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Three observations from Bayern Munich’s thrilling 3-2 win over Borussia Dortmund

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Borussia Dortmund upped their tempo in the second half, but Bayern Munich’s gritty and efficient approach to the game helped them clinch fifth piece of silverware in the year 2020.

FC Bayern München v Borussia Dortmund - Supercup 2020 Photo by Andreas Gebert - Pool/Getty Images

Hansi Flick’s recalibrated game plan

After Bayern Munich were slumped to a 1-4 loss at Hoffenheim, Hansi Flick made some noticeable changes to the team’s usual playing-style in the DFL Supercup against Borussia Dortmund. The first adjustment was seen in Bayern’s first-half pressing. The Bavarians were not as aggressive in their gegenpressing and remained cautious of their positioning whenever Dortmund started playing out from the back. The players didn’t overcommit in numbers while trying to win the ball in opposition’s half and maintained the team’s constantly shifting 4-1-4-1 or 4-2-3-1 structure throughout the course of the match.

While having possession, a combination of Thomas Muller’s absence in attacking-midfield and Dortmund’s midfield block resulted in Bayern progressing the ball through wider areas. However, the interesting part of the game was the introduction of counter-attacks. Today’s game gave a glimpse of Bayern’s potential in counter-attacking style as the quadruple winners were able to create dangerous chances and even scored the opener on a fast break. Bayern’s Raumdeuter, who has now become the most decorated German player of all time, was the chief in initializing those plays. Muller had to fill-in for Serge Gnabry but his vision and well-weighted passing from midfield coupled with the return of speedster wingers in the lineup will be instrumental for Flick’s men in conquering the art of counter-attacking football, this season.

As a result of their efficient game plan, the Reds were able to save energy as well as hurt Dortmund despite having only one winger in the starting XI. Speaking of that winger...


The importance of Kingsley Coman

Kingsley Coman’s end product has been subjected to criticism but the 24-year old winger’s absence was clearly felt after he was substituted for Serge Gnabry at the 55-minute mark. Together with Alphonso Davies — who looks to have returned to full fitness, Bayern’s Mr. Lisbon wreaked havoc on Dortmund’s right side of the defense and was a constant presence in the team’s counter attacks.

FC Bayern München v Borussia Dortmund - Supercup 2020 Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Similar to his outing in UEFA Champions League finale against Paris Saint-Germain, the young Frenchman’s tremendous ability of taking defenders one-on-one was on full display. His presence kept the black-and-yellow defenders on their toes and as soon as he was substituted, Dortmund were able to effectively neutralize most of Bayern’s attacks.


Dortmund’s resilient second-half pressing

Dortmund’s second-half display of football was truly impressive. In the first 45 minutes, Die Borussen focused on outnumbering Bayern’s backline in the buildup and formed a tight midfield block in front of it. In the second half, however, the black-and-yellow players went the extra mile as they stopped being passive and started charging the Bayern center-backs.

Their pressing disrupted the Bavarians’ build-up play and they were able to create substantial danger by forcing turnovers. Both of Dortmund’s goals came after they won the ball through their pressing and anticipation-play, and hitting Bayern on the break. For a man who is for known his smart positioning, Benjamin Pavard was caught racing back whenever the bumblebees launched a counter-attack using teenage sensation Erling Håland as outlet.

Nevertheless, Dortmund lacked the precision in their final passing and the collective defending of the Niklas Sule-Lucas Hernandez-Javi Martinez trio gave the rest of Bayern players enough time to get behind the ball.

FC Bayern München v Borussia Dortmund - Supercup 2020 Photo by Andreas Gebert - Pool/Getty Images