It’s only been back for two weeks but it already looks like the Bundesliga title is heading to Munich for an eight successive season after Bayern’s narrow victory over Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.
To add insult to injury, Erling Haaland went off injured midway through the second half and is a serious doubt for this weekend’s fixture against Paderborn as BVB take on the league’s bottom side.
Dortmund now have another challenge on their hands with their league title ambitions all but over. The defeat to Bayern has opened up the door to the likes of Borussia Monchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig, all of whom could snatch second place.
When Is Kick Off: Sunday 31 May
What Time Is Kick Off: 17:00 (BST)
Where Is it Played: Benteler-Arena
TV Channel/Live Stream: BT Sport (UK), fuboTV (US)
Haaland is expected to be absent for Dortmund with that knee injury sustained in the Bayern defeat..
Alongside long term absentees Dan-Axel Zagadou and Marco Reus, there are doubts over the fitness of Axel Witsel, Jadon Sancho and Mats Hummels, but all three got minutes on Tuesday without any trouble.
Paderborn have no such problems – apart from their league position – and have a fully fit squad to select from.
However, several of their players, including key midfielder Sebastian Vasiliadis, are one card away from suspension. Dortmund loanee Luca Kilian is ineligible against his parent club.
SC Paderborn: Zingerle; Jans, Strohdiek, Schonlau, Collins; Antwi-Adjei, Vasiliadis, Gjasula, Holtmann; Mamba, Srbeny.
Borussia Dortmund: Burki; Piszczek, Hummels, Akanji; Hakimi, Witsel, Dahoud, Guerreiro; Hazard, Brandt, Sancho.
The sides have met five times competitively previously, with Dortmund victorious on three occasions, while Paderborn have failed to win any. However, they have held BVB to draws on two occasions, including their most recent encounter in November of last year.
Paderborn should have won the tie after taking a staggering 3-0 lead by half time, including a brace from young striker Streli Mamba, but an incredible comeback from Die Borussen, featuring a stoppage time equaliser from Marco Reus, ensured the points were shared.
Steffen Baumgart’s Paderborn have won just four games all season and, barring a miracle, look set to drop into Germany’s second tier.
However, since the Bundesliga resumed they have been far more secure at the back and, despite not scoring many, have managed to grind out three successive draws, including an impressive display against European contenders Hoffenheim.
Dortmund have had another impressive campaign and finally looked up to the challenge of usurping Bayern at the top of the table, but Tuesday’s result renders that possibility highly unlikely.
Their last league defeat before Tuesday’s was at the beginning of February to Bayer Leverkusen in a thrilling encounter at the BayArena, so it is hard to envision them being too troubled on this occasion by the Bundesliga’s second lowest goalscorers.
Both sides’ recent league form is below.
Augsburg 0-0 Paderborn (27/5)
Paderborn 1-1 Hoffenheim (23/5)
Fortuna Dusseldorf 0-0 Paderborn (16/5)
Paderborn 1-2 FC Koln (6/3)
Mainz 2-0 Paderborn (29/2)
Borussia Dortmund 0-1 Bayern Munich (26/5)
Wolfsburg 0-2 Borussia Dortmund (23/5)
Borussia Dortmund 4-0 Schalke (16/5)
Borussia Monchengladbach 1-2 Borussia Dortmund (7/3)
Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Freiburg (29/2)
Despite the defeat to rivals Bayern, Dortmund are still hot favourites to finish second this season and this fixture seems to have come at the perfect time, giving them the chance to show that they are still very much firing and can manage without their star man.
While the loss of Haaland is significant, good performances from Sancho, Thorgan Hazard and Julian Brandt should ensure Dortmund have too much for an improved Paderborn.
Prediction: Paderborn 0-2 Borussia Dortmund