How The Game Was Won
Borussia Dortmund 0 – 3 Bayern Munich
Written by Chris Winterburn
An injury stricken Borussia Dortmund side had to be incredibly resourceful in order to compete with the behemoth of Bavaria, Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich. However despite having a makeshift defensive line it was Klopp’s charges who will feel aggrieved at having not come away with three points.
With Marcel Schmelzer and Mats Hummels joining Neven Subotic and Lukasz Piszczek on the injured list following Germany’s midweek clash with England, Jurgen Klopp was forced to dip into the emergency transfer market and bring in Manuel Friedrich whom he worked closely with at Mainz. The makeshift nature of Dortmund’s back four meant the usual high octane pressing game we have come to expect from Dortmund was not applicable.
Pressing as high up the pitch and with as much physical gusto would have placed Dortmund’s shaky back four under too much pressure and as a direct result of this lack of pressing Bayern had the lion’s share of possession for the first half and were able to sit comfortably in midfield passing the ball between midfield and defence. It was one of the few times in recent years where we have seen a Borussia Dortmund opponent being able to take upwards of three touches each when on the ball.
This played right into Bayern’s hands, the visitors were happy to retain the ball for long spells without doing too much with it going forward, they recognised they were the visiting team and didn’t have to chase the game despite Dortmund’s defensive woes. It was eventually this patience which would grind Dortmund down and lead to Bayern’s opening goal.
The game changed around the fifty fourth minute when Dortmund’s once golden son Mario Gotze was introduced from the bench by Guardiola. Greeted by a chorus of boos and obscene gestures Gotze made an immediate impact with an impressive first touch inside the Dortmund penalty area to create the slightest of spaces for him to shoot past Weidenfeller with the outside of his right foot.
The match could have gone either way up until this point with Bayern’s throttle like hold on possession ensuring they were always in control of events, yet Dortmund’s brave counter attacks when they were given an opportunity to do so always threatened a goal despite an uncharacteristic sense of indecision in front of goal from Klopp’s forward line. However Gotze’s introduction gave Bayern a greater degree of control in the final third, Gotze could fashion space for himself as well as others with short, clever passes and this just tired Dortmund’s defence to the point of submission.
After a brief period of defiance from Dortmund after Gotze’s goal the game was up, Bayern still with their control of possession flicked the clinical switch with little over five minutes to go and scored two breakaway goals courtesy of monumental gaps in the Dortmund defence.
The game was won for Bayern through possession, Guardiola’s men played a very clever game where they tired Dortmund’s defence out, very much like Barcelona used to do to the stronger teams they faced in the Champions League. Dortmund’s lack of pressing just made this even easier for Bayern and whilst the game wasn’t the spectacle the watching world wanted, it was at the very least a sizeably interesting tactical battle.