Borussia Dortmund beweisen ihren Wert

February 26, 2011 — by Sean

Lukasz Piszczek shut down Ribery for large portions of the match.

As far as google translate is concerned, the post title says Dortmund have now proven their badassedness. The team came into Bayern’s Allianz Arena today 13 points ahead of the Bavarians but as 4-to-1 underdogs who hadn’t won a match there since 1991. After early-week comments out of the Bayern Munich’s front office that defending champions would win by a minimum two goals, Dortmund’s manager Jürgen Klopp told the press, “Well we’ve all had a long talk about it, and we’ve decided to travel to Bayern anyway.” They more than just showed up, they took their game to Die Roten and jammed a 3-1 victory down their  throats.

The game started brightly with both sides looking to establish their attack. From the outset Munich worked up their wings (as they do), with Robben on the right, Ribery on the left, and Gustavo in support as an overlapping left back. The Brazilian started off well after being relieved of his centerback duties, and Bayern looked like they’d be using him quite a bit on the day. But that was early on. Within minutes of kickoff Shmelzer came attacking up Dotmund’s left (leaving a non-marking Robben behind him) and lifted a ball onto the foot of Dortmund’s second striker, Robert Lewandowski. He slightly mistimed his volley or it would’ve been 1-0 to the visitors on 4 minutes. The big Pole had escaped the tracking Schweinsteiger to find himself clear to no avail.

We wouldn’t have to wait much longer for a goal though, as Schweinsteiger (who had a terrible day) turned a bobbled pass into the onrushing Großkreutz who collected and laid a well measured ball into the path of Argentine-born, Paraguay international Lucas Barrios. The striker crossed up Munich keeper Kraft (who had done so well on weds against Inter), sliding the ball easily into the far corner. 1-0 to Dortmund within 10 minutes.

The side in yellow didn’t sit back and continued to press. It was at times difficult to tell where their attacks were coming from, as their top four or five players were constantly interchanging positions, and through the half any number of players would find a run behind the line or step up to take a pop from distance (holding midfielder Sven Bender producing some of the best far-range rips). But Bayern would never give up, and they continued pushing up their wings, if only to win corners and set-pieces. It was enough, within five minutes of Dortmund’s goal the score was leveled when Ribery sent in a corner to the foot of Gustavo. 1-1 and all to play for in one of the most open matches of the season.


Dortmund continued manufacturing chances from open play while Munich were often stifled running into the corners,  forced to withdraw work the ball around the other side. Poor passing across the midfield allowed Dortmund to intercept and spring forward, and it was that very sort of movement that sprung Barrios again two minutes after the holders had leveled. Barrios ran forward while keeping three defenders at bay before playing the ball off to his right. It came back in to the captain, Nuri Şahin, who paused, then stroked a curling left-footed shot around the defenders and into the far corner of the goal. 2-1 to Dortmund (the announcer may have commented that it wasn’t a foot, but a paintbrush attached to the end of Nuri’s leg).

Not five minutes later Gomez looked to have leveled when he broke through Dortmund’s center and buried his shot into the corner. He was called back (replays showed unfairly), but it was enough to get the crowd back into the game, and the team too. Muller, who had a quiet day, had a great chance inside the box that only a lunging defensive challenge deflected off-goal.

Again Dortmund turned upfield, with Götze spreading the ball in all directions into the Munich defense. Dortmund were dominating the center midfield, and constantly getting numbers forward: Großkreutz, Götze, Lewandowski, Şahin, and Barrios were all happy to exchange positions as the attack flowed both through Bayern’s center and up its wings.

At halftime both teams made only slight changes to their strategy. Bayern started off brightly with Ribery more willing to dip inside and play through the center, allowing Danijel Pranjić to sweep in behind him on the wing and look for diagonals (Bayern had had some success with Ribery coming inside in the first half, and this was an obvious change to be made). Dortmund had only one change to make—close down Robben more quickly. They set out to trap him higher up the pitch, and that they did, often collapsing three defenders around him when he collected the ball near midfield.

The second half eventually turned into a less-open affair, with Dortmund less willing to expose themselves in back. Toni Kroos was brought in to provide some more attack in the center of Bayern’s offensive midfield, but before he was able to influence the game Dortmund were back up the field, and Götze forced a great save off of Kraft, who could only deflect the blast for a corner. Up came Hummels from the back, a defender Munich had passed on signing, but who is now being spoken of as the next Beckenbauer.  The man who was a product of Munich’s youth system rose a head higher than anyone around him and slammed the ball into the corner. Dortmund 3-1, and again it was Schweinsteiger’s defensive responsibility that let through the goal.

With twenty minutes left in the match Bayern threw everything they had forward, and at times it looked like Dortmund would crack. There were periods of chaotic defending and Gomez forced a great reaction save off Australian keeper Mitchell Langerak, then Kroos had a great chance turned away after Ribery missed wide. Bayern even went so far as bringing on the long-injured Miroslav Klose for the lackluster Müller, but nothing doing. Dortmund were steadfast, and the victory was theirs. 3-1 the final and a championship that much closer for the young team from the Green Metropolis.