Key Bundesliga fixtures: Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund, more – ESPN

Roughly five weeks after Bayern Munich bagged their 32nd German championship on a dramatic final matchday, the countdown to the 2023-24 Bundesliga season has begun with the release of the fixture list for the upcoming campaign.
Bayern are set to defend their title once again, as Borussia Dortmund are eager to take revenge for coming up short in the closest championship race in more than a decade. The Bundesliga has seen two of its biggest stars in Jude Bellingham and Christopher Nkunku leave this summer — for Real Madrid and Chelsea, respectively — but the league will continue to enjoy exciting youngsters such as Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz creating special moments, with Musiala being among the favourites for this year’s Golden Boy award.
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The two promoted sides, SV Darmstadt 98 and 1. FC Heidenheim, are relatively unknown on a first-division level. It will be Darmstadt’s fifth season in the Bundesliga after short-lived stints in the ’70s, ’80s and from 2015 to 2017, while Heidenheim will play their first-ever Bundesliga season and may test the geographical knowledge of away fans. The 50,000-population city is located roughly halfway between Munich and Stuttgart.
With the fixtures now published, here are the matches you certainly do not want to miss.

Just like every year in recent memory, the champions will open the season on a — hopefully beautiful — Friday night. This time, Bayern travel to Werder Bremen on Aug. 18 to start the first matchday. The identical matchup was played in early May, with Bayern winning 2-1 at Bremen’s Weserstadion.
While Bayern are clear favourites once again, opening matchdays can be tricky as many teams still need to build chemistry and iron out tactical setups before everything works smoothly. Bayern have the advantage in that they will face RB Leipzig in the German Super Cup on Aug. 12 and can test how competitive they are against one of the strongest sides in Germany.
What is already certain is that Bayern will meet a changed Werder team, as the club made the shock signing of Naby Keita in June, reinforcing their central midfield. There are doubts, however, as to whether the successful striker duo consisting of Niclas Füllkrug and Marvin Ducksch will still be wearing Werder jerseys come Matchday 1.

The first clash between two probable title contenders takes place on Matchday 6, as Bayern travel to Leipzig, who beat the champions on the second-to-last matchday of the 2022-23 season, putting the Bavarians’ title hopes in jeopardy. All eyes will be on Konrad Laimer, who has just moved from Leipzig to Bayern on a free transfer and will be eager to start against his former colleagues at Leipzig’s Red Bull Arena. Bayern have won seven out of 14 league games against Leipzig, with the Red Bull-backed club only winning twice, including the game in May.

As in every season, the two games between these teams will be the undisputed highlights during the Bundesliga campaign, attracting viewers from around the world. This time, the clash on Nov. 4 has even bigger implications with Dortmund probably still feeling heartbroken about the way they lost the 2022-23 title. Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park will be packed and buzzing when the home team go toe-to-toe with an ever-so-confident Bayern. Depending on the league table after nine matchdays, this game may also be for the Bundesliga lead.

The return game between the two Bundesliga giants will take place at Allianz Arena on March 31. Given how previous seasons unfolded, Dortmund will hope to be still in the title race at that point and potentially even lead the league. The return game last season was on April 1, as Bayern beat Dortmund 4-2, dominating large stretches of the game on home soil.

This game between two clubs who do not necessarily like each other could potentially have championships implications, if one or either of these sides are still in the race come springtime. Leipzig have managed to gather a fan base that can produce a formidable atmosphere, as they recently showed in the German Cup final against Eintracht Frankfurt. Of seven league games at Red Bull Arena, Dortmund have won three, but they suffered a disappointing loss at Leipzig in the German Cup quarterfinals in April.







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