For a nervy few moments at the start of this latest edition of Der Klassiker, Borussia Dortmund looked like they had come to play. Bayern Munich were facing their sternest title challenge in years — would they be up to the task?
“We had a nervous start. If we had lost the game, the title would have largely been decided,” Bayern’s Joshua Kimmich said gravely after the game (via @iMiaSanMia). “We we lucky to take the lead, but we didn’t control the game for 90 minutes. We didn’t really want to make the game so wild and back-and-forth, but we didn’t succeed.”
Kimmich’s comments throw in sharp relief just how much was at stake on Saturday. The visitors already had an outright lead in the table; had they won, Dortmund would have enjoyed a four-point lead with just eight games to play, and without another chance for Bayern to directly challenge them. For a team that’s been taking care of business lately, BVB would have rightly been considered favorites.
In typical Dortmund fashion, however, it all fell apart for them against Bayern. But in typical Bayern fashion for this season, they could never quite put the pedal to the metal and in the second half seemed to almost invite their foes back into the match.
“We have to control the game better and get more rest periods into the game,” Kimmich concluded. “We played a bit different system today, 4-2-3-1. He (new head coach Thomas Tuchel) did that well, he tried to find a system in which we could find our strengths on the pitch.”
Next up: back-to-back matches against SC Freiburg, in the DFB-Pokal and then the Bundesliga. Two matches to sharpen things up in time for Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Interested in a more in-depth look at the game? Curious about why Thomas Tuchel chose a 4-2-3-1? How did it differ from Nagelsmann’s Bayern? We talk about all that and more in our postgame podcast. Listen to it below or at this link.
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