Breathless Bayern set new standards with Klassiker triumph | Sports | German football and major international sports news | DW | 07.11.2020

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Breathless Bayern set new standards with Klassiker triumph

Bayern Munich were too good for Borussia Dortmund again, winning an enthralling five-goal thriller against their chief title rivals. The victory underlines Bayern's status as Germany and Europe's finest team.

Borussia Dortmund 2-3 Bayern Munich, Signal Iduna Park
(Reus 45', Haaland 83' — Alaba 45+3', Lewandowski 48', Sane 80')

This utterly absorbing game of football will only strengthen the wider appeal of the Bundesliga, but that will be of no consolation to Borussia Dortmund. They valiantly traded blows with their title rivals, but were ultimately floored by one of the greatest ever Bayern Munich teams. Dortmund were second best again, but there's really no shame in losing to a team this good.

They are brutally effective in attack and Hansi Flick recognized this after the game, describing Bayern as the "more efficient" team in a "sensationally good game of football." Attacking midfielder Leon Goretzka framed it as a victory for the more streetwise team, saying: "We deserved to win because we were a bit smarter and savvier in the key moments."

Flick's record as Bayern coach is nothing short of astonishing. Since succeeding Niko Kovac a year and four days ago, Bayern have won 45 of their 49 games. He has advanced the team from very good to almost invincible, encouraging his players to play the game with supreme confidence but without arrogance. Hard graft, determination and athleticism is behind every swashbuckling moment of attacking fervor.

Bundesliga I Borussia Dortmund v Bayern München

Bayern's celebrations were tempered by a serious-looking injury to Joshua Kimmich.

Borussia Dortmund took the lead shortly before the break, raising hopes of a halftime lead to buoy the mood in the locker room at the break. Raphael Guerreiro, Dortmund's best player, cut a cross back to Marco Reus, whose expert first-time finish showcased the very best of Dortmund's attacking instincts.

But Bayern poured cold water all over Dortmund's celebrations minutes later, courtesy of David Alaba's deflected free-kick. This is where the game was lost for Dortmund, they just didn't know it yet.

Robert Lewandowski, the world's best striker for most of the past decade, showed bravery to put his head where it could hurt. His reward was an unstoppable header that flipped the game in Bayern's favor, just three minutes after the interval. The killer blow came when Leroy Sane, a second-half substitute, capped a breathless Bayern counterattack with the third. Sane produced an assured and decisive finish into the bottom corner in his first Klassiker appearance. Lewandowski, of course, provided the assist.

Erling Haaland renewed Dortmund hope late on, but Bayern withstood a grandstand finish to win in Dortmund for the second successive season. Only a potentially serious injury to Joshua Kimmich dampened Bayern's day, but there was no denying the defending champions' performance had scaled new heights in Germany's flagship game.

As it happened:

Lucien Favre:

"We had a lot of chances in front of goal. We should do a bit better, but we must be positive. We played well and we had so many chances it was unbelievable."

"The chances were there, in both halves, but we have to be positive."

"Marco scored the opener and might have scored the 3-3 at the end too."

"It's always hard to lose these games, because I think we should have got a point at least."

Manuel Neuer:

"I think based on the second half we were the better team. I think David Alaba's goal before the break was decisive. I think with two tight offside calls we stole two goals from ourselves."

On Haaland: "I think he had a bit of luck in that moment, but he did well."

On Kimmich: "I hope he recovers quickly and you could see we needed a minute to find ourselves again after he went off."

Hansi Flick:

"The game was sensational. Both sides had a lot of chances. We were a bit more composed in the final third and that's why I think we deserved the win."

"We have to be better with our patience on the ball and then fewer mistakes like the ones we made today will occur."

On Kimmich: "He is one of our key players in this position so it wouldn't be easy to lose a player like him."

Leon Goretzka:

"Fingers crossed and I hope the best."

"I think we deserved to win the game today because we were a bit smarter and savvier in key moments."

Manuel Akanji:

"Three goals are too many to concede. I think we can defend better against such a a team."

"We saw we can compete. We had enough chances. We have to convert them and do better defensively and then we can take something from this game."

Mats Hummels:

"We needed to be more composed in front of goal. All three goals we conceded were deflected. Luck wasn't on our side today."

"Bayern are really strong in attack but really open at the back. Sadly we didn't really use lots of our good chances today."

On Alaba's goal: "It was really frustrating for us. I have to stop the ball there but going into the break a goal down was not a good feeling."

As it happened:

A five-goal thriller ends with Bayern as winners, which all in all is probably a fair reflection. Dortmund could have shared the points here but in the end it was Lewandowski and the visitor's quality off the bench that made the difference. Bayern go two points clear at the top.

90+3' GOAL DISALLOWED! Dortmund push, Bayern get the ball and end up with five in the box and after Tolisso's effort is blocked, Lewandowski's shot is deflected in. The celebrations are cut short though as VAR rules the Pole offside.

90+1' Witsel goes in hard on Martinez, which causes Hansi Flick to get a little frustrated on the sidelines. Four more minutes of added time left. Can Dortmund add one more twist?

87' CHANCE! Oh Marco! Guerreiro whips in a great cross that beats Haaland but falls at the feet of Marco Reus. The Dortmund captain takes it first time and it goes narrowly over. Maybe he could have taken a touch there? What a chance. Hands on head moment for Lucien Favre...

83' GOAL! 3-2 Dortmund (Haaland) Well, who saw this coming? Haaland does have his goal. Guerreiro loops the ball over the top of a high Bayern line, Haaland takes control, rounds Neuer and scores. Quick VAR check but all is in order and what a finish we have on our hands now.

80' GOAL! 3-1 Bayern (Sané) And that is probably that. Bayern win the ball quickly, Lewandowski pushes forward, feeds Sané and the former City winger hits the ball low into the bottom corner with great power and somehow before the end of his stride. What a difference it is having him come off the bench.

77' Bellingham floats a ball through for Haaland but he isn't interested. A minute later the Norwegian raises his hands in frustration. Dortmund's press has become a little halfhearted. Bayern look solid. Reminder me if we've been here before.

73' Gnabry does that thing where he cuts in from the wing and then aims for the far corner. It's wide but it's not far away. Robben was nearly proud. Witsel looks to have taken a knock. Dortmund short of ideas and time here.

70' Double change for both teams, and quite frankly that Leroy Sane is coming on now says a lot about Bayern. He and Martinez replace Coman and Boateng. Brandt and Hazard replace Reyna and Sancho, the latter is a surprise.

66' CHANCE! Sarr has been a weak point today and Dortmund have not quite made the most of it. Brandt is about to come on. Bellingham with a lovely pass to Reus, who tucks inside Boateng and has a chance to beat Neuer but can't.

63' The pace has gone again. It's one of those breaks before a furious finish. A poor header by Sarr lets in Reyna but the American can't curl a low effort past Neuer (who can to be honest?).

60' Thomas Delaney makes way for Bellingham. The Dane battled but maybe didn't offer enough with the ball. A lot on the teenager here if he is to spark a comeback. Dortmund have 30 minutes to get an equalizer.

56' Dortmund trying their best to stay in the game. Looks like Jude Bellingham is about to come on for Dortmund. Lewandowski drives forward, feeds Coman but Bürki does well to parry the cross clear.

53' SAVE! All happening here. Bürki has to leap to parry away a deep cross that is creeping in. Bayern are pushing to kill the game here.

51' POST! Coman dances through Dortmund's defense and then after getting a shout to shoot the Frenchman does just that and his effort from outside the box clatters the inside of the post. That was nearly game over. Dortmund need to get themselves together here.

48' GOAL! 2-1 Bayern (Lewandowski) Gnabry feeds Hernandez who delivers a perfect cross that Lewandowski gets to just ahead of Hummels to angle a header into the far corner. Clinical.

46' CHANCE! Much like the first half the second starts with a bang. Sancho slips a superb ball through to Haaland, who somehow gets the cross all wrong and spins it away from Reus and Reyna. If that's on target, Dortmund are ahead.

46' Dortmund get us restarted. No further changes.


A great finish to a great first half. After Lewandowski had a goal oddly ruled out by VAR and Joshua Kimmich went off injured after a late tackle on Haaland, it was Dortmund who took the lead at the end of the first thanks to Reus. But Bayern weren't done and with virtually the last kick of the half, David Alaba curled in a free kick and we are set up for a thrilling second 45 minutes.

45+3' GOAL! 1-1 Bayern (Alaba) Well, well. Dortmund couldn't even hold on until halftime. A free kick on the edge of the box is left to Lewandowski and Alaba and it's the Austrian who has a go and it's well placed, but the deflection off the back of Thomas Meunier is decisive and it's level.

45' GOAL! 1-0 Dortmund (Reus) What a time to score. Hummels, of course, opens the play to find Sancho, who in turn feeds the overlapping Guerreiro. The Portugal man drills it into the box and there is Marco Reus to turn it home with a first-time finish. Dortmund lead!

40' For the first time tonight, the tempo is out of the game a bit and I think it is Dortmund who are trying to slow it down. Tricky for the hosts given that whenever Bayern do win the ball, they shift up two or three gears instantly. Dortmund doing well defensively though. At the other end, Sancho drifts a deep cross to Witsel who blazes over.

37' Kimmich comes off and Tolisso replaces him.

35' Gräfe books Kimmich, who is on the floor after lunging to stop Haaland. Looks like a sore arm but Kimmich is in quite a bit of pain and I think it's his knee. This doesn't look good. Big break in play here as Kimmich is helped off the field. His game is over.

30' Reus blazes over after chesting down on the edge of the box. A tad too early on the strike there. Flick calls for his side to keep going.

28' SAVE! Dortmund will love that call but I think it will be a talking point when all is said and done. Anyway, Bayern nearly score the same goal again but Bürki saves. Suddenly a big 10 minutes for Dortmund to get through, you feel.

24' GOAL DISALLOWED! Alaba with a great clearance to Coman who drives forward and releases Gnabry down the left. He beats Meunier and lays it on a plate for Lewandowski to slide the ball home. It's checked by VAR but not sure why. In any case, after an odd period of silence in the stadium, the goal is disallowed because Lewandowski's fingernail must have been offside. I don't know understand it.

21' CHANCE! Bayern really very smooth going forward, but Dortmund can and do expose the space at the back. Haaland is slipped through and he pokes it past Neuer but the angle is also too tight and the ball passes the goal too. The Norwegian normally scores though...

18' Mats Hummels calling for Thomas Delaney to "put a bit more pressure on them" as Bayern try and find space from a throw in. Eventually, the Dane does just that and Bayern win the free kick. The final pass is missing for both sides at the moment but it isn't taking away from the game, which remains exciting.

14' CHANCE! Boateng hangs up a ball at the back post after a corner is half cleared and Goretzka leaps up and forces a great save out of Bürki who throws both hands up at it to palm it away.

10' A few miscommunications early on for Dortmund. Favre talking and gesticulating to himself on the sideline. All very tense and tight.

5' What a ball by Meunier! It sets Reyna free but his cut back is feebly fired wide by Witsel. A waste but also yet another sign of just how end to end this game already is.

4' Furious tempo to this one right from the start. Lovely vertical ball sets Haaland free and he has the beating of Boateng but opts for the pass that Neuer collects. If this continues, this is going to be as good as the last time the two met here.

2' CHANCE! Well, if Lewandowski is less selfish here I think Bayern score after 40 seconds. Gnabry cuts inside in the box and the ball is there to be hit by his right foot but Lewandowski jumps in and fires it into the side netting. Gnabry furious and you can see why.

1' After a handshake between Haaland and Lewandowski, Bayern get us started.

The teams are in the tunnel. Not long now until the game is underway!

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

"The two best teams in Germany across the last 20 years who have dominated. The relationship between the two clubs is good now after a few years of tension. We cannot lose if we want to stay in touch with RB Leipzig at the top of the table."

Rummenigge also said the door was still open for David Alaba to stay at Bayern.

"The way the year 2020 has gone we are some way from being FC Hollywood."

"I think it will be a good game. I watched the first corona game here when Joshua Kimmich scored a great goal that put us on the path to winning the title... At the end of the day, the winning side will need a bit of luck."

Lucien Favre

Dortmund's head coach has been speaking to Sky beforehand:

On Bayern: "We have to be really good, we have to deliver a top performance."

On Hummels: "I think if he plays then he is 100 percent. He trained yesterday to make sure he was okay. Everyone said he can play."

On Reus: "He has to be important."

Hansi Flick

Bayern's head coach has been speaking to Sky beforehand:

"My players can be brave. They have faith in their strengths. We know that all of football Germany is watching tonight, but we know it's also one game of many."

Dortmund team

The return of Mats Hummels is big for Dortmund, but no Mo Dahoud is a surprise given his recent form. The hope is that Axel Witsel can provide enough tempo in that midfield.

Dortmund XI: Bürki - Meunier, Akanji, Hummels, Guerreiro - Witsel, Delaney - Sancho, Reus, Reyna - Haaland 

Bayern team

With Benjamin Pavard out, Bouna Sarr comes into the starting eleven at right back. A big day for the Frenchman. Otherwise, the visitors today are as expected.

Bayern XI: Neuer - Hernandez, Alaba, Boateng, Sarr - Kimmich, Goretzka - Coman, Müller, Gnabry - Lewandowski

Quickfire facts

Here are three quickfire facts about this game to get you in the mood.

  • Robert Lewandowski is the fixture's all-time top scorer (23 goals)

  • Thomas Müller has made the most appearances (35)

  • Dortmund last won in the league in November 2018

Good evening!

Not long now until the Bundesliga's biggest game will finally be upon us. It's odd to still see the Signal-Iduna Park empty, but that is the face of football in 2020. We will bring you lineups as soon as they are in.

Previous meetings

Saturday's contest in Dortmund will be the 103rd meeting between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga. The Bavarians have very much had the upper hand with 48 wins, 25 losses and 29 draws in the fixture. In recent years, Bayern have been even more dominant. They have won seven of the last 10 clashes, including 4-0 and 5-0 blowouts in 2019 and a 6-0 thrashing a year earlier.

Pregame spotlight: Erling Haaland

One of Dortmund's many young talents, Erling Haaland took the Bundesliga by storm when he arrived in the Ruhr district from Red Bull Salzburg last January. He made an immediate impact, scoring a hat trick coming off the bench in his debut against Augsburg. Since then, the Norwegian has never looked back, finishing last season with 13 goals in 15 appearances. He already has five goals in five appearances this term. He's also coming off a brace against Bruge in the Champions League in midweek.

From the coach's mouth: Lucien Favre

"Our last couple of performances against Bayern have been good. We were close. In May, we should have scored, which would have given us a 1-1 draw. We were close in the Supercup, too. We'll need an even better performance and to be more realistic and defend very well against this team." 

Fun fact:

Coach Lucien Favre is hoping his team's defense, the best in the league with just two goals conceded in six matches, can stifle Bayern's offense, which leads the division with 24 goals in six games. But having lost all of his three previous games against Bayern coach Hansi Flick, you can't like Favre's chances.

Pregame spotlight: Robert Lewandowski

The former Dortmund striker just hasn't been able to stop scoring in the past few years. He's showing no sign of letting up, having scored 10 goals in five Bundesliga matches this season. He's not had a bad start to the Champions League campaign either, with two goals in his first three matches. Lewandowski clearly enjoys punishing his former club, too, with 18 goals in 21 matches in all competitions against BVB.

Bundesliga FC Bayern München gegen Eintracht Frankfurt | Tor Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski scored a hat trick against Frankfurt last month

Pregame spotlight: David Alaba 

David Alaba's failure to extend his expiring contract at Bayern has been a talking point in the media for weeks. The issue flared up last weekend when club President Herbert Hainer declared that the European champions would not table any more offers to the Austrian. The defender has said he feels "hurt and disappointed" over the development, but nobody questions whether he will give his all on the pitch despite the upset.

From the coach's mouth: Hansi Flick

"It's 'Der Klassiker,' so everybody will be motivated. We know the whole world will be watching, which will spur us on even more. We are confident and will do everything we can to win the game."

Fun Fact:

Borussia Dortmund is one of many teams to be on the wrong end of Bayern Munich's dominance. The Bavarians have dropped points only twice in 2020, their only loss this year coming against Hoffenheim in September. Bayern have averaged 2.70 points per game in Hansi Flick's first year in charge, the highest winning clip for any Bayern coach in his first year.

Possible lineup: Borussia Dortmund

Bürki — Meunier, Akanji, Hummels, Guerreiro — Witsel, Dahoud — Sancho, Reus, Reyna — Haaland

Possible lineup: Bayern Munich

Neuer — Pavard, J. Boateng, Alaba, Hernandez — Kimmich, Goretzka — Gnabry, T. Müller, Coman — Lewandowski