Created on 01-11-2014 at 20:19 PM
The latest edition of the Bundesliga’s biggest fixture between Bayern and Borussia Dortmund, featuring eight World Cup winners and 12 players who took part in the tournament in Brazil, lived up to its billing for long spells on Saturday and ended in a deserved come-from-behind win for Munich based on the balance of play and chances.
The 71,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw an absorbing and high-paced first period with the better of the openings for the home team, but Pep Guardiola’s men fell behind to a Marco Reus header after 31 minutes. The Reds angrily piled on the pressure and created a string of decent chances, the reward finally coming on 72 minutes when Robert Lewandowski drove home the long overdue equaliser and then five minutes from time when Arjen Robben sealed the points from the spot.
The champions now have 24 points from ten games and are four ahead of new chief pursuers Wolfsburg at the head of the standings, with third and fourth-placed Mönchengladbach and Hoffenheim going head-to-head on Sunday. The Reds now face AS Roma at home in the Champions League on Wednesday before the Bundesliga trip to Frankfurt on Saturday 8 November.
Guardiola made three changes to the team that eased into the DFB Cup last sixteen away to Hamburg in midweek, with Mario Götze, Mehdi Benatia and fit-again Robben taking over from Rafinha, Dante and Franck Ribery. The Brazilian pair and the Frenchman took seats in the dugout alongside Xherdan Shaqiri, Claudio Pizarro and Sebastian Rode.
The men in red started with Manuel Neuer in goal and a back three of Benatia, Jerome Boateng and newly-crowned Austrian Sports Personality of the Year David Alaba. Xabi Alonso and captain Philipp Lahm took up holding roles, with Juan Bernat and Robben out wide and a front trio of Thomas Müller and BVB old boys Mario Götze and Lewandowski.
Dortmund boss Jürgen Klopp sent out his side in an ostensibly defensive 4-2-3-1 formation but there was attacking power aplenty with the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Shinji Kagawa, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Reus.
Home team foiled
Only five minutes after referee Manuel Gräfe whistled the match underway BVB keeper Roman Weidenfeller was forced to fist Robben’s sharp drive away for a corner, but the visitors created a couple of early chances too as Mkhitaryan grazed the outside of the post from 16 yards and Reus flipped an effort over the bar.
FCB bounced back and Müller steered Boateng’s chip just wide of the target before shooting acrobatically straight at Weidenfeller. A curious scene followed when the keeper blasted his kick from hand against the back of Mkhitaryan’s head, but the Armenian was able to continue after treatment.
Munich had a game on their hands but continued to press, Robben again testing Weidenfeller at his near post midway through the first half, although BVB clawed their way into it and Neuer had to look sharp on the half-hour with a reaction save when Aubameyang sprang the offside trap. It turned out to be a portent as the Gabun international scampered clear down the right a minute later and crossed for Reus to open the scoring with his head.
The league leaders battled for an equaliser but Weidenfeller scrambled Müller’s looping header away from goal, Bernat’s cross-shot fizzed wide, the BVB keeper saved from the unmarked Müller after a superb defence-splitting pass from Robben, and the Dutchman was crowded out with the goal at his mercy after a superb passing move to open up space on the right.
Strong second half comeback
Neven Subotic replaced limping former FCB youth Mats Hummels for BVB at half-time, but the home team kept up the pressure with Alonso’s deflected shot, Robben just failing to get enough on a left-footed sighter, and Weidenfeller standing up bravely to deny Lewandowski from Banatia’s tempting cross. Müller charged into the box but Sokratis got a foot in and the ball looped wide of the goal, with Benatia heading wide and Lewandowski toe-poking straight at the Borussia keeper.
Kagawa speared a rare Dortmund chance wide and Neuer claimed Aubameyang’s cross-cum-shot on the hour but it was near one-way traffic at this stage, Boateng flicking a header agonisingly wide of the far post, Weidenfeller gathering Robben’s curler, and Alaba’s direct free-kick drifting too high.
Guardiola sent on Ribery for Götze with 20 minutes to go and the Frenchman made an instant impact: his short pass on 72 minutes was intercepted but fell perfectly for Lewandowski to crash home the fully deserved equaliser from just outside the box. Pizarro took over from Müller for the last ten minutes and the Peru hitman was immediately denied by Weidenfeller, but Mr Gräfe pointed to the spot on 85 minutes when Subotic clearly hauled down Ribery in the box and Robben tucked away to ensuing penalty to wrap up an ultimately merited three points.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley