Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich will resume hostilities at Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday as the Bundesliga enters its final stretch.
In what's set to be the strangest Der Klassiker in history, courtesy of the coronavirus lockdown, the course of the title race could be decided as only four points separate the two rivals ahead of the kickoff.
The Bavarians are naturally at the top of the table and could effectively seal an eight consecutive Meisterschale with a victory. However, its easier said than done against an organised and disciplined BVB side who have made a resounding return to action.
Either way, the fixture is set to be a pulsating affair with so much at stake even as fans will be absent from the stadium. Ahead of the highly anticipated kick-off, let us take a look at how the teams would look in an all-star combined XI:
Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
Manuel Neuer may no longer be the best goalkeeper in the circuit but he has certainly bounced back from the spate of injuries to revive his form and refine his credentials.
With 11 clean sheets- the most in the Bundesliga- and only 28 goals conceded, the Bayern Munich shot-stopper has been sublime this season, and at 34, he seems to be ageing like a fine wine.
Right-back: Achraf Hakimi (Borussia Dortmund)
Achraf Hakimi has shown plenty of promise since he joined Borussia Dortmund on loan from Real Madrid last season. The 21-year-old defender has successfully delivered on that promise this term and has established himself as a vital cog in the BVB set-up.
The Moroccan star has already surpassed his tally from the 2018-19 season with four goals and ten assists. He is incredibly dangerous down the right flank and his buccaneering runs and precise passing will be crucial in breaking the Bavarians open on Tuesday.
Centre-back: Manuel Akanji (Borussia Dortmund)
Manuel Akanji has fallen out of favour with Lucien Favre despite impressing in his first season in the Bundesliga last year. However, that isn't to suggest that he has underwhelmed this season in any way.
On the contrary, the Swiss international has been a solid defender for the Dortmund giants with stellar distribution skills, discipline and an average pass success rate of 91%.
Centre-back: David Alaba (Bayern Munich)
Bayern Munich's very own utility man, David Alaba has fulfilled his new responsibilities as a centre-back with flying colours. He has perfectly complimented Jerome Boateng at the heart of the Bavarian defence in the absence of the injured Niklas Sule.
The 27-year-old may not drive forward as regularly as he used to as a full-back but he still influences the proceedings with accurate passes and incredible vision. The Austrian is also the chief when it comes to deliveries in dead-ball situations and will be hoping to make a difference on Tuesday.
Left-back: Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)
Alphonso Davies has enjoyed a breakthrough year with Bayern Munich and his exploits have earned him several plaudits this season.
The defender possesses incredible speed- which has led him to be compared to sprinting legend Usain Bolt- and imperious passing skills which make him dangerous on both ends of the pitch. He has gotten involved in seven goals in 23 games for the Bavarians this term.
The Canadian's precocious dribbling qualities is another important weapon in his arsenal, something that won't be easy for Dortmund to deal with.
Midfielder: Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
Joshua Kimmich has gone from being a stellar right-back to an equally stellar central midfielder. He took no time to acclimatise to his new role and has consistently delivered over the course of this campaign.
Thanks to the 25-year-old German, the team looks more balanced in the middle of the park as he dictates the tempo with immaculate passes, averaging a 90% success rate. Despite his withdrawn role, the former RB Leipzig star has also managed to provide seven assists this season.
Left winger: Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
Widely touted to be England's next big thing, Jadon Sancho is already the most important part of Lucien Favre's side. He has attracted the interest of several European giants since his breakthrough season and has posted even greater figures this time around.
The 20-year-old has already contributed 30 goals in the league (14 strikes and 16 assists) and will be influential to Tuesday's outcome. However, Favre has raised doubts regarding the winger's start due to an ongoing calf problem.
Attacking midfielder: Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)
Thomas Muller witnessed a slight dip in form last year but has bounced back emphatically this term. He is the biggest provider with 17 assists, which is also the joint-highest in Europe's top five leagues, and with 42 chances created, he's naturally the creative chieftain too.
The Raumdeuter is enjoying some of his most productive days and will be instrumental in opening up Borussia Dortmund with his intelligent movements, spatial awareness, and of course, top-notch passes.
Right-winger: Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich)
Ever since he returned to the Bundesliga in 2016 following failed stints in the Premier League, Serge Gnabry has transformed himself into one of the best players in the Bundesliga. This season, he has taken his development to the next level and looks more devastating than he's ever been.
The 24-year-old has forged a menacing alliance with Robert Lewandowski and struck 11 goals whilst also contributing 10 assists. He has also stepped up to the plate in big games and will likely play a pivotal role in Tuesday's clash against Borussia Dortmund.
Striker: Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
Erling Braut Haaland has left little to the imagination with clutch performances ever since he burst onto the scene at RB Salzburg. The 19-year old prodigy has already racked up 10 league goals from as many appearances. He was slightly out of tune in last weekend's victory against Wolfsburg and the Klassiker will be the true test of his mettle and character.
Striker: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Robert Lewandowski has exhausted every superlative in the dictionary with his performances this season. He scored in each of the 11 opening games to set a new record en route to hitting his current tally of 27 goals, including a goal in each of two games since Bundesliga reconvened.
The Polish talisman has been on target in each of the last six Klassiker games in the Bundesliga and his track record against BVB is predictably impressive, with 18 goals from 19 games.Published 25 May 2020, 16:18 IST