Harding’s Hark - The Inside Story: Götze Writes the Script in 3-0 Win
FC Bayern Munich won 3-0 against league rivals Borussia Dortmund and although the scoreline suggests an easy win, Pep Guardiola’s men upped their game after a tense first half to go four points clear at the top of the Bundesliga. Jonathan Harding reviews why this win is more than about three points.
With so much hype for Germany’s biggest game of football, there was (and always is) a worry that both sides will be too conservative. The first half was very much a case of both sides slowly revealing their cards. Who would buckle first? Dortmund decided not to press as hard as might have been expected. Bayern continued their tactical variation as Javi Martinez stayed in the 10, Philipp Lahm continued to drop so deep he looked like a sweeper and Toni Kroos held in defensive midfield. It was strange, new and a change from last season. Both sides enjoyed spells of possession, something visibly unusual for Bayern. One thing that hadn’t changed was Dortmund’s poor composure as their chances came and went, much like they did in Wembley last year.
Dortmund’s defensive woe shouldn’t be forgotten and Manuel Friedrich’s return was brave but tough. He understandably looked off the pace, although for the first hour, the home team’s defence kept the Bavarian visitors at bay. Step forward the returning son. The choice to bench Mario Götze was dubious. To get him warming up in the tunnel was even sillier. And yet the boy proved he could handle the occasion, changing the pace and penetration of Bayern’s attack the moment he came on. It is often said that football writes itself and so when Götze finished with aplomb from the edge of the area to give Bayern the lead, you couldn’t help but raise a wry smile.
Dortmund’s confidence dropped and when Manuel Neuer denied Marco Reus with a fantastic diving save, Klopp’s men seemed to realise it wasn’t going to be their night. Bayern sensed it and took advantage. In almost ironic fashion, Arjen Robben finished a slick Bayern counterattack to double their lead before Thomas Müller swept home a third to bruise a tired home team and add a gloss to the scoreline.
Without disregarding Dortmund’s defensive issues completely, this win might not be that much of a surprise. Their rivalry has risen over the last few years as Dortmund’s fantastic counterattacking football troubled the record-title winners. Now though, it seems as though Bayern are back for their dose of dominance. Their movement and clinical nature left the hosts struggling. And this without Fußballgott Bastian Schweinsteiger and European Footballer of the Year Franck Ribéry. This undefeated Bundesliga streak of 38 games is poor for the competitive nature of the league, but if the price we pay for that is to watch this side every week can we really complain?
For Dortmund, their eyes turn to a season defining mid-week European clash. For Bayern, history continues to be broken and beckon. An undefeated Bundesliga season seems more than possible, as does another domestic cup success. But what about defending that Champions League trophy? Can they really win back-to-back trebles? Their dominance suggests a resounding ja.