BORUSSIA DORTMUND 3-2 BAYERN MUNICH
Der Klassiker observations:
- Prior to the match, most previews from leading publications predicted a big win for Borussia Dortmund. This was clearly influenced by the hosts recent attacking displays and that they were leading the Bundesliga table, a point ahead of Borussia Monchengladbach.
- Bayern Munich were third, four points behind, at the start, Had Die Borissen won the Der Klassiker, then they would be seven points ahead of Bayern; if Die Roten won, the title race deficit would cut down to just one point. This was a six pointer for Bayern Munich and possibly the domestic title decider.
- A hostile atmosphere and the tight title stakes spurned Bayern. The visitors were dominant in the first half that included 66% possession stats till the 35th min. Dortmund started gaining ground only after that.
- After Reus and Ribery missed easy chances, Robert Lewandowski scored his 11th goal vs Dortmund in 9 games. A Thomas Muller pass scythed open the defence, as Gnabry made a cross which the tall Polish striker headed in.
- In my two plus decades of club football viewing, it’s the first time I couldn’t recognise the Bayern Manager. I had heard the name of Croatian Niko Kovac, but only saw today, how he looked.
- Mario Gotze is just 26yrs but his appearances for both club and country are fast reducing, year on year. There is a serious danger, decades down, he will have only one story to share with his grand children. That he entered a pitch, being told to ‘show the world he is better than Messi‘, scored a World Cup winning goal for Germany and declined Messi his only shot at football’s biggest showpiece event. Not much to tell before that event, not much to tell after that event.
- Marco Reus, who had missed that World Cup 2014, restored parity with a 49th min penalty kick that should have never been given. Jadon Sancho, a revelation this season, was fantastic down the left entire night, but Neuer didn’t fouled him on that instance.
- The bad decisions evened out soon as Bayern’s lead got restored. Gnabry scythed open the defence twice, as Kimmich (offside position) assisted to Lewandowski’s 12th goal vs Dortmund.
- On 59th min Sancho centred the ball to Reus who, just few yards out, beat the keeper but couldn’t score as a speedy Kimmich cleared the ball off the line. Similar drama again followed three minutes later. Same provider (Sancho) but a different culprit (Alcacer) and a different saviour (Boateng)! The match had reached thrilling levels by then.
- On the 67th min captain Marco Reus lead from the front as his strike drew level. Reus 2-2 Lewandowski. All to play for.
- Seven minutes later, substitute Paco Alcacer more than made up for his previous miss. Another sumptuous pass from Sancho laid a chance on a plate for Paco, as the Barcelona loanee, continued his rich goal scoring form. 3-2.
- Sancho, Reus and Alcacer, in no certain order were the big heroes of the night. With Bayern Munich now seven points behind, the trio could end up being the big heroes of the Bundesliga season.
- This match though was the best club football match of the season so far. Thrilling, high octane, supreme quality, noisy crowds and a come from behind win. Twice. The moment I typed this, I got an alert that Atletico Madrid also achieved a thrilling win, twice come from behind, vs Athletic Bilbao.
- Robert Lewandowski had bigger ideas though, as he put the ball in the net off a beautiful back heel on the 95th min, trying to restore parity. But the goal was ruled offside. Rightly so. Der Klassiker indeed has been the best match of the season so far.