FC Bayern convincingly beat Borussia Dortmund 4-1 in Saturday evening's top-of-the-table Bundesliga clash. Franck Ribéry and Robert Lewandowski handed the German record champions a two-goal lead in the first ten minutes, but Raphael Guerreiro pulled one back midway through the first half. Arjen Robben and Lewandowski twisted the knife after the restart in a wonderfully entertaining edition of Der Klassiker that more than lived up to its billing.
The champions started with Sven Ulreich between the sticks and Philipp Lahm, Jérôme Boateng, Javi Martínez and David Alaba in a back four. Xabi Alonso and Arturo Vidal featured in twin holding roles behind Thiago, who was flanked by Robben and Franck Ribéry, with Lewandowski as an orthodox centre-forward.
Carlo Ancelotti made four changes to the XI from the midweek Hoffenheim match. Skipper Lahm and Jérome Boateng came in for Rafinha and Mats Hummels in defence, with Thiago and Ribéry taking over from Renato Sanches and Kingsley Coman. Joshua Kimmich, Douglas Costa and Hummels replaced Lewandowski, Ribéry and Martínez late into the second half.
Plain sailing before Guerreiro steps up
Der Klassiker has often seen absorbing, tactical battles of wits in recent years, but on Saturday the 75,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw both sides focus on attack rather than containing their opponents in the highly entertaining opening stages, this despite the away side's 5-3-2 formation. Barely three minutes had been played when the Reds drew first blood, Ribéry blasting home from 15 yards after a Lahm cross, netting Bayern's quickest goal this term.
The wing wizard soon wriggled clear near the Borussia box, and BVB defender Marc Bartra had to resort to a foul to stop the Frenchman, match official Marco Fritz awarding a free-kick from a promising position. Up stepped Lewandowski and unleashed a curler that sailed over a ducking Ousmane Dembélé in the wall and into the bottom corner of the net, leaving visiting netminder Roman Bürki with no chance. Bayern peppered Borussia's goal with shots now, Robben missing two presentable chances.
The pattern changed when Vidal produced a poor clearance that found Raphael Guerreiro, who pulled one back, crashing home a fulminating belter from 20 yards. The Black and Yellows got a grip on the contest now, the pace dropping a little and more time elapsing between Bayern's chances, with more and more tough tackles and many breaks in play. Bürki saved another Robben effort before Lewandowski miscued a finish.
Arjen and Lewy twist the knife
The second half started like the first one, and Robben soon restored Bayern's two goal-lead, charging down the right wing and cutting inside in his trademark manner to curl the ball past Bürki from the edge of the box, crowning a blistering display. The Dutchman almost bagged a brace, but a similar effort went just over the bar.
Bayern soon had to thank Boateng, who scrambled a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang effort off the line, but barely 60 seconds later Bürki felled a charging Lewandowski in the opposite box, the Pole striker tucking away the ensuing penalty to twist the knife. Bayern now imposed their passing game, still shining intermittently to the boisterous home crowd's chants, Kimmich hitting the side-netting with a quarter-hour to go. Ulreich performed miracles to save a Christian Pulisic effort in the dying seconds of the match before Marco Fritz put the visitors out of their misery.
The result means Bayern have 68 points from 28 matches, ten clear of RB Leipzig who won against Bayer Leverkusen earlier on Saturday. The Bavarians are back in action on Wednesday evening, when they entertain Real Madrid in a mouth-watering Champions League quarter-final first leg before travelling to face Leverkusen in the Bundesliga next Saturday. In the light of Saturday's triumph many will find it hard to wait for the Bavarians' next encounter with Borussia, and there is good news as the two heavyweights meet again in three weeks in the DFB Cup last four.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
FC Bayern - Borussia Dortmund 4-1 (H-T: 2-1)
Ulreich - Lahm, Boateng, Martínez (Hummels 79), Alaba - Alonso, Vidal - Robben, Thiago, Ribéry (Costa 74) - Lewandowski (Kimmich 72)
Starke, Rafinha, Bernat, Coman
Bürki – Ginter, Sokratis, Bartra - Passlack, Castro (Rode 46), Guerreiro (Merino 69), Schmelzer Dembélé (59) - Aubameyang, Pulisic
Weidenfeller, Piszcek, Bender, Sahin
Marco Fritz (Korb)
|Goals||1-0 Ribéry (4), 2-0 Lewandowski (10), 2-1 Guerreiro (20), 3-1 Robben (49), 4-1 Lewandowski (68, pen)|
Lewandowski, Vidal / Passlack, Bartra, Bürki