Three things we learned as Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker

Bayern Munich leave Borussia Dortmund stunned in Der Klassiker with a demanding 4-2 victory. The result means the record champions overtook Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga table. Gregor Kobel, who had just returned from injury, would have felt the weight of the world on his shoulders with two errors in the first half leading to two Bayern goals. Dayot Upamecano would score from his own half after the Dortmund shot-stopper lost all concentration and failed to make any contact on the ball, as it would just roll past him into an empty net.

A Thomas Müller brace would see Bayern’s lead seem almost uncatchable with less than half an hour on the clock. With less than five minutes into the second half, Leroy Sané’s drilled pass was perfectly left by Müller, whose dummy allowed Kingsley Coman a simple tap-in at the back post. Two late Dortmund goals would not be enough to ruin what was a statement victory for Die Rekordmeister.

Borussia Dortmund lack the characteristics of a top side

While this defeat to Bayern has not ruled Dortmund out of the title race, the manner of the defeat may leave them at a psychological disadvantage. Prior to this game, Borussia Dortmund were on a ten-game unbeaten run in the Bundesliga. This run has seen them catch Bayern in a title race they seemed out of before the World Cup. However, while this run of positive form has captured the minds of many, it may have led people to believe this side are something they are not.

This Klassiker, like many that have come before, highlighted the gulf in not just quality but the difference in mentality between these two sides. After the early Upamecano goal, Dortmund collapsed in remarkable style. This collapse is unacceptable for a side in a title race and while Bayern were the side in question before kick-off, it certainly will be Die Schwarzgelben being ridiculed after the game. The defending was reminiscent of their inconsistency prior to the turn of the year and emphasised the work still needed to be done by Edin Terzić. 

Julian Nagelsmann was holding Bayern back

When Bayern replaced Julien Nagelsmann with Thomas Tuchel the entire footballing community was left shocked. Nagelsmann had only faced defeat three times in the Bundesliga this season, while the record champions had retained a perfect record in the Champions League, leaving them the favourites in the eyes of many. However, the Bayern board believed that this side contains far more quality than Nagelsmann was extracting from it. This statement victory has only proved that the higher powers at Bayern were correct in their decision-making.

With Jamal Musiala resigned to the bench due to injury, Dortmund would have been licking their lips. Prior to this game, Musiala was leading Bayern for goals scored, goals created and key passes in the Bundesliga. However, an out-of-form Thomas Müller was able to step up with two goals that rocked Dortmund. The entire front line would showcase the undeniable quality they possess and therefore, Tuchel has shown he can unlock the talent within his squad. The boost in confidence this has undoubtedly installed into Bayern could see them march on and retain their Bundesliga title.

Borussia Dortmund must not panic

After half an hour Edin Terzić and Borussia Dortmund would have been receiving flashbacks from the Allianz Arena agony of 2019. In a similar fashion to that game, Dortmund went into Der Klassiker at the top of the Bundesliga table with a handful of games remaining in the season. With injuries plaguing both sides, how both Terzić and Thomas Tuchel handled their squad was always going to play a significant role in the outcome of this game. While Tuchel showed patience and trust in his side by leaving Musiala on the bench; Terzić potentially displayed some naivety in his decision-making.

Both Nico Schlotterbeck and Gregor Kobel were doubts ahead of this game having faced injuries in recent weeks. However, both were rushed into the starting lineup to the detriment of Dortmund. Kobel would produce two mistakes leading to two Bayern goals, while Schlotterbeck would be replaced by Mats Hummels before halftime. These are two decisions that ultimately cost Dortmund the game, and with eight games remaining Terzić needs to ensure he does not rush players back from injury. Bayern have failed to show consistency throughout this campaign and they will drop points. Dortmund need to remain calm and take advantage down the final straight.

GGFN | Will Shopland

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