Borussia Dortmund got the better of rivals Bayern Munich with a thrilling victory in the German Supercup, the curtain-raiser for the new season. Dortmund had their teenage sensation Jadon Sancho to thank again.
Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Bayern Munich, Westfalenstadion
(Alcacer 48', Sancho 69')
If this is a taste of the Bundesliga season to come, then we've got a hell of a year ahead of us.
Borussia Dortmund secured some early silverware, but more significantly laid down an early marker for the forthcoming campaign — and in doing so dealt a psychological blow to the club they will try again to dethrone next season. For the neutral, it was a lot more exhilarating than Supercups often are; this game had more of an edge than usual as the gap between them narrows.
Dortmund were without new signings Julian Brandt, Thorgan Hazard and Mats Hummels — all held back as injury precautions — but they didn't need any of them: the difference for Dortmund was their English wunderkind. Sometimes it's worth remembering that Jadon Sancho is still a teenager, and will be until March of next year. Much like his display against the Bavarians when the sides met at Westfalenstadion last November, Sancho took some time to get going. Several misplaced passes and unnecessary flicks triggered more groans than cheers among the home support, but he was reborn after the break and it took the South Londoner only three minutes after the restart to make his mark.
His direct run had the creaking Jerome Boateng on the back foot, a common theme throughout, and a neat pass found Paco Alcacer, who didn't have to break stride as he swept a beautiful low shot inside the post to cap the kind of devastating counter-attack for which Lucien Favre's sides are renowned.
Dortmund also had stand-in goalkeeper Marwin Hitz to thank for some crucial saves, keeping out Kingsley Coman and Leon Goretzka before the break, and putting his body on the line again in the second to deny Coman again. It was a night when every Dortmund player shone, with competition for places greater now than it has been for some time at the club.
The same can't be said for Bayern, who gave as good as they got for long periods, but looked lightweight in midfield as Thiago Alcantara struggled as the lone man in front of the back four, defensively unstable, and short on alternatives to usual suspects in attack. That's not to say they didn’t have their moments though, with Goretzka's long ranger tipped over, Joshua Kimmich almost able to waltz through the Dortmund defense before overrunning it, and Dortmund somehow stopping Coman's shot on the line.
The game's defining moment was served up courtesy of Sancho though. A blistering run left Bayern's defense in his wake and the most controlled of finishes saw Sancho's low drives whistle through the legs of Manuel Neuer and nestle into the bottom corner, as Sancho jumped for joy in front of the Südtribune.
Sancho's ability to get under Bayern's skin was evident when Kimmich stamped on the ankle of the England forward as he retrieved the ball from the technical area. A VAR review prompted a yellow card for Kimmich when a red was surely the punishment to fit the crime.
Dortmund cruised towards victory nonetheless in a game that provides an indication that Favre's side are determined not to let the title get away this year. While Bayern looked like a side unsure of themselves and their tactics, Dortmund were sharper, brimming with confidence and appear ready to hit the ground running when they open their Bundesliga campaign at home to Augsburg on August 17.