Bayern Munich struck hardest in the war of words ahead of their crunch clash with Dortmund, but the performance of Jürgen Klopp’s men on the pitch spoke volumes about just which club is best in the Bundesliga right now.
Although sparked by cheeky agent provocateur Kevin Großkreutz, Bayern bit hard in the pre-game verbal sparring. While Uli Hoeness predicted a win by two goals with his usual bravado, Franz Beckenbauer claimed, “We don’t need any Dortmund players.” Even the Bayern squad got involved. “It doesn’t matter what Großkreutz says,” huffed Franck Ribéry. “If we play like we did against Hoffenheim and Mainz, we’ll win.” Like a 16th-century monarch, it seemed Bayern felt it their divine right to rule over the Bundesliga, and upstarts Dortmund would be put in their place if not knocked off their perch.
Even the local Munich media was at it. “It’s already 4-1,” claimed the Abendzeitung, giving Bayern the edge in four of five key positions ahead of the game. They, too, will have been left not so much with egg on their faces but rather a hefty omelette after a masterclass – or perhaps that should be Meister-class – from the German champions-elect, who outscored Bayern ½ – 4½ in the five positions on the pitch.
- GOALKEEPER: With six Bundesliga games under his belt, Thomas Kraft was almost a grizzled veteran compared to Dortmund debutant Mitchell Langerak. Kraft had played brilliantly against Inter Milan in the Champions League, but though he didn’t play badly last weekend, he was outshone by Langerak. The Australian dealt confidently with high balls into his box and produced a stunning reflex save to deny Mario Gomez in the second half. Let that in, and it would have been a nervy finish. Bayern should have tested him more, but the 22-year-old may well have dealt with everything thrown at him anyway.
Abdendzeitung pre-match verdict: Clearly Kraft
Bundesliga Blog post-match verdict: Langerak on points
- PLAYMAKER: Nuri Sahin completely outshone his opposite number, Bastian Schweinsteiger, who probably had his worst-ever game for Bayern. The German international miskicked horribly to give the ball away for the first goal, and never recovered, trotting moodily round the pitch like a toddler who’s lost his teddy bear. His mood was probably not improved by the fact he was given a 6 – a barely-used low mark in a system where 1 is the best – by Bild for his display. Sahin, as ever, was at the heart of everything Dortmund did, and his goal was another sublime strike in a season of sumptiousness from the BVB captain. For all non-Germany fans out there, just be thankful the German-born Sahin chose to play for Turkey.
Abendzeitung pre-match verdict: Advantage Schweinsteiger
Bundesliga Blog post-match verdict: Game, Set and Match Sahin
WIDE MEN:Abendzeitung pre-match verdict: Advantage Bayern
Bundesliga Blog post-match verdict: Dortmund by a country mile
- DEFENSIVE LINCHPIN: This was the one area where the Abendzeitung generously gave it to Dortmund’s Mats Hummels over Holger Badstuber. The pair would probably have been centre-back partners had Bayern not let Hummels leave, and even discounting his goal, the Dortmund man showed his ex-employers what they’ve missed out on. Badstuber looked cumbersome and foolish when he was turned by Barrios for the second goal, and though he got back behind the ball, was pulled out of position to allow Sahin to strike. Pulled off at the break, it wasn’t a good half-day day at the office for the Bayern defender.
Abendzeitung pre-match verdict: Advantage Dortmund
Bundesliga Blog post-match verdict: Hummels head and shoulders better
- LONE STRIKER: Both teams played a similar 4-2-3-1, but Gomez was rarely afforded the support Barrios received. Dortmund’s suffocating pressing game – in which Sven Bender excelled – meant chances to add to his 18 Bundesliga goals were rare, though Gomez did take his chance to score well only to see the strike wrongly ruled out for offside. He also would have struck from the only other opportunity he had but for a brilliant Langerak save. Barrios had an easier night, though he helped make it more comfortable with a typically clinical finish to give Dortmund a 1-0 lead that left Bayern always chasing. His burst to set up the second goal was so explosive only Robben could catch him, and left the Bayern back four disorganised enough to give Sahin the time to tee himself up.
Abendzeitung pre-match verdict: Tor-ero Gomez
Bundesliga blog post-match verdict: A draw
Bayern may well point to their tiring Champions League game with Inter, and Gomez’s offside ‘goal’, but the truth is they were well beaten by the better side. “We first want to achieve something and talk after that,” said Louis van Gaal before the match. It’s hardly surprising then that only the Dortmund players were the ones with something to say late on Saturday night. There was one word they wouldn’t pronounce though. “Never heard of it,” Sahin told Eurosport when asked about the M-word, the Meisterschaft. It’s a word you won’t hear Bayern talking about now either.
Eurosport 2 Bundesliga commentator
Dortmund kick off Week 25 with a home game against in-form Cologne on Friday (LIVE 20:30CET) before Bayern return to action at Hannover on Saturday (LIVE 15:30CET). There will be extended highlights of Stuttgart v Schalke (from 17:30CET) before Leverkusen v Wolfsburg (LIVE 18:30CET). Sunday sees Werder Bremen at Freiburg (LIVE 15:30CET) before Hamburg v Mainz (LIVE 17:30CET) rounds off the weekend on Eurosport 2.