Robert Lewandowski scored a hattrick as Bayern Munich came from behind to beat Borussia Dortmund 4-2 … [+]
We really should have never expected any different from this Bayern Munich side. Even after going down 2-0 against an in-form Borussia Dortmund. Even after the Rekordmeister was put under further pressure after RB Leipzig’s masterclass against SC Freiburg, which saw the Red Bulls momentarily take first place from Bayern in the Bundesliga table.
Hyped by the Deutsche Fußball Liga and shown live on ABC, the worry was that Bayern Munich would once again dismantle Borussia Dortmund, putting water on the mills of those that have doubted the quality of the Bundesliga as a marketable product in the United States. And if you did not watch the game, you might be validated in your preconception of the Bundesliga. The reality was that Dortmund stormed out of the gates with Erling Haaland, giving them a 2-0 lead after scoring in the 2nd and 9th minute.
As exciting as the Black and Yellows have been to watch over the last few decades, the club’s ability to throw away a good position has become unparalleled in world football. In the 25th minute, Thomas Meunier was through into Bayern’s box, but instead of hammering the ball past Neuer and making it 3-0, the Frenchman opted to pass. Bayern quickly won the ball, and Leroy Sané would eventually set up Robert Lewandowski for his 29th Bundesliga goal of the season.
Then just before halftime, it was 2-2. Mahmoud Dahoud had fouled Kingsley Coman inside the box. Referee Marco Fritz missed the foul in realtime but pointed to the spot after watching the scene one more time in the review area. Lewandowski stepped up and scored his 30th Bundesliga goal.
Erling Haaland scored the first two of the game. But Borussia Dortmund was unable to hold on. (Photo … [+]
In retrospect, Fritz’s decision will likely lead to some debate. Because in the 48th minute, Marco Reus was brought down in what appeared to be a foul inside the box. Fritz, or the VAR referee, did not opt for a second glance. The foul was likely outside the box on closer inspection, but the lack of a further review will likely lead to at least some raised eye-brows inside the Dortmund camp.
Things then went quickly from bad to worse for BVB. In the 60th minute, Haaland had to be taken off with what appeared to be an Achilles-injury. Without their main striker up front, Dortmund looked toothless, allowing Bayern to take command of the game quickly.
“We needed great energy to come back,” Bayern midfielder Leon Goretzka said after the game to the media. “Dortmund were more defensive after their goals, but in the end, they couldn’t deal with our constant pressure.”
With the pressure increasing it was Goretzka, who would finally find a way through in the 88th minute.”I had to react very quickly, it wasn’t really planned,” Goretzka said after the game. “It was intuitive. Scoring the decisive goal in the closing stages would have been nicer if the stadium was full.”
BVB fans might see it a bit differently. Dortmund defender Emre Can, in particular, protested after the goal suggesting that there was a foul in the buildup. Bayern did not care and just two minutes later, Lewandowski completed his hattrick. The Pole now has 31 goals and just needs nine more to beat Gerd Müller’s record 40 goals 1971/72 Bundesliga season.
Overall it was a deserved result by Bayern, who showed why their undoubtedly the best team in the world. But in Leipzig, the Rekordmeister looks to be challenged all the way this season as the two clubs remain just two points apart. Dortmund, in the meantime, will feel fortunate that their top four competitors Wolfsburg (1-2 against Hoffenheim) and Eintracht Frankfurt (1-1 against Stuttgart), have also dropped points on Saturday.
Manuel Veth is the editor-in-chief of the Futbolgrad Network and the Area Manager USA at Transfermarkt. He has also been published in the Guardian, Newsweek, Howler, Pro Soccer USA, and several other outlets. Follow him on Twitter: @ManuelVeth