just consider the remarkable trajectory of recent weeks.

I will be commentating for international viewers live from the Cologne-Bayern game and look forward to being part of a special day in Bundesliga history. I hope you can join the Fernando have fun on Saturday in an incomparable atmosphere.


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