Former Bayern Munich forward Claudio Pizarro believes that the upcoming 'Der Klassiker' could be critical for Bayern's domestic season, considering their relatively shaky outings in the past few games. Despite being at the top of the table, Bayern have endured significant slip-ups this season including a shocking 5-0 loss to Borussia Monchengladbach and a narrow 1-2 defeat to Augsburg last month.
While injuries and Covid-related absences have played a part, Bayern have largely relied on their attacking prowess this season to bail them out of tricky situations.
Pizarro believes that the title race could be more intense this season, and the result against Dortmund would be an accurate reflection of where Bayern stand at the moment.
"This year's going to be a little more exciting," the former Bayern Munich forward replied to a question from Hindustan Times. "It's not going to be easy for Bayern to win the league. A good reflection at how Bayern is at the moment after all these problems will be the game on Saturday. We will see how they are going to play, that (the result) is the good way to see if they are capable to be in the race for the Bundesliga title," Pizarro said.
The former Bayern star, who has represented the defending Bundesliga champions in two spells (2001-2007 & 2012-2015), further commended the side's manager Julian Nagelsmann for his flexibility with a razor-thin squad amid major absences.
"Nagelsmann is doing very well in the team. He can adapt quickly, he is young and he is flexible with his team. He can communicate very well with his players. I hope there is going to be a good game on Saturday," said Pizarro.
Lewandowski deserved Ballon d'Or
The Ballon d'Or this year was a fairly controversial one with Lionel Messi winning his seventh 'Golden Ball'. Many believed that Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski was a more deserving candidate than the Argentine football legend, and Claudio Pizarro, who has played alongside Lewandowski at the club, insisted that it was "disappointing" to see the Bayern forward missing out on the title.
"Of course, it's very difficult as an ex-Bayern player. I've played with Robert. I think he deserved it. All the things he has to do to win the Ballon d'Or, he did that. Messi is an incredible player, but in this year, Robert deserved to win. It's disappointing," Pizarro said.
Lewandowski finished second in the final Ballon d'Or list this year. The Bayern forward was also pipped to win the title last year, but the Ballon d'Or was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacting football action across the globe.