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Sports

Three Takeaways: Bayern set standard, Dortmund stagnate, Hamburg can't complain

Hamburg have too much aggression, Dortmund seem to have lost theirs, while Bayern don't need any. Those are the lessons DW Sports' Jefferson Chase draws from Matchday 25.

Conventional football wisdom dictates that truly good teams have to be able to achieve narrow wins by putting in just enough effort to get past their opponents.

Bayern Munich is putting a new spin on that axiom this season. The Bavarians are doing just enough to thrash other teams by four, six - or sometimes even eight goals.

The template for Bayern's matches is that the champions come out somewhat listlessly and hog the ball without creating any early chances, until someone - on Saturday against Bremen it was Thomas Müller - gets sick of looking at the 0-0 on the scoreboard and hammers, curls and back-heels the ball in to open the floodgates.

Resurgent Bremen were a team out to revive some memories of the classic Werder-Bayern clashes from the early years of the millennium. They put in the leg work, yet failed utterly, losing 4-0. There was a "world of difference" between the two sides, according to Bremen midfielder Zlatko Junuzovic. Bremen coach Viktor Skripnik chose to put a positive spin on the blow-out, recalling that his side had lost 6-0 in Munich in the Autumn.

3.4 goals - that's the average Bayern need over the remaining nine games of the season to match the record of 101 held by the 1971-72 Bayern squad. They're a decent bet to get there, or even beyond. The scary thing, though, is that they're not even having to try all that hard.

Jürgen Klopp

Jürgen Klopp has Dortmund out of the danger zone but the momentum is gone

Dortmund fall into a deep, relaxing sleep

Dire-dominant-dormant: that's how you'd sum up Dortmund's season in three alliterative words. Jürgen Klopp's men have ceased making the sort of defensive blunders that saw them lose to a host of inferior teams in the first half of the season. But after goalless draws against Hamburg and Cologne, they've also forfeited the offensive momentum they had after their derby demolition of Schalke three weeks ago.

Two players were conspicuously ineffective against the Billy Goats. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looked as though he had been overused until now. The closest he got to a goal was a handball blatant enough to make Thierry Henry blush. And then there's Marco Reus, whom many people credit with Dortmund's resurgence, who was anonymous, at times almost tentative, as though the euphoria of returning from injury and signing a contract extension had worn off.

Klopp's teams are a lot of things - and not always successful - but it's rare to see them so emotionally flat. Four straight Dortmund victories from round 20 to 23 had fans dreaming that the former Bundesliga champions could sneak back into the Champions League picture.

Now the best chance of that is for Dortmund to win Europe's top prize. The men in yellow-and-black can get into the Europa League via the German Cup, and they've probably banished any relegation fears they may have had. Can it be that this situation is robbing them of a bit of energy in the league?

Bundesliga 1899 Hoffenheim Hamburger SV

Hamburg's midfield enforcer Valon Behrami has opponents feeling bruised and abused

Physical play rebounds against Hamburg

You had to feel sorry for Hamburg keeper Jaroslav Drobny. The hulking Czech, who has been admirably steadfast for an often desolate side this season, was a step too late against Hoffenheim and saw red for a foul in the area, even though he ended up with a chest full of cleat marks.

The sending off was dubious given that a Hamburg defender was in the vicinity of the goal, meaning the referee didn't necessarily have to judge Drobny to be the final man and could have spared him red. On the other hand, the dismissal was just desserts for a Hamburg side whose only strategy for beating the drop seems to be to rough up opponents.

Valon Behrami has become the leading candidate for this season's 'Carlos Zambrano Broken Shin Guard Award'. Last week he should have been sent off in the first-half and then handed a lengthy suspension for an elbow to the face of Dortmund's Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Hamburg coach Joe Zinnbauer has made no bones of the fact that Behrami is just the sort of player he likes.

So it was poetic justice that Hamburg were made to play for an hour short-handed for one of the least violent actions the team has committed recently. A hard-guy reputation came come back to haunt you.

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