Star strikers Robert Lewandowski and Erling Haaland square off for what could be the final time in the Bundesliga in Saturday’s top-of-the-table duel between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
Bayern Munich will win their ninth straight Bundesliga title with a win over second-placed Dortmund at the Allianz Arena in Munich.
Lewandowski can also win the Bundesliga for the tenth time, having won it in each of his eight seasons with Bayern, as well as twice with Dortmund, whom he departed in 2014.
Haaland, 21, and Lewandowski, 33, have both scored eight goals in the last six meetings, with Lewandowski scoring eight goals to Haaland’s five.
According to Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke, they are “two absolute world stars that outshine all the rest” in the Bundesliga and are “the most popular abroad.”
In a recent English-language television commercial for the Bundesliga, the two were seen playing a tense game of poker.
Haaland and Manchester City are apparently working on a different kind of arrangement, with the Norwegian star set to earn roughly £500,000 ($652,000) per week next season.
If City activates a 75 million euro release clause in his contract, he will become the highest-paid player in the Premier League.
Although Lewandowski’s contract with Bayern is set to expire in 2023, there is conjecture that he may leave.
Barcelona has been mentioned as a possible destination, with rumors of a transfer fueled by his wife Anna’s Instagram post saying she is learning Spanish.
Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn revealed last Sunday that Lewandowski is “looking about the future,” implying that he is considering leaving the club where he has won every attainable trophy.
It would be detrimental to business and interest in Germany’s top flight if Lewandowski or Haaland were to leave.
Watzke stated, “Losing stars is a significant concern for the Bundesliga.”
“We have to be careful and attempt to maintain many of the stars we still have,” he says, admitting that it’s “tough” given England’s financial pressure.
Even Bayern, Germany’s biggest team, is unable to join the battle to sign Haaland because the huge sums of money required are “quite far away from what we thought,” according to Kahn.
Dortmund is expecting to lose Haaland after losing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Jadon Sancho, and Christian Pulisic to top English teams in recent years.
“We’ll deal with it the same way we’ve always dealt with it,” Watzke stated.
“We will find someone new again.”
Player to watch: Emil Forsberg
On Wednesday, the Swedish playmaker came off the bench to score a last-gasp winner against Union Berlin, securing Leipzig’s place in the German Cup final against Freiburg on May 21.
Leipzig will play Union in a league match on Saturday to prepare for their Europa League semi-final first leg against Rangers on Thursday.
Forsberg has yet to start a Europa League game this season, but as Leipzig boss Domenico Tedesco rotates his players, he might start right away versus Union.
In 106 Bundesliga encounters between Germany’s best clubs, Bayern has 51 wins to Dortmund’s 25.
26 – the number of goals Lewandowski has scored in 25 games for Bayern against his former team, including two hat-tricks. Last December, he scored twice in Bayern’s 3-2 victory over Dortmund.
Dortmund has now lost seven consecutive games in the Bundesliga, having last defeated Bayern nearly four years ago.
Fixtures (all times 1330GMT unless stated)
Mainz vs. Wolfsburg (1830)
Union Berlin vs. Leipzig, Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Hoffenheim, Freiburg vs. Moenchengladbach, Cologne vs. Arminia Bielefeld, Greuther Fuerth vs. Bayer Leverkusen (1330), Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund (1630)
Augsburg against. Bochum, Hertha Berlin vs. Stuttgart (1530)