4 TALKING POINTS | Borussia Dortmund 2-2 Bayern Munich* (Bayern win 5-4 on penalties)

Bayern Munich claimed the 2017 Super Cup with a penalty shootout victory against rivals Borussia Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park. The home side were leading 2-1 heading into the final minutes, but a goalmouth scramble resulted in an unfortunate own goal for Roman Bürki in the 88th minute to send the match to penalties.

Sven Ulreich saved Marc Bartra’s spot-kick that gives the Bavarians another trophy and early bragging rights before the Bundesliga begins on August 18. With Peter Bosz making his competitive debut in the Dortmund dugout and Bayern coming off a shocking pre-season there were plenty of talking points prior to kick-off, here are three observations to ponder post-match.

Zagadou thrown into the fire

With Raphaël Guerreiro, Marcel Schmelzer and Erik Durm all injured Peter Bosz decided to start with Dan-Axel Zagadou ahead of Felix Passlack in the vacant left-back position. The France U18 captain was recently signed from Paris Saint-Germain without making a senior appearance for the French club and was clearly in foreign territory against the might of Bayern Munich in a cup final.

Turning 18 just two months ago, the 6ft 5in giant is a centre-back by trade as was evident by his suspect positioning throughout his 77 minutes of action during which he was clearly targeted by Bayern. Zagadou has a long way to go in his development but showed positive signs with a willingness play forward passes and get into good positions in attack. He will have gained valuable experience tonight.

Upon signing the teenager on a deal until 2022, BVB sporting director Michael Zorc told the club’s official website: “We are fully convinced of the abilities of the player. We are looking forward to helping him continuing his development as a BVB professional.” Expect to see much more of Zagadou in the coming years.

Good signs for the Bosz

Christian Pulisic capitalised on an error from Javi Martinez to fire Dortmund into a 12th minute lead, but when Robert Lewandowski equalised soon after it signalled a period of Bayern dominance that lasted until half-time. Dortmund’s full-backs were being pinned back with Mahmoud Dahoud and Gonzalo Castro unable to affect the match from midfield.

Peter Bosz was clearly unhappy with how events were unfolding and decided to bring on Sebastian Rode for Dahoud at the break. Showing energy and hustle against his former team, Rode sparked Dortmund into action as they got themselves back in the game, creating chances on the back of an effective high press that had deserted them in the first half.

Bosz’s half time alteration changed the match in Dortmund’s favour which is a good sign moving forward. The Dutch tactician made a positive start to his new role in Dortmund’s dugout and will feel unlucky to have lost in the penalty shootout lottery.

Sebastian Rudy ready to step into Alonso’s shoes

Big shoes to fill they are, but Rudy showed tonight exactly why he was brought to Bayern. After seven years at Hoffenheim, the 27-year-old is coming off his best season and appears to be a player who will keep improving in a team full of world class internationals.

The central midfielder made a game high four tackles and is more than adept playing the holding role, but it would be a mistake to classify him as a one trick pony. Rudy often makes forward runs and is more than capable of delivering killer balls with impressive vision and passing range, as exemplified by his pass to Kimmich in the build up to Lewandowski’s equaliser.

With 20 international caps to his name, Rudy was ever present as Germany won the recent Confederations Cup in Russia. If his upward trajectory continues, Rudy is likely to return to Russia for the World Cup next summer after playing a key role for Bayern this season.

Christian Pulisic ready to shine

Dortmund first spotted a 15-year-old Pulisic playing for the US under-17 team in a youth tournament in 2014 and knew he was something special. Moving to the Signal Iduna Park a year later, Pulisic has progressed through the ranks at BVB and his well taken goal to open the scoring against Bayern showed class and confidence above his years.

Already one of the most important players for the United States national team, Pulisic handled that pressure by scoring both goals in a 2-0 victory against Trinidad and Tobago in a recent World Cup qualifier. His rapid rise to prominence has been quite phenomenal.

As former manager Thomas Tuchel said: “He’s the kind of guy who’s very self-confident and showed his talent on the pitch and doesn’t show any nerves under pressure. That’s a wonderful combination.” With Ousmane Dembélé a Barcelona target and Marco Reus and André Schürrle often injured, the skillful and speedy 18-year-old winger is set to play a big role this season under Bosz.

By Matthew Marshall


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