Dortmund stopped playing football in second half, says Klopp

The 47-year-old was unhappy with his side’s performance after the break and admitted they did not deserve a better result

Jurgen Klopp has voiced his frustration with the way Borussia Dortmund gave away victory in Saturday’s Bundesliga match against Bayern Munich.

BVB went 1-0 up before the break through Marco Reus, but goals from Robert Lewandowski and Arjen Robben in the second half eventually saw the reigning champions bag the full three points, much to the disappointment of Klopp.

“It was a close game. We had a good first half, but weren’t as good after the break. In the end, we simply could not cope with Bayern’s pressure and the loss was not undeserved,” Klopp told Sky.

“The problem in the second half was that we stopped playing football. We started hitting long balls and did not move forward any more. Bayern’s pressure became worse and worse. We had the desire, but couldn’t bring it any more.

“We were no longer in control in the second half and Mats Hummels’ injury didn’t help either.

“The situation we are going through now is clearly a bad thing. We have so many areas where we must improve and this was obvious again here.”

Dortmund have dropped to 16th spot in the Bundesliga table following this weekend’s results, having collected seven points from 10 games.

Bayern Munich 2-1 Borussia Dortmund: Robben wins it late as BVB nightmare continues

Marco Reus had given the visitors the lead but Robert Lewandowski and the Dutchman were on target to give the home side the win

Robert Lewandowski and Arjen Robben broke the hearts of Jurgen Klopp and Borussia Dortmund as they scored to give Bayern Munich all three points in a 2-1 over their rivals.

Returning Robben sealed the points form the penalty spot in the 85th minute as an influential substitute appearance from Franck Ribery – continuing to work towards full fitness after his recent injury problems – helped to turn the contest in Bayern’s favour.

Poland international Lewandowski, who swapped Signal Iduna Park for the Allianz Arena during the close-season, equalised in the 72nd minute after Marco Reus – the subject of the latest tug-of-war between German football’s two heavyweights – had put Dortmund ahead.

Reus was the focus of much of the build-up after Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge expressed a possible interest in signing the Germany international earlier in the week.

Dortmund coach Klopp reacted coldly to Rummenigge’s words at his pre-match press conference, but Reus offered the prefect riposte when he headed home after a blistering 32nd-minute counter attack.

The visitors were indebted to goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller for preserving their lead before Lewandowski and Robben ultimately extended Dortmund’s worrying Bundesliga slump that has now reaped just one point from their last seven matches.

Back in the Bayern side following a thigh complaint, Robben almost scored a brilliant sixth-minute opener as he ran onto Mario Gotze’s backheel to rattle the crossbar via a vital tip Weidenfeller .

Klopp’s team responded through Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who drove at a backpeddling Bayern defence to shoot narrowly past the right-hand post.

Weidenfeller clattered a clearance into the back of Mkhitaryan’s head, forcing a spell of treatment for his team-mate, but the goalkeeper produced a far more useful contribution in the 24th minute – getting down to keep out a shot from Robben after a trademark cut-in from the flank.

Weidenfeller’s opposite number, Manuel Neuer, produced a fine stop to thwart Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the 30th minute after Mkhitaryan had beaten the Bayern backline.

The champions did not heed that warning, though, and a minute later Shinji Kagawa sent Aubameyang racing away down the right, with his cross converted as Reus caught Mehdi Benatia flat footed.

Thomas Muller went agonisingly close to providing a decisive touch on Robben’s low cross and then called Weidenfeller into action with a looping header as Bayern sought a quick response.

Lewandowski and Robben combined superbly to send Muller through on goal in the 38th minute, but Weidenfeller was equal to the task once more

A twisting, turning Robben had the goalkeeper committed five minutes before the break, only for Sven Bender to preserve Dortmund’s advantage with a crucial block.

Weidenfeller’s excellent performance continued after the break, the shot-stopper keeping out Lewandowski’s effort with his feet in the 51st minute when his former colleague should have scored.

With an hour played, Sebastian Kehl found Kagawa only for the Japan international to skilfully turn Jerome Boateng and fire a low shot wide, while Benatia headed off target from close range.

The equaliser arrived when Neven Subotic – on at half-time for injured centre-back Mats Hummels – could only partially cut out substitute Ribery’s throughball, allowing Lewandowski to lash home from the edge of the area.

And there was worse to come for Subotic as he clumsily hauled Ribery over for Robben to convert the decisive spot-kick with five minutes left, handing Bayern a four-point lead at the Bundesliga summit and leaving Dortmund languishing third-bottom.

Gotze is every striker's dream – Lewandowski

The Poland international has lauded his team-mate’s ability to unlock defences and spoke of his friendship with Marco Reus

Bayern Munich star Roberto Lewandowski says every striker in the world dreams of playing alongside a passer of the quality of team-mate Mario Gotze.

The pair developed a profitable understanding at Borussia Dortmund before both departed the club for the Allianz Arena over the past two years, where they have resumed their partnership.

BVB are Bayern’s opponents in the Bundesliga on Saturday and ahead of the game Lewandowski spoke highly of Gotze’s qualities on the back of the Germany international’s fine start to the campaign.

 “I love to play with Mario. His technical skills are incredible, every striker in the world can only dream of his passing,” he said.

Earlier this week, Marco Reus refused to commit his future to Dortmund and has been tipped to become the third player to leave the club for Bayern in as many summers in 2015.

His former Signal Iduna Park team-mate, Lewandowski, spoke of his friendship with the 25-year-old – whose release clause drops to €25 million in June – but did his best to avoid talking up a possible move.

He added: “Marco is a super player with whom I’ve always got on very well… But I should not say too much on the topic – otherwise there will be a lot more speculation and I still get in trouble with my ex-team-mates.”

Dortmund and Bayern go into Saturday’s game in contrasting frames of mind. BVB have won just two of their opening nine games and sit 15th in the table, while Bayern top the league having made an unbeaten start to the season.

However, BVB did get the better of their rivals in the German Super Cup back in August, with goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan sealing a 2-0 triumph. 

Guardiola's 3-3-4 genius maps out Bayern future

The Spaniard has blended tactics from Hungary’s great side of the 1950s and his all-conquering Barcelona team to give the Bavarians their own innovative brand of football

By Peter Staunton

Bayern Munich hired Pep Guardiola to give their club a brand of football.

The Bavarians had, of course, been highly-successful all throughout their history. However, their major wins had all been achieved using the preferred style of football of the coach at the time. There was no philosophy embedded in Bayern players from top to bottom as seen in many of Barcelona’s great sides.

Johann Cruyff gave Barca their modern template and they have been playing football based on his teachings for more than 20 years. That is why Guardiola, a Catalan through and through, was the man brought in by Bayern.

He was not, however, there to make a Barca-lite. The chief concern for some Bayern observers was that Guardiola would simply use the same tactics he had used at Barca B and with the first team. He had, after all, not coached beyond Camp Nou and had expressed the Barca way faithfully throughout his time at the club.

“My Bayern are different to my Barcelona,” Pep told Uefa. “But both are great teams with two great properties – they let me do what I believe in and put my thoughts into action.”

He is no ideologue. Last season showed that, yes, Bayern would seek to have even more of the ball than they did under Jupp Heynckes. Don’t forget though that, under Heynckes, Bayern routinely had all their outfield players in the opposition half looking for space and maintaining possession.

Pep did ask his players to work a little differently than they had been used to. Occasionally, it didn’t work out and Bayern looked stagnant. There was sterile dominance when they had the ball but did not do very much with it. Sometimes they had to go back to what they liked best and play with a 4-2-3-1 like the season before. When it worked, however, it was glorious. Bayern gave Europe 80 minutes of their best in the Champions League defeat of Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in October. That was when all the pieces clicked together for Pep and for his players.

By the time Bayern lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final though there were some calls for Guardiola to leave his job. He had tried to alter the European champions beyond all recognition and failed at the highest hurdle. There was widespread criticism that Guardiola the fundamentalist had failed to cater to his players’ best attributes and a 4-0 defeat at home was the result.

The reality is somewhat different. Guardiola admits that the Real Madrid game was the worst night of his coaching career. However, that is not because his players failed to play Guardiola football. Worse, it was because he abandoned his principles. He tried to overload the attack and ceded space to Real, who need no second invitation to counter attack. That defeat only served to strengthen Guardiola’s determination to always play in a manner true to his convictions.

“Our way of playing is excellent for the [opposition] as we defend 40 metres in front of Manuel Neuer,” Pep says. “But I won’t change my tactics. I have always played my teams very far forward ever since my first day at Barcelona B.”

He promised there would be further development this season. It’s a rare thing indeed for Pep, not only to line up with the same XI from game to game, but with the same strategy. Every match is planned out meticulously. Bayern will play according to the strengths of the opposition and deal best with their attacking threats. Combine this specific instruction with the lion’s share of the ball in meaningful possession, away from Bayern’s goal, and you have Guardiola’s plan.

In his book, Pep Confidential, author Marti Perarnau, who spent the entirety of Guardiola’s first season at Bayern by his side, described the five elements that the coach values most as a result of his time in the Bundesliga. Working out how to counter counter-attacks, how to defend and attack aerially, aggressive pressing high up the pitch, the use of two midfielders instead of his preferred one and the exploitation of space on the flanks. It is no longer enough to say that Bayern play with a 4-3-3 or a 4-5-1 or a 4-2-3-1.

The formation? It doesn’t matter. Bayern have lined up with two, three and four defenders. They have lined up with similar variations in midfield and up front. They even appeared to play in a WM formation, which was adapted by Gusztav Sebes during the 1950s with his glorious Hungary team. Pep has delved into the archives on more than one occasion looking for solutions. The Magic Magyars’ deployment of Nandor Hidegkuti in a forerunner of the “false 9” coloured his thinking in using Lionel Messi there for Barcelona. Guardiola teams do not play in conventional positions but, instead, seek to best occupy the space on the field.

It’s about meeting the opposition in possession high up the pitch and winning the ball back quickly. When Bayern have the ball, it’s about stringing enough passes together to disrupt the organisation in the opposition ranks and find space for the attackers. The game against Roma, combined with beating Werder Bremen 6-0, probably represented the best week of football Bayern have played this season – not only in terms of the result but in how the games were executed.

“We played well,” Guardiola said after the Bremen victory. “Good build-up play, great positioning and the right attitude.” And that just about summarises what Guardiola seeks.

He has moved his team shape beyond categorisation. The team-sheets for Bayern’s 7-1 destruction of Roma suggested for example that David Alaba would play right back. He in fact played in the second line of what looked like a 2-3-3-2 with Jerome Boateng and Medhi Benatia the only true defenders in the team. It was exquisite, jaw-dropping football.

“The coach and the coaching team set us up really well for our opponents,” captain Philipp Lahm told the press after the Roma game. “We knew what we were up against, how to defend against them and performances like tonight’s are the result of that.”

There will be a new way to play against Dortmund though. Not much should be read into the 2-0 defeat suffered by Bayern to Dortmund in this year’s German Super Cup. Bayern were without some of their most important players and fielded close to a shadow team.

Without Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, their chief attackers, Bayern were unable to increase the pace of their play after holding possession. It became what Pep hates – passing for passing’s sake. With those two back, expect Bayern to find plenty of opportunity on the flanks to attack Dortmund’s full backs as Juan Bernat, Alaba and Rafinha join up with the play further forward.

Guardiola won praise for the manner in which he orchestrated Bayern’ 3-0 win over Jurgen Klopp’s team at Signal Iduna Park last season. He mixed up the play, using long balls occasionally to counter Dortmund’s intense midfield pressing, before unleashing Thiago Alcantara and Mario Gotze to decide the game in the second half. He will no doubt have a new plan today but don’t expect it to look like last season’s.

Pep is not wedded to any one tactic. He is wedded to winning.

Rummenigge: Dortmund guilty of double standards over Reus

The Bayern chief has pointed out that the Signal Iduna Park side signed the forward from Borussia Monchengladbach by meeting his buy-out clause

Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has accused Borussia Dortmund of double standards over their furious reaction to his comments on Marco Reus’ contractual situation.

BVB were outraged when Rumenigge publicly stated during the summer that the Germany international’s buy-out clause will drop to €25 million next summer.

However, the Bayern chief finds Dortmund’s anger ironic given their Bundesliga rivals acquired Reus in 2012 by meeting his €17.1m buy-out clause at former club Borussia Monchengladbach.

“How is the situation different to his move to Dortmund?” Rummenigge is quoted as saying by SID.

“Thanks to the buy-out clause, BVB managed to prise Marco away from Monchengladbach.”

Rummenigge also dismissed the accusation that one of Bayern’s primary goals ever summer is to continually strip Dortmund’s squad of its most valuable assets, with the Bavarians having lured both Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski away from Signal Iduna Park over the past 18 months.

“We don’t need to weaken anybody,” he insisted. “Each transfer has just one goal: to increase the quality of our team.

“Having BVB as a strong competitor for Bayern is good for the whole of the Bundesliga.

“They have a good team, a good coach and good directors. What BVB have created in recent years is no accident, but rather the result of good work.”

Rummenigge admitted, though, that Bayern are delighted that Gotze is finally flourishing after a difficult debut season at the Allianz Arena following his move from Dortmund.

“The boy has been through an incredibly good development since the World Cup,” he enthused.

“He not only scores important goals, he is now playing the way we like.”