Initial Observations and Analysis
- What a day for Bayern Munich. Yes, it’s only a one point lead in the table, but today was a statement for sure. Borussia Dortmund were never in this game, and Bayern ran all over them. The season is far from finished, but Bayern have to feel good about their chances after this one.
- The 2018-19 season has been many things for Bayern, but the resurgence of Javi Martinez is certainly a big one. Today was another stunning performance from the Spanish midfielder, and he’s managed to form a formidable midfield pairing next to his compatriot Thiago Alcantara. I was certain coming into this season that Martinez was on his last legs, but he just might have a few years left in him.
- Kingsley Coman and David Alaba are starting to linkup in the ways that we always loved seeing Alaba and Franck Ribery doe for so many years. The way Bayern wants to play, the fullbacks and their winger playing in simpatico with each other is key.
- Mats Hummels did a great job of keeping the Bayern backline organized in this one. Neuer didn’t have a lot of things to do today, and that’s precisely due to the impact of the Bayern defense (plus Martinez and Thiago). They were able to snuff out all attacks before anything got to serious.
- Today was a great day for Niko Kovac. He got the team selection exactly right and had the players motivated to go 100% from the opening kick. Terrific job.
90- FULLTIME: BAYERN MUNICH 5-0 BORUSSIA DORTMUND
89- TOR! FC BAYERN! Robert Lewandowski! Bayern Munich 5-0 Borussia Dortmund
We finally got goal number five! Gnabry streaks into the penalty area and passes it behind the Dortmund backline, past Burki, to the feet of Lewandowski. He taps it in for his second to give Bayern their fifth goal.
What. A. Game.
87- We’re coming to a close here at the Allianz Arena. What a great game.
82- A dangerous tackle from Weigl on Ribery just outside the penalty area. A few minutes ago, Reus fouled Lewandowski hard. The frustration is showing now.
80- Bayern Substitution: Sanches comes on for Muller.
78- Lewandowski gets a great opportunity from a Gnabry cross, but his sliding shot goes over the crossbar.
77- Bayern Substitution: Goretzka comes on for Martinez.
75- Not much is happening. Dortmund aren’t really pressing for a goal. Bayern don’t have any urgency. It’s 4-0.
70- The referee shows a double yellow card to Delaney and Lewandowski for a dust up in the middle of the park. Delaney was just holding onto Lewandowski’s arm, not letting him run. So, Lewandowski kinda sorta pushed him off. Fair call.
69- BVB Substitution: Wolf comes on for Piszczek.
68- Bayern Substitution: Ribery comes on for Coman. He did grab his right hamstring shortly before coming off, but the sub looks to be precautionary.
65- Finally, some sustained possession for Dortmund. The pass the ball around in the Bayern half of the field. It ends with Piszczek crossing a ball into Gotze, but his shot is blocked by Kimmich.
That immediately launches a Bayern counter, but Lewandowski’s pass into the box to Hummels (He wants a second goal haha.) is intercepted by Burki.
62- BVB Substitution: Dahoud comes off for Gotze.
60- Mario Gotze is about to come on. That’s the highlight of Dortmund’s second half so far.
56- We’re ten minutes into the second half, and it’s hard to call what Dortmund is doing anything but “damage control.” There’s basically zero chance of them making up the current goal differential in the table, so why aren’t they going all out in attack? A 0-15 loss is the same as a 0-4 loss at this point. Go for goals?
Meanwhile, Kingsley Coman makes two defenders look silly after distracting them with several stepovers before poking the ball between them to David Alaba. Alaba fires in a cross across the face of goal, but it flies by Lewandowski just out of reach. Very near miss.
52- Gnabry almost strikes again on a perfectly lofted Thiago corner kick. The ball finds Gnabry wide open at the far post, but he can’t connect and it flies over the goal line.
46- The second half has kicked off. Lucien Favre has seen enough of Zagadou and replaced him with Julian Weigl.
Halftime Observations and Analysis
- Look, Bayern hardly put a foot wrong in the first half. It was an absolute destruction of Dortmund. The Bavarians kept up the pressure throughout the first half, and Dortmund was only able to break out on a few counterattacks. And, even with those counters, Neuer was rarely called to action. This was impressive.
- The play from Dortmund’s backline, specifically Zagadou and Akanji, has been shocking. Zagadou is only 19 and has a lot of potential, but you can put a lot of blame for Bayern’s success in that first half directly at his feet.
- Coman has been running all over Piszczek on the left side of the field. The poor Dortmund right back has absolutely no answer for his speed. It’s hard to see exactly what Favre is going to do. Sub out Zagadou, Akanji, and Piszczek?
- What a fantastic day for Muller? He’s so good. Him and Lewandowski are combining to just destroy Dortmund. Smile, everyone.
45- HALFTIME: Bayern Munich 4-0 Borussia Dortmund
44- TOR! FC BAYERN! Serge Gnabry! Bayern Munich 4-0 Borussia Dortmund!
NO TIME TO BREATHE! Muller lifts a little cross into the box to Gnabry who heads it past Burki. Four. To. Nothing. WOW!
41- TOR! FC BAYERN! Javi Martinez! Bayern Munich 3-0 Borussia Dortmund!
Wow! Lewandowski gets fouled by Zagadou, and Thiago stepped up to take the free kick. He chipped it over the backline, and Muller smashed a volley toward goal that gets blocked. It comes to Lewandowski who takes a shot, but it is also blocked. The ball finally comes to Martinez who slots his shot into the far corner to give Bayern the 3-0 lead!
38- Lewandowski gets on the end of a speculative cross (maybe with a slight shove), but Burki gets down a paw down to push the ball out for another corner.
31- Another near goal! Hummels gets onto the end of another Thaigo corner kick, but Burki makes a diving stop to keep the ball out of the side netting. Zagadou can’t handle Hummels right now.
29- BVB finally get something going with some great, short passing to get through the Bayern midfield. Reus picks up the ball on the edge of the area and feeds it a little wide out to Sancho. He hits a lofted cross to Neuer for the easy collection.
20- Muller’s header on Thiago’s corner skips off the crossbar! Nearly 3-0 again!
19- Lewandowski almost scores again seconds later! He receives a pass with his back to goal and easily slips past Zagadou. Burki has to make a diving save to keep him from making it 3-0.
18- TOR! FC BAYERN! Robert Lewandowski! Bayern Munich 2-0 Borussia Dortmund!
Lewandowski pops into the path of a lazy pass from Zagadou and touches it past Burki on a break. With Zagadou bearing down, Lewandowski does a scissor kick to smash it into the back of the net to put Bayern up 2-0!
16- Coman is really just having his way on the outside with Piszczek at the moment. He can’t keep up with the winger’s speed up and down the flanks.
15- Since the goal, Bayern haven’t really allowed anytime from BVB to get set up on the offensive side of things for any type of possession. The players are still flying around the park, pressuring BVB from the moment they receive the ball.
10- TOR! FC BAYERN! Mats Hummels! Bayern Munich 1-0 Borussia Dortmund!
A terrific corner kick from Thiago right into the huddle of players in the penalty area, and Hummels rises above everyone to smash his header past Burki! Bayern take the early 1-0 lead!
9’- We’re already reaching the point of absurdity from BVB for ridiculously hard fouls.
6’- OFF THE POST! BVB break out on a counter, but Dahoud tries to finesse his shot and smacks it off the outside of the post.
3’- DRAMA! A terrific ball behind the BVB backline from Muller finds it’s way into the path of Lewandowski. His touch isn’t perfect, but he’s bodychecked off the ball by Diallo and can’t recover. If that contact happens at midfield, it’s certainly a foul, but we know that’s not how referees call games. Still scoreless.
1’ — Kickoff! We are underway in Munich.
One hour until kickoff: Lineups are out! James Rodriguez is indeed on the bench.
Der Klassiker is here, folks! Niko Kovac’s Bayern Munich host Borussia Dortmund at the Allianz Arena, and a win will be necessary if the club want to win the Bundesliga. This is perhaps the biggest game of the season.
Unlike the Hinrunde game, Bayern Munich have Thiago Alcantara and Kingsley Coman fit and available. That could make a huge difference to the outcome of the game. James Rodriguez is doubtful for the game, but he did participate in the final training session before the game so he should be available. Manuel Neuer and David Alaba are both back from injury. Only Arjen Robben and Alphonso Davies are confirmed to be unavailable.
Aside from a potential James Rodriguez / Thomas Muller conundrum, Kovac is has been spared selection headaches this time around. Robert Lewandowski basically selects himself, as does Serge Gnabry, Kingsley Coman, Thiago, and the entire defense. That just leaves the question of Leon Goretzka and Javi Martinez — who will partner Thiago in midfield? We did a breakdown of that here.
Whatever the coach chooses, it’s the team’s duty to win this and keep fighting for the title. As Uli Hoeness said, nothing other than a win can be acceptable for us.
It’s Bayern time.
Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Time: 6:30 pm local time, 12:30 pm EST
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