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Just reward

Bayern’s ‘good feeling’ after beating BVB

The converted penalty five minutes from time was a relief. Matthias Sammer embraced Pep Guardiola. The fans hugged each other. And the players ran to goalscorer Arjen Robben to celebrate, before gathering for a quick huddle. “Let’s all defend and wrap up the win. There are only a few minutes until the final whistle.” The brief team-talk, revealed later by Robben, bore fruit. Bayern retained control and made certain of what Philipp Lahm called “an absolutely deserved” but always hard-fought 2-1 home victory over Borussia Dortmund.

“We played very, very well and always believed we could win it,” enthused captain Lahm, “I’m delighted for the team.” The 71,000 crowd at the Allianz Arena saw an exciting, high-quality encounter between German football’s undisputed big two. Dortmund showed plenty of class in the first half and caused the champions problems with their rapid transitions and pacy counter-attacks. The opening goal from Marco Reus after 31 minutes came from one such fast break.

Bayern remained a goal down at the break because Pep Guardiola’s men failed to convert a number of good openings and also lost too many challenges. “But we upped the revs after half-time,” observed Manuel Neuer, “that was the reason we won.” Thomas Müller agreed: “We kept at it. We had the desire, we wanted it, and we were rewarded at the end.”

Ribéry’s decisive role

After 72 minutes, Robert Lewandowski equalised against his former club with his fifth league goal for Bayern. Robben completed the comeback from the penalty spot five minutes from time. Both goals were set up by sub Franck Ribéry. “He really helped us after coming on,” noted Guardiola, “we told him to use his ability in the one-on-one situations and he did it really well.” Ten games into the league season, FCB have now won seven and drawn three, maintaining a four-point lead at the top ahead of Wolfsburg and Mönchengladbach.

But what about BVB? The 2013 Champions League finalists have a paltry seven points and are languishing in the drop zone. “After a good first half and a less good second we eventually buckled under the pressure,” reflected coach Jürgen Klopp. However, Dortmund showed they will surely recover their usual form sooner rather than later. “They’re still a superb team, and they could well go a long way in the Champions League,” stated Robben.

Müller said that beating BVB was a “good feeling,” especially as Bayern had not done so at the Allianz Arena since February 2010. “We’re delighted with the win. It’s looking very good at the moment. Our passing was quick and accurate today,” observed Müller. However, the mood in the Bayern dressing room remains restrained and realistic. “It’s still only November. We don’t need to be looking at the table the whole time,” said Robben.