Borussia Dortmund 0-3 Bayern Munich: Gotze leads champions to second-half rout

Mario Gotze returned to haunt his old side as leaders Bayern Munich defeated Borussia Dortmund 3-0 at the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.

The midfielder – who made the switch to reigning champions Bayern for a €37 million fee in the close-season – came off the bench to light up a tepid encounter between the title rivals and break the deadlock before Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller added late goals to produce a scoreline that flattered the visitors.

Both sides were missing key players for the fixture, with Dortmund particularly hindered with their regular back four all unavailable.

In a first half bereft of chances, Robert Lewandowski, who was also linked with Bayern in the transfer window, wasted the best opportunity when he fired over from close range.

Gotze’s neat finish after 66 minutes finally brought the game to life before Robben and Muller also netted late on to extend Bayern’s unbeaten Bundesliga record to 38 matches and open up a seven-point gap over Dortmund, last season’s runners-up.

Jurgen Klopp handed a debut to centre-back Manuel Friedrich with Dortmund’s usual back four missing from the starting XI. Franck Ribery was absent with a rib injury for Bayern, while Gotze was only named as a substitute against his former club.

Klopp’s charges started brightly and Lewandowski should have hit the target when he fired his shot on the turn over the crossbar when unmarked in the area.

The hosts continued to look lively and Marco Reus broke clear of the defence shortly before the half-hour mark and stung the palms of Manuel Neuer with a left-foot strike.

Bayern had shown little going forward until good work on the left from Robben led to Mario Mandzukic’s acrobatic effort being beaten away from Roman Weidenfeller.

The same combination then nearly handed the away side the lead against the run of play on 38 minutes, but Mandzukic failed to make clean contact with Robben’s teasing cross into the six-yard area.

The first half came to an end in tempestuous circumstances as Mandzukic reacted angrily to a late challenge from Kevin Grosskreutz, with the latter lucky to avoid a red card when he appeared to aim a headbutt at the Croatian.

Neither side was able to put their stamp on the second half, until Pep Guardiola introduced Gotze to a chorus of boos from the home fans.

And the substitution paid dividends on 66 minutes when the Germany international controlled Thomas Muller’s pass from the right and finished to the far corner with the outside of his boot to silence the jeers.

Dortmund pressed for an equaliser with Henrikh Mkhitaryan firing wide from close range and Reus’ low drive forcing a superb reflex save from Neuer.

However, Bayern ended the game as a contest in the 85th minute when Robben broke clear of the Dortmund defence and applied a sublime chip over Weidenfeller.

And there was further cause for Bayern celebration just two minutes later. Robben sprayed the ball to Philipp Lahm and his centre was turned home by Muller as Bayern secured their first triumph in Dortmund since 2009.

Messi hails Ozil, Robben & Van Persie

The Ballon d’Or holder has lavished praise on “Germany’s undisputed star” and the Netherlands duo, whom he describes as class acts

Barcelona star Lionel Messi has revealed his admiration for Arsenal star Mesut Ozil, Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie of Manchester United.

Ozil and Messi clashed many times during the former’s time at Real Madrid, while Robben helped the Bavarian outfit thrash the Catalans 7-0 on aggregate in last season’s Champions League.

Van Persie, meanwhile, was part of the Arsenal side who sprung a surprise comeback on the Blaugrana in February 2011 and the 26-year-old Argentine is full of praise for all three players.

“Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Mesut Ozil are great players. Ozil is Germany’s undisputed star. He’s top class and incredibly creative,” the Ballon d’Or holder told De Telegraaf.

“Van Persie is a very complete player. He is an all-round attacker who can score loads of goals. Robben is a class act as well, but a different type of player.

“He’s very unpredictable. He’s very quick with his dribbles and can leave several players behind him with one acceleration.”

'Gotze will need ear plugs' – Lehmann

The former BVB keeper warned the 21-year-old to expect a hostile reception when he returns to his old stomping ground, while also backing Cristiano Ronaldo for the Ballon d’Or

Former Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has advised Bayern Munich’s Mario Gotze to wear ear plugs on his return to Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.

The 21-year-old attacking midfielder left BVB for the Allianz Arena last summer in a controversial €37 million transfer and is now set to go back to his old home for a top-of-the-table Bundesliga clash, having sat out the Supercup clash between the two sides at the start of the season through injury.

Lehmann is certain that the Westfalenstadion faithful will give their former hero a rough reception and feels Gotze should try to keep a low profile.

“I’d advise Gotze to wear ear plugs,” the ex-Arsenal shot-stopper said on Sky Deutschland.

“Thanks to the group dynamic on the Sudtribune, many of the fans will boo him mercilessly. He should avoid taking throw-ins or corners.”

Lehmann went on to play down Franck Ribery’s importance in the Bayern team, instead giving his Ballon d’Or backing to Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.

“There are more important players for Bayern. He was given the Best Player in Europe award, which I found surprising. I think Ronaldo should win it; he deserves it.”

Borussia Dortmund and Bayern kick off at 18:30CET on Saturday, with the Bavarians hoping to go seven points clear of their principal title rivals.

Ronaldo deserves Ballon d'Or too – Ribery

The Frenchman believes he has a strong case for the award this year but concedes that the Real Madrid winger is also a fine candidate

Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery has claimed that both he and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo are worthy winners of the 2013 Ballon d’Or.

The duo are considered the frontrunners for the award as Lionel Messi, who has won the last four editions of the prize, has endured an injury-ravaged calendar year.

Ribery has spoken of his respect for Ronaldo, but feels that his part in Bayern’s treble win could see him pip the 28-year-old Portuguese to the title.

“We all know that Cristiano Ronaldo is a super footballer. Naturally, he deserves to win it too,” the France international told Kicker.

“However, it’s a vote based on a whole year and I also have a case for it. People will make the right choice. I’m quite relaxed.”

Meanwhile, Barcelona legend Hristo Stoichov, who won the award in 1994, has backed Ribery to see off the competition.

“This year, my view is that Messi has missed a lot of matches due to several injuries,” he told RMC.

“I personally believe that Ribery will win. He had a great season with Bayern and did spectacular things and he negotiated World Cup qualification with France.”

Bayern and Dortmund should quit Bundesliga

The distortion caused by perpetual Champions League money and the hoovering up of talent by Germany’s big two means it is now time for drastic action

By Peter Staunton

Felix Magath, interviewed by the Hamburger Morgenpost this week, was asked about Bayern Munich’s dominance of the Bundesliga and the increasing strength of Borussia Dortmund, as well as Bayer Leverkusen. It was put to him that it would be only a matter of time until the German top flight mirrors other league across Europe: the same teams finishing in the Champions League spots year after year.

He disagreed – but only in the sense that he believed that time had already come. He’d been thinking about a solution, too. “The clubs that play Champions League football have a huge advantage,” the former Bayern coach said. “That’s why you should exclude them from the national competition. A European league would be fairer.”

A continental ‘super league’ is, at this stage, an inevitability – and for many reasons. The only uncertainties are when it will begin and what form it will take. Across Europe, the biggest clubs in the most popular leagues hoover up the talent and stroll through domestic programmes, the odd blip aside. After all, Bayern have been beaten four times in two years in the Bundesliga.


More often than not, though, visiting teams give up before a ball has been kicked when pitted against the strongest clubs. Sometimes it all feels like a massive waste of time. Despite assertions to the contrary, that pattern is being replicated in the Bundesliga. There can be no denying it. The Bundesliga likes to think of itself as some sort of competitive utopia where anyone can beat anyone. Not true. Look at Dortmund’s recent, almost apologetically facile 6-1 win over Stuttgart as evidence of that.

The last time that the Bundesliga was a wilderness in which any team could thrive was 2009, when Wolfsburg won it, under Magath. That season, the points gap that covered the top six in the league stood at 10. It grew to 15 in 2009-10. In both 2010-11 and 2011-12, it was 28. Last season, it was 40. Meanwhile, the points gap between the sixth-placed team and the bottom team has been as good as stagnant. Thirty-one points in 2008-09, 31 again in 2009-10, 18 in 2010-11, and 30 in each of the last two seasons. So, while the gap between the top team and the contenders has risen 400 per cent in five seasons, the rest have stood still.

“Too many teams are satisfied with mediocrity,” was Magath’s assessment of it.  The quality in the Bundesliga, from positions six to 18, is best described as middling. It is quite true that any team can beat any other team but only if you exclude Bayern, Dortmund and now Leverkusen from the equation. So long as the best of the rest remain locked out of the Champions League places, they are content to merely exist in the top flight – because those three Champions League places are unobtainable in now.

Schalke earned €27,980,000 for their participation in the 2012-13 edition of the Champions League. Borussia Dortmund took €54,161,000. Bayern earned €55,046,000 for winning it. Replace Schalke with Bayer Leverkusen and you have an approximation of the figures for the next few seasons. That is money available to no other clubs in Germany. The gap grows wider by the day now, as it does all over Europe.  Flush with Champions League cash, the hegemony is perpetuated.

Last season, Schalke pipped Freiburg for fourth place. That is as good as it will ever get for Freiburg. They were punished, heavily, for finishing fifth. All their best players left, including Max Kruse, and they are struggling to compete in the Europa League and the Bundesliga at the same time. They’ve won one match all season. It’s a similar story to Borussia Monchengladbach the year before: they finished fourth and lost their three best players – Marco Reus and Dante to Dortmund and Bayern, respectively, and Roman Neustadter to Schalke.

Traditionally, it was Bayern who poached the Bundesliga’s best talent, from Mario Basler to Mario Gotze. Now there are two teams doing it. Think of Dortmund as the underdogs all you like but the signings of Reus, Ilkay Gundogan and Sokratis Papastathopolous show that they have just as much wrecking-ball potential as Bayern in the Bundesliga transfer market.

It’s futile, worthless even, for the rest to even to try to to compete. All they can do is lose. In that respect, Magath is right. 

It might seem, now, that Bayern and Dortmund exemplify the brave new world of German football. But the league is being choked by their wealth and strength. A European league would indeed be a more fitting environment for Germany’s ‘Big Two’. They could compete with the other super clubs and end the distortion of the domestic competition.