The Klassiker this weekend had been the subject of thousands of column inches in the sporting press with speculation rife as to how it could pan out. As it happened, Bayern sent out a real statement with a win at the Allianz Arena putting challengers Borussia Dortmund well and truly in their place.
A nightmarish error from BVB keeper Gregor Köbel handed Bayern the lead after 13 minutes. Five minutes later Thomas Müller underlined his importance to the Rekordmeister with a goal following a corner flicked on by Mathijs de Ligt. He then added a third five minutes later to all-but put the game beyond Dortmund within the first 45 minutes.
A fourth goal from Kingsley Coman at the start of the second half meant there was really no way back for Dortmund. An Emre Can penalty and a late finish from Donyell Malen were merely cosmetic as Bayern took their foot off the gas.
1. When the going gets tough,……
They say the cream rises to the top and Bayern Munich proved the old adage with a clear-cut win over title rivals Dortmund. The Bavarians replaced the Schwarzgelben at the top of the table after a 4-2 win which was all-but sealed in the first half as BVB were blown away.
Form is temporary while class is permanent is another saying that comes to mind after today’s Klassiker. Thomas Tuchel hadn’t had much time to work with his players, but the players took on the challenge BVB posed and threw down the gauntlet in the title race. Write Bayern Munich off at your peril!
2. Oh Gregor Köbel!
Having made a more than respectable start to the game, it was an atrocious howler from Dortmund keeper Gregor Köbel that started the BVB collapse. A searching through ball from Dayot Upamecano for Leroy Sané seemed like a routine clearance for the Dortmund keeper but his fluffed kick saw the ball run through and into the net for the most bizarre of goals.
Would the game have panned out differently without the Patzer of all Patzers? Who knows, but Köbel has no doubt experienced the low-point of his career thus far.
3. When Bayern need him, Thomas Müller never disappoints
If people thought Bayern legend Thomas Müller would be winding down on his illustrious career then someone should have informed the Bayern star midfielder. In Thomas Tuchel’s first match, the veteran showed that he can still be a key part of the Rekordmeister for the foreseeable future.
Two well taken first half goals as well as some very intelligent play to help set-up Kingsley Coman’s second half goal made him arguably Bayern’s best player on a very successful night. Subbed off after 68 minutes to a standing ovation.
4. What must Julian Nagelsmann be thinking?
Thomas Tuchel sitting on the Bayern bench didn’t tinker too much with the formation or tactics employed by predecessor Julian Nagelsmann and simply watched the Bayern players flex their muscles.
If Nagelsmann was watching the game, he must have had more than a little sense of irony as the Bavarians sent out a clear message of their superiority. We’ll never know whether the result would have been the same regardless of Oliver Kahn and Hasan Salihamidzic’s savage sacking, but the question is there to be asked.
Could have, should have, would have as well as ifs and buts will abound, but the former Bayern coach will consider that he played a major part in the Klassiker triumph.
5. The title race is still on!
As chastening as the 4-1 loss will be to Borussia Dortmund, the defeat doesn’t really decide anything in the Bundesliga title race. Bayern now lead the table by two points with eight games remaining and there are still plenty of hurdles to overcome between now and the end of the season.
Bayern have the added burden of their Champions League campaign to deal with Manchester City their opponents in the quarter-finals. Dortmund will be hard hit emotionally by the defeat, but if they can quickly recover and get back to winning ways, they will take the title race to the very end this season.