Bayern Munich came from behind to earn a 3-2 win in an enthralling top of the table clash away to Borussia Dortmund on Saturday evening.
The hosts enjoyed a dream start to Der Klassiker, unsettling an unusually skittish Bayern from the first whistle. Julian Brandt broke the deadlock within the opening five minutes, gathering Jude Bellingham’s delicately floated pass inside the penalty area, turning past Alphonso Davies and placing his shot into the top corner.
Brandt’s composure only served to prod Bayern into life as the visitors equalised in a frenzied first ten minutes. Thomas Muller embodied the surge of energy through Die Roten as he charged down Mats Hummels, blocking an attempted pass that ballooned into the Dortmund evening sky.
While his teammate held off Dortmund’s centre back, Robert Lewandowski sped onto the scene, serenely gathering possession before clinically slotting in the equaliser against his favourite foes and former side.
Both sides scored with the first two shots on target but the volume of chances, if not goals, scarcely dwindled thereafter. Dortmund effectively bypassed midfield as soon as they recovered possession, time and again setting Erling Haaland thundering towards a ball over the top of Bayern‘s backline that was often staffed by just the two centre backs starting precariously high.
Yet, Bayern – who posed as much of a threat on the counter themselves – steadily asserted a stranglehold on proceedings with mounting sequences of possession.
Nevertheless, Kingsley Coman’s go-ahead goal on the cusp of half-time did benefit from several slices of good luck as Raphael Guerreiro’s hurried clearance cannoned off Hummels into the path of the Frenchman who fired Bayern ahead via another deflection.
Dortmund benefited from the interval that disrupted Bayern’s rhythm and started the second half just as they did the first. Playing their way around Alphonso Davies down the right, Dayot Upamecano tamely nodded Thomas Meunier’s cross to Bellingham. The English prodigy stabbed a pass to Haaland who bent a stunning – right footed – equaliser off the post to haul Dortmund level within three minutes of the restart.
Marco Rose’s side swung the tide of the contest back in their favour after the break, bringing back the chaos Bayern had desperately tried to quell.
However, it was through a classic slice of what the reduced crowd would undoubtedly deem ‘Bayern-dusel’ – Bayern-luck – that put the Bavarians ahead in the 77th minute, largely against the run of play.
Hummels again played a decisive role, ducking to head away a corner that connected, unnoticed in real time, with his arm. Following a VAR review Bayern were awarded a controversial penalty – made all the more galling as Marco Reus was denied a chance from 12 yards earlier in the first half.
Lewandowski, as ever, was faultless, striking the decisive blow to earn Bayern’s seventh consecutive victory in this fixture.
Gregor Kobel (GK) – 5/10 – Could only brush his fingertips against Lewandowski’s stuttering spot kick.
Thomas Meunier (RB) – 7/10 – Cantering forward with an uncharacteristic amount of adventure.
Manuel Akanji (CB) – 6/10 – Enjoyed a quiet evening in comparison to his experienced and ultimately beleaguered defensive colleague.
Mats Hummels (CB) – 4/10 – For a veteran of 36 Klassikers (and time spent on either side of the divide) this one will rank some way down that list on an individual level.
Raphael Guerreiro (LB) – 4/10 – All too hurried at times as some rust was clear to see.
Mahmoud Dahoud (CM) – 5/10 – Playing in midfield for a team that barely paid that zone of the pitch any attention, Dahoud understandably struggled to influence proceedings.
Emre Can (CM) – 5/10 – Spared the embarrassment of teeing Coman up before the Frenchman did put Bayern ahead in the first half.
Jude Bellingham (CM) – 8/10 – Enjoying an almost omnipresence down Dortmund’s left flank, Bellingham created Dortmund’s two goals.
Marco Reus (AM) – 7/10 – Dovetailed devilishly with Haaland in the transition.
Julian Brandt (ST) – 7/10 – Showed remarkable guile to coolly slot Borussia ahead before a nasty collision with Upamecano forced him off on a stretcher.
Erling Haaland (ST) – 8/10 – Every time the ball bounced in the same postcode as Dortmund’s towering talisman, Bayern’s backline shrunk into their sodden red shirts.
Donyell Malen (LW) – 5/10
Marius Wolf (RW) – 5/10 – Fired a shot so firm with his first touch he sent Lucas Hernandez off limping.
Steffen Tigges (ST) – N/A
Nico Schulz (LB) – N/A
Manuel Neuer (GK) – 6/10 – Made a shaky start in possession but raced off his line to rattle the ball clear ahead of Haaland with a crucial interception.
Benjamin Pavard (RB) – 4/10 – Hardly posed a threat going forward and conspicuous by his absence as he left his two centre backs to fend against Borussia’s breakaways between themselves.
Dayot Upamecano (CB) – 5/10 – Struggled against the force of nature that is Erling Haaland before playing a detrimental role in the striker’s goal.
Lucas Hernandez (CB) – 4/10 – Seemed perennially out of position and may well have ceded a spot kick when the score was 2-2.
Alphonso Davies (LB) – 5/10 – For once, his attacking contribution didn’t overtly out-weigh his defensive limitations.
Corentin Tolisso (CM) – 5/10 – Must have gotten neck ache watching the ball fly over his head for much of the match.
Leon Goretzka (CM) – 5/10 – A peripheral figure as he played through the pain barrier clearly carrying an injury.
Thomas Muller (AM) – 7/10 – It was Bayern’s Raumdeuter that initiated Bayern’s rebuttal with his injection of industry off the ball.
Kingsley Coman (RW) – 7/10 – Hovering behind Dortmund’s fullbacks, Coman was a constant outlet regularly found on the wing.
Robert Lewandowski (ST) – 8/10 – Whoever Bayern line up against their number nine is likely to score, let alone the team against which he has plundered more strikes than any other (26 in 25 games across all competitions).
Leroy Sane (LW) – 5/10 – Fluffed a clear sight of goal inside the penalty box when the game was level but not largely involved elsewhere. Unsurprisingly the first Bayern player subbed off.
Serge Gnabry (LW) – 5/10
Jamal Musiala (CM) – 5/10
Niklas Sule (CB) – N/A
Nianzou Kouassi (CB) – N/A