Der Klassiker lives up to hype as Bayern beat Dortmund
Barrie White takes a more in-depth look at the impact of Bayern Munich’s comeback Der Klassiker win over Borussia Dortmund
It actually lived up to the hype…
Some games do, some games don’t.
The Manchester derby, played less than 24 hours later than Der Klassiker, was a poor spectacle of football, whereas El Clasico was so quick people were catching the action as it was coming back from an attack they missed.
The win for Bayern on Saturday night was definitely in the latter category as Robert Lewandowski and Arjen Robben broke Borussia Dortmund hearts.
Both sets of fans were loud and proud as their teams went toe-to-toe, meaning Dortmund’s following could probably be a lot more, due to their side’s current plight.
Jurgen Klopp’s men were fearless going forward, while Roman Weidenfeller – a poor imitation of himself since the World Cup – remembered why he’s considered the second-best keeper in Germany.
He gave Dortmund a base on which to attack, and their approach was rewarded by a fine and rare headed goal from Marco Reus from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s pinpoint beauty of a cross.
Mats Hummels failed to reappear for the second half and, alas, everyone could see the script playing out.
His replacement Neven Subotic – himself still finding his feet after long-term injury – was responsible for both goals as Lewandowski lost him to rattle home from 18 yards.
Subotic then brought down sub Franck Ribery for Robben’s penalty, which won the game and kept Bayern’s lead at the top to four points.
Defeat in Munich, in isolation, is nothing to be ashamed of for Dortmund – you’re talking one of the best club sides of the last 30 years.
But it was the worst time possible to suffer it. Klopp’s men are in the bottom two and while they will not be relegated, the stigma of being there in November will be hard to shake.
There were positives. Shinji Kagawa had his best game until injury seemed to force him off, while Reus and Aubameyang harried and pushed, always looking dangerous.
Much was made in the English media that Reus shrugged off and/or fell out with Lewandowski or, for the current narrative, he was being tapped up.
More likely, Reus knows the situation and wanted to show BVB fans he was devastated by the defeat, and laughing or chatting to his former teammate would only serve him ill.
The much-wanted attacker is more likely to leave in the summer than not, especially if bids north of 40 million euros arrive.
But the best bet is still he will arrive in the Premier League and not join the flock in Munich.
Klopp has a short time to lift his players again as they face Champions League on Tuesday, and he can point to their form in that for more positives.
But he needs a Bundesliga win, desperately, and defeat at high-flying Gladbach on Sunday will make it six straight in the league.
Bayern, meanwhile, showed their mettle in fighting back, and Pep Guardiola’s men are prepared to do the dirty work.
Manuel Neuer was finally beaten for the first time since matchday two, which is mightily impressive, and they turn their own attentions towards giving Roma another spanking on Wednesday.
Elsewhere, Wolfsburg went second with a stunning win away at Stuttgart, who have conceded eight goals in two games, yet have managed to win one of them.
Gladbach’s unbeaten run in all competitions stretched to 17 after they ended Hoffenheim’s own run.
Hamburg were deserved winners against Leverkusen as Rafael van der Vaart’s penalty settled an angry game.
Werder Bremen and Freiburg both piled pressure on Dortmund, grabbing their first wins at Mainz and Cologne respectively.
Results: Schalke 1-0 Augsburg, Hamburg 1-0 Bayer Leverkusen, Mainz 1-2 Werder Bremen, Hannover 96 1-0 Eintracht Frankfurt, Stuttgart 0-4 Wolfsburg, Bayern Munich 2-1 Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Monchengladbach 3-1 Hoffenheim, Cologne 0-1 Freiburg, Paderborn 3-1 Hertha Berlin