Borussia Dortmund secured a brilliant 3-2 win over Bayern Munich in the first Klassiker of the season, extending their lead at the top of the Bundesliga table to back to four points.
Robert Lewandowski returned to his old stomping ground and it appeared once again like the Pole would come back to haunt his former side after scoring twice. But a frantic second half, where Marco Reus scored two of his own and goal machine Paco Alcácer also found the back of the net, ensured all three points stayed at the Westfalenstadion.
Bayern Munich dominated the early stages of the game and eventually, they pounced on some poor defending to take the lead midway through the first half.
Serge Gnabry was offered time and space to put the ball on a plate for Robert Lewandowski, who continued his fine goalscoring form against his former club by nodding the ball past Dortmund’s helpless Bundesliga debutant Marwin Hitz.
Borussia Dortmund were given a lifeline just two minutes into the second half when Manuel Neuer brought down Marco Reus inside the penalty area and offered the hosts a way back into the match.
Reus dusted himself off and made no mistake from 12 yards, however, Bayern Munich took the lead once again within the blink of an eye, with Lewandowski scoring his second header of the match from close range.
The visitors’ joy was short-lived and Reus once again saw his name go up in lights courtesy of a stunning half-volley.
Things then went from bad to worse for Bayern Munich when substitute Paco Alcácer raced through on goal and dinked it over Neuer to score what would prove to be the decisive goal in a Klassiker match which will live long in the memory of fans across the world.
Key Talking Point
Lucien Favre’s game plan was working wonders throughout the first quarter of Der Klassiker. However, the remainder of the first half had to be scrapped as soon as Bayern Munich took the lead, putting a lot of emphasis on what would be changed at the break.
Favre’s hairdryer treatment at half time had worked wonders when Marco Reus levelled the scoreline, and despite some naive defending from Dortmund’s young players allowing Bayern Munich back into the lead, Dortmund eventually turned things around to register all three points.
Hitz (7); Piszczek (8), Akanji (7), Zagadou (7), Hakimi (8); Witsel (8), Weigl (3), Sancho (9*); Reus (9), Bruun Larsen (7), Götze (6).
Substitutes: Dahoud (6), Alcácer (8), Delaney (6).
Yes, Marco Reus scored a brace, but…
Jadon Sancho had a quiet first half in Der Klassiker. It appeared that the occasion was getting the better of the 18-year-old, and he looked like a shadow of what fans have come to expect this season.
However, after the break, Sancho was carrying Borussia Dortmund on his back. The teenager was the spark which the Black and Yellows needed during the second half and he brought the best out of fellow star performer Marco Reus.
No real surprises to see Julian Weigl take this spot, and many fans would have predicted this as soon as the team sheets were announced.
Weigl hasn’t been a regular part of Borussia Dortmund’s first team this season but he was thrown in at the deep end alongside Axel Witsel, as opposed to partnering the Belgian with Thomas Delaney.
He failed to live up to what Lucien Favre demands from his defensive midfielders, with sloppy passes, late tackles and all too often being caught on his heels just a small selection of Weigl’s shortcomings on Saturday.
Key Talking Point
It’s been all a bit doom and gloom in Bavaria this season, but Bayern Munich manager Niko Kova? finally appears to have stamped his mark on the German giants.
They will be making the long journey home empty-handed, but there were still a lot of positives for Bayern to take from the match, although serious questions now have to be asked about their ageing defence.
Neuer (6); Kimmich (8), Hummels (5), Boateng (7), Alaba (7); Martinez (4), Gnabry (8), Müller (6), Goretzka (7), Ribéry (8); Lewandowski (9*).
Substitutes: Süle (7), Sanches (6), Wagner (6).
Robert Lewandowski used his experience brilliantly to get the upper hand against Borussia Dortmund’s young defensive partnership of Manuel Akanji and Dan-Axel Zagadou.??
The Poland international did everything he could on his return to the Westfalenstadion and on two occasions put the visitors into the lead but, in the end, his efforts were to no avail as Dortmund rallied in the second half to snatch the win.
Lewandowski had the ball in the back of the net on four separate occasions on Saturday, but only half of his efforts counted due to him being caught in an offside position.
Midfielder Javi Martínez was a key part of Jupp Heynckes’ side last season, but the Spaniard looks lost under Niko Kova?.
He offered very little going forward and did even less to stop Borussia Dortmund’s counter-attacking game plan, falling short in his personal battle with the hosts’ Axel Witsel.
Borussia Dortmund can now rest ahead of their Bundesliga clash against FSV Mainz 05 after the international break, although their focus will likely be on the Champions League group stage match against Club Brugge four days later.
Bayern, meanwhile, have a more routine run of games coming up following the international break. Relegation-threatened Fortuna Düsseldorf and S.L. Benfica travel to Bavaria in their first two matches after the break.