Et was an amazingly simple conclusion that Marco Reus drew for Borussia Dortmund at the end of a humiliating evening, and at first glance the captain was right when he said: “The result doesn’t lie.” The district club scored 2:4 goals lost the big duel at FC Bayern, which was groundbreaking for the title fight, the disappointment is great. On closer inspection, however, this 2:4, which is now going down in the annals, is a ruse.
It wasn’t an exciting six-goal cracker that people in the more than 200 countries to which the game was broadcast got to see. The teams did not offer a thrilling offensive spectacle, the game was neither tight nor exciting, in fact the matter was as good as over after 23 minutes.
It was 3-0 to Bayern and Dortmund looked like humiliated students who had done everything wrong. Once again. “There are just shitty days and today was one of those,” said goalkeeper Gregor Kobel. The question of why Dortmund’s trips to Munich always fall on such days will probably remain an eternal mystery.
Twelve good Dortmund minutes
Now the Bavarians are back at the top of the table and were also able to give their strongest competitor a hard hit psychologically. Dortmund had actually started the game quite well. They were more energetic for a good ten minutes, went into the duels with more determination and the Munich team made mistakes. Inaccuracies in the passing game and small technical shortcomings.
For 12 minutes, there was much to suggest that the change in coach hadn’t immediately made FC Bayern a team with new stability and renewed self-confidence. The face of the new head coach Thomas Tuchel clearly showed that the performance of his new team in this initial phase was still a long way from the kind of football that he actually had in mind. “All in all, there were far too many ball losses, both after winning the ball and in the build-up play,” said Tuchel.
In this respect it was a real sensation that eleven minutes later everything looked the same as usual: the long-term champions led 3-0 and the men in the yellow shirts ran across the pitch with slumped shoulders. “After that, there wasn’t much rebellion,” said Munich’s Thomas Müller, and BVB coach Edin Terzic explained: “We didn’t imagine that we would fall behind so early and then stop fighting back.”
The trigger for this collapse was a crazy goal to make it 1-0. Probably any well-created goal would have been easier for Bayern to take, but the way Dortmund fell behind robbed them of all the confidence they had built up during their winning streak in the first quarter. Because everyone thought: not again.
Dayot Upamecano had played a ball from his own half to Kingsley Coman, but Dortmund goalkeeper Kobel was quicker and could have cleared the ball. But he hit over the ball, which then just kept rolling into the goal (13′). “First you have to let that sink in on the pitch,” said Reus. “We’re all human. Something like that doesn’t pass us by without a trace. Then of course you don’t have that much self-confidence.”
All the considerations of a grown team that could possibly succeed in surpassing itself again after many defeats in a row in Munich were obsolete. The FC Bayern supporters didn’t just celebrate, they laughed at the unexpected good fortune Dortmund had bestowed on them.
And on this emotional basis, Thomas Müller came and scored two more goals to make it 2-0 and 3-0. First, the old master, who played with the captain’s armband, pushed a corner kick extended by Matthijs de Ligt over the goal line (18th minute). And five minutes later, Kobel let a shot from the strong Leroy Sané bounce in front of Müller’s feet, who easily scored the third.
Once again, a classic was decided far too early, and that was by no means a result of a new brilliance that Munich developed after the change of coach. “You could see that everyone wanted to do what we agreed on,” said Tuchel. “The will to work against the ball was high and at the same time we still have a lot of room for improvement.” It was more the Dortmund team lost the game as overpowering Munich who showed their strength.
Only after the break did the Munich team enchant their audience with a few moments of the highest football art. Coman’s 4-0 lead was preceded by a clever diagonal pass through almost the entire penalty area by Sané (50′). A side goal from Maxim-Eric Choupo Moting did not count due to an offside position, in the meantime the game looked like a training session for Tuchel on the big world stage.
There are indications that Sané, who played on the right wing, could benefit from the change of coach, that Müller will continue to play a central role and that the hierarchy in the team will not change that much. At the same time, the team’s game still lacked structure and the defense seemed holey in a few moments.
Serge Gnabry caused a penalty through a very clumsy duel, which Emre Can converted to 4:1 (72nd), and Donyell Malen scored late to make it 4:2 (90th). But that wasn’t enough to make the game exciting again. However, the fight for the title remains open: Munich are two points ahead of the table and on the Easter weekend the top four will play among themselves: Freiburg against FC Bayern and Dortmund against Union Berlin.