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NRS-Import

Less ‘Klassiker’, more classic Munich

Hyped as the biggest fixture in the Bundesliga calendar, Bayern Munich against Borussia Dortmund ended with a lopsided scoreline as the record champions once again put an end to any talk of the league's newest rivalry.

"This bloody respect" said one Dortmund fan to another as they trudged up towards the Allianz Arena. This was the biggest fixture of the year so far as the Bundesliga was concerned, but Dortmund fans were subdued. Less than a minute into the second half and the reasons why were all too apparent. A day after Germany celebrated 25 years of unity, the Bundesliga had to admit it is a league divided. Not for the first time, Bayern's quality leaves many Bundesliga enthusiasts wondering why they aren't in a league of their own.

It was a damp, overcast day in Munich. The city was hungover. The underground stank of dry alcohol and sweat. But for one last time, the Lederhosen were pulled on. First the football, then the beer was the order of the day. A local tune from the Bavarian marching band later, and we were underway.

For the opening 30 minutes, it was as billed. A tense, tactical affair in which both side's matched one another. Thomas Tuchel's decision to play Sokratis at right back looked a good one – only once did Douglas Costa get the better of him. The omission of Marco Reus (benched) also looked to have made sense with Gonzalo Castro continuing his form from Thursday night's Europa League.

Bayern's back four on paper was in fact a back three, with Philipp Lahm roaming all over the park. Javi Martinez showed no sign of a lack of match practice and Jerome Boateng gave his best Aaron Rodgers impression, distributing the ball in similar ruthlessness to the Green Bay Packers' quarterback.

It was from one of those balls that Bayern took the lead: Thomas Mueller scoring in a manner only he could. When he added a second from the spot not long after, it looked like the title-race contest had lasted no longer than half an hour. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's eighth goal of the season, however, kept most believing the second half would provide a modicum of competition.

That thought died less than a minute into the second half. Roman Bürki – who had his worst display in Dortmund colors - came out and was found wanting. With a slice of fortune, Boateng had zoned in on his number nine, and the contest was over.

The game though, wasn't. Reus and Adnan Januzaj came on eight minutes into the second half as Tuchel's hand was forced. But it wasn't enough to stop the home side. In a painful hark back to a past life for Dortmund fans, Mario Götze played a delicious ball for Lewandowski to add a second. Then, just for good measure, Götze scored one his own to make it five (Bayern's favorite number of late).

There was time for Manuel Neuer to make a sparkling save to deny Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Reus to fire over from a free kick, but as good as it was from Dortmund – and in truth it wasn't that bad – it remained a world apart from their opponents. The Dortmund fans kept cheering, but their faces were glum.

Leaving the stadium and heading back into the city, there were a few Dortmund fans talking about heading to the Oktoberfest to drown their sorrows. “After all, it's the last day,” says one. As they get off the underground, the dull tone of the train driver rings out muffled, but recognizable. "Bitte, zurück bleiben" (Please stand back). Whether in admiration or fear, it is an all too familiar feeling at the end of a football weekend in Munich.

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