Top match in the bundesliga: nuance plus

Borussia Dortmund comes within a whisker of the champions in its 2:3 loss to Munich. But Bayern are simply more efficient – once again.

Duel of the steam rams: Jerome Boateng (Bayern) defends Erling Haaland Photo: Martin Meissner/ap

Only one of the protagonists was deeply saddened after the match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern had come to an end. The Munich team was celebrating its precious 3:2 victory, only Joshua Kimmich had long since disappeared into the dressing room, his knee aching and looking to the near future.

When the national player lay on the grass after a good half hour as a result of a collision with Erling Haaland, all kinds of thoughts could be interpreted into his obvious despair: the fear of surgery, of months without football, even of missing the European Championship, which is to be made up for in the summer of 2021. The whole Munich team was shocked for a few minutes, "you noticed that we first had to find ourselves again after the injury interruption," said Manuel Neuer.

At this point, however, the goalkeeper’s mood was pretty good again. Neuer had been part of a magnificent Bundesliga spectacle and, as almost always when the two rivals meet these years, he was among the winners. "The game was sensationally good, and we were just a bit more efficient," Munich coach Hansi Flick accurately summed up the evening’s proceedings, and Lucien Favre had taken a similar view.

But the BVB coach also lamented, seeming to find it hard to believe what had happened on the pitch. "We had so many scoring chances," he said in a mixture of amazed admiration for his team’s offensive power and sorrow at the lack of final efficiency.

The problem of left and right feet

At this point, this top match was clearly different from the duels from the recent past: FC Bayern is currently defensively vulnerable. Again and again, attacks rolled towards the Munich goal, Marco Reus scored for 1:0 (45,), in many other moments only nuances were missing for further goals. "You can see a few players are good with their right foot and not so good with their left foot," said Favre, probably thinking first and foremost of the wonderful scoring chance of right-footed Marco Reus, who in stoppage time drove a volley from five meters with his left over the crossbar.

Mats Hummels, BVB

"Luck and bad luck are decisive in big games".

And to the opportunity of the left-footed Erling Haaland, who shortly after the break played a cross pass with the right to Giovanni Reyna waiting free in front of the empty goal, but too inaccurate. On the other side was Robert Lewandowski, who is almost equally good with both feet. The top striker had scored with his head to make it 1:2 and even scored two more goals, but they were nullified by the video referee due to offside.

It was a game that seesawed back and forth, and Bayern simply had a bit more luck, was the core thesis of Mats Hummels. "All three of the opponent’s goals were deflected," the defender said after David Alaba’s shot to make it 1-1 (45th) bounced off Thomas Meunier’s upper body and into the goal, Lewandowski’s 1-2 came after the ball touched Hummels’ shoulder (48th), and Leroy Sane’s finish was rendered unstoppable by contact with Manuel Akajni’s legs (80th). Basically, it was time to be a little more aware "that luck and bad luck are often decisive in the big games," said Hummels.

But in this case, beyond all coincidences, the result pretty much perfectly represented what had happened on the pitch. The Munich team made a similar number of mistakes defensively, but offensively they were "just a bit faster in the right situations and maybe a bit more crafty," said Leon Goretzka. The Dortmunders are left with only the knowledge to get closer. Haaland, who reduced the score to 2:3 (83rd), is becoming better integrated, the defense is becoming more stable, and the maturation process of many talents is progressing.

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