• Matthew Whiley

Match Report: Bayern Munich 4-2 Borussia Dortmund (06/03/21)

Robert Lewandowski netted a sensational hat-trick as Bayern Munich came from two goals down to defeat Borussia Dortmund in a thrilling Der Klassiker at the Allianz Arena.

Despite Erling Haaland’s early brace for the visitors, it was Lewandowski who stole the headlines, as he first pulled Bayern back level prior to the break with two of his own, before following up Leon Goretzka’s late strike by completing his hat-trick.

The result meant the hosts immediately returned to the top of the Bundesliga, having been momentarily usurped following nearest challengers RB Leipzig’s 3-0 victory at Freiburg.

Initially, however, they were given an almighty shock when Dortmund’s boy wonder Haaland put his side two goals to the good inside ten minutes.

With just 74 seconds on the clock, the Norwegian drove a powerful shot into the bottom corner from outside the box before finishing a wonderful flowing counter attack by coolly converting Thorgan Hazard’s cutback seven minutes later.

Although Bayern were dominating possession, Edin Terzić’s visitors were confidently dealing with what was being thrown at them, while remaining a threat on the counter.

However, Thomas Meunier should have done much better when he raced through down the right, bizarrely opting to unsuccessfully attempt to find Haaland in the middle rather than fire off a shot.

That would come back to bite Dortmund, as just over 15 minutes later and shortly after striking the side netting with his weaker left foot, Lewandowski converted Leroy Sané’s low cross to kick-start the comeback.

The Pole then confidently sent Marwin Hitz the wrong way to level from the spot on the stroke of half time after Kingsley Coman had been caught by Mahmoud Dahoud.

A slower second half massively contrasted with the end-to-end nature of the first, and the visitors were pushed onto the back foot when Haaland was forced off with an ankle injury on the hour mark.

Dortmund defended resolutely for much of the remaining half an hour, but just when it looked like they might come away with a point, Goretzka popped up two minutes from time to break their hearts.

In attempting to clear Thomas Müller’s delivery, Meunier could only succeed in deflecting it straight to Goretzka, who grabbed the opportunity to fire into Hitz’s bottom corner.

Lewandowski then made the game safe just two minutes later when he also found the bottom corner from the edge of the box to seal his 12th Bundesliga hat-trick, ensuring Hansi Flick’s men remain on course for their ninth Bundesliga title in a row.

Bayern produce stirring comeback

Czech coach and commentator Josef Csaplár is reputedly responsible for producing an old footballing adage, that a 2-0 lead is the most dangerous lead, with the phrase known in the Czech Republic as “Csaplár’s trap”.

Given that this contest was taking place just under 100 miles from the country where Csaplár was born, Dortmund might have been wise to pay attention to it, as ultimately Csaplár was proven utterly correct.

Despite racing into an early advantage, the visitors’ counter-attacking style of play meant much of the action took place in their half, affording Bayern 80 minutes to spin the game on its head.

An incisive pass after patient build-up allowed the hosts to halve the deficit, but a flappy Dortmund were then the architects of their own downfall.

Mahmoud Dahoud fell victim to some excellent footwork from Kingsley Coman, catching all of the man and none of the ball, with the trickery so inch perfect that referee Marco Fritz initially believed that Dahoud’s challenge was perfectly legal.

VAR soon corrected that, with Fritz needing no time at all to review the pitch-side monitor and determine that Dahoud had indeed fouled Coman, with Lewandowski stepping up to restore parity.

Hansi Flick’s European champions still required another to complete the turnaround, and for large periods of the second half, it appeared as though they might just fall short of getting it.

However, a miscalculation by Meunier opened up the tiny advantage they had been searching for, with Goretzka rifling in before Lewandowski applied the finishing touch.

It was a bitter end to a night that had started in such spectacular fashion for Dortmund, but it once again underlined the recent stranglehold that Bayern have developed, both on their rivals and on the Bundesliga.

Two of the world’s best go head-to-head

It is commonly accepted in world footballing circles that had the Ballon d’Or not been cancelled in 2020, it would have been awarded to Robert Lewandowski.

His 47 goals in the calendar year saw him top Europe’s scoring charts for the second year running, and he did win the Best FIFA Men’s Player award, but it is the Ballon d’Or that remains treasured above all else.

He already has 17 goals so far in 2021, and although he will turn 33 in August, there seems to be no end in sight to the Pole’s goalscoring exploits just yet.

Despite that, Lewandowski’s age means speculation about who could replace him as the Bundesliga’s top marksman when he does move on is beginning to pick up, and most are pointing to one man.

In 20-year-old Erling Braut Haaland, Dortmund brought with them to Munich their own superstar striker, who has hit 12 goals since January, and his two strikes moved him onto 100 senior career goals in only 146 games.

It was a terrible shame to see the Norwegian forced off after an hour, as it immeasurably reduced Dortmund’s threat going forward, but Lewandowski has no time for sentiment.

He ruthlessly claimed his hat trick as the game ticked into injury time to ensure that Haaland, the young pretender to his Bundesliga throne, remains second-best for now.

Dortmund continue miserable Allianz run

The result continued Bayern’s recent dominance of the biggest game in German club football, with their fifth Klassiker win in a row meaning they have now equalled the club’s best ever run in this fixture.

That run was previously set between 1968 and 1970, but the level of dominance that Hansi Flick’s men have shown over their rivals recently will surely give them confidence that a 50-year record might be about to go.

The major problem for Dortmund is not so much that they have now lost on their last six visits to the Allianz Arena, but the manner in which they have been so ruthlessly demolished.

Since the start of 2018, five Der Klassiker matches have taken place at the home of Bayern, and on aggregate, Dortmund have lost them 22-4, at one point losing back-to-back games 6-0, 5-0, and 4-0.

Conceding, on average, more than four goals a game is catastrophic in anyone’s book, and although easier said than done, it is imperative that Dortmund end their Allianz hoodoo if they are to wrestle back the Bundesliga trophy from their rivals.

Player ratings

Bayern Munich: Neuer (GK) (c) 6, Süle 6, Boateng 6 (Martínez 70’ 6), Alaba 6, Davies 7, Kimmich 7, Goretzka 8, Sané 7 (Hernández 90+1’ 6), Müller 7 (Choupo-Moting 90+1’ 6), Coman 8 (Gnabry 66’ 7), Lewandowski 10.

Unused: Hoffmann (GK), Sarr, Roca, Dantas, Musiala.

Borussia Dortmund: Hitz (GK) 5, Can 6, Hummels 6, Zagadou 5 (Morey 70’ 6), Meunier 5, Dahoud 6, Delaney 7 (Bellingham 70’ 6), Schulz 7, Reus (c) 6 (Reinier 76’ 6), Hazard 8 (Brandt 60’ 6), Haaland 9 (Tigges 60’ 6).

Unused: Bürki (GK), Moukoko, Piszczek, Passlack.