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Injuries Cloud Over Germany's 'Der Klassiker'
Reuters, November 21st, 2013 3:15PM
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Borussia Dortmund hosts Bayern Munich in Saturday’s “Der Klassiker,” Germany’s version of La Liga’s ‘El Clasico,’ in the midst of a huge injury crisis. In fact, the BVB’s entire starting defense that it won the double with in 2012 is missing through injury. Center backs Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic have both been lost to long-term injuries, whileMarcel Schmelzer and Lukasz Piszczek are also unavailable. Earlier this week, Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp signed free agent Manuel Friedrich as cover for his ailing defense.

"I have never seen such an extreme situation at Dortmund,” said Dortmund CEOHans-Joachim Watzke. “Our entire defense with which we won the double (in 2012) has been obliterated. We should not be talking about the title now. We have to keep on their heels."

Bayern, which recently set a German record with its 37th consecutive Bundesliga game without defeat, is not without its injuries, too. Ballon d’Or contender Franck Ribery will miss the game with a cracked rib, and vice captain Bastian Schweinsteiger is also still a long-term absentee.

Though Dortmund is only four points behind Bayern, the media has labeled Saturday’s clash at Signal Iduna Park a must-win game if the BVB wants to sustain a title challenge against Pep Guardiola’s men.

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