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Five observations from Bayern Munich’s rampaging 4-1 win over Borussia Dortmund

Javi Martinez and Arturo Vidal anchored a defensive masterclass while Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery eviscerated Dortmund’s backline

Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga Photo by Alexander Scheuber/Getty Images Fuer MAN

Robbery is back

Bayern Munich decided to extend Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben this year and today shows exactly why that decision made. The duo were nightmares, terrorizing the spaces in behind the Borussia Dortmund wingsbacks. Felix Passlack and Marcel Schmelzer were overwhelmed all game and the constant focus Marc Bartra and Matthias Ginter had to direct their way opened space everywhere for Thiago and Robert Lewandowski to work passing combinations.

Javi Martinez is Bayern Munich’s most unsung hero

It’s hard to place emphasis on what Javi Martinez does for Bayern. It’s simple, understated, and consistent. He’s not flashy in his tackles or his clearances. He’s cool, calm, and calculated in the way he efficiently destroys opposition attacks before quickly slipping the ball into the feet of other to work their magic.

It’s easy to forget he’s even on the field because you never see mistakes that draw attention to him and he never makes himself the focus of play unless a coach makes him so — see the entirety of his time healthy during the Pep Guardiola era.

Work, thy name is Arturo Vidal

10 tackles. 3 interceptions. 134 touches. Arturo Vidal was a monster for Bayern Munich and he’s the undisputed reason why Ousman Dembele and Christian Pulisic did nothing the entire game — the duo attempted a combined 36 passes, or 30% of what Vidal did.

Bayern can survive Thiago having a bad day

A big deal has been made about Thiago’s influence on Bayern Munich, but the Spanish international’s effect on this game was muted. He still notched 97 passes (nowhere near the 117 Xabi Alonso and Arturo Vidal each made) but in that attacking midfield role for Bayern he’s not as critical.

From that space, Bayern can use Thiago not as the fulcrum but as the major supplement to driving their wing based offense forward. When played deeper, Thiago becomes the sole driving force for Bayern, a tradeoff that they make to get the incredible skills of Thomas Müller on the

Joshua Kimmich can play striker

Robert Lewandowski went off injured shortly after notching Bayern Munich’s fourth. With Thomas Müller injured as well, there was no replacement for the Polish goal wizard’s ability. Except Joshua Kimmich.

Kimmich worked very nicely in his role up top challenging for balls, building passing connections and making runs on throughballs. If worst comes to worst and Bayern has neither Müller nor Lewandowski are available for Wednesday’s clash against Real Madrid, it wouldn’t be the worst option to throw Kimmich up front.

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