More Massaker than Klassiker: Five-star FC Bayern eviscerate dismal Dortmund

It was the big match everybody had been waiting for. The top of the table clash. The nail-biting, closely-fought championship decider. For some, the make or break for FC Bayern München and coach Niko Kovač. The match billed by the media as Der Klassiker. In the end, it turned into Das Massaker at the Allianz Arena.

Putting aside their stumble in Freiburg and near meltdown in the DFB-Pokal against second-tier Heidenheim, the Bavarians were back to their lethal best. With a heady mix of commitment, poise and ruthlessness, their championship rivals were torn to pieces.

Four changes, an early scare

The Bayern coach made five changes to the team that had started against 1. FC Heidenheim. David Alaba, Javi Martínez, Kingsley Coman and Robert Lewandowski all returned, replacing Rafinha, Leon Goretzka, James Rodríguez and Franck Ribéry. The fifth returnee was skipper Manuel Neuer, who took his place between the sticks in place of Sven Ulreich.

There was a solid but potent look about the lineup. Alaba and Coman added pace to the left to match the pairing of Joshua Kimmich and Serge Gnabry out on the right, and Thomas Müller was given a more central role in support of the returning Lewandowski. At the back, Martínez provided additional strength in front of an unchanged central defensive pairing of Mats Hummels and Niklas Süle.

In what was the 100th competitive contest between the two teams, it was the visitors that created the first opportunity after six minutes. Not for the first time the Bayern defence was caught cold, but this time they were lucky. Marco Reus found Mahmoud Dahoud in acres of space, but the youngster’s first time effort skimmed off the outside of Neuer’s left upright.

Committed and focussed

After the early flirt with disaster, Bayern’s response was almost immediate. Thiago whipped in a corner from the left, the Dortmund defence were nowhere to be seen, and ex-BVBer Hummels rose perfectly to direct a firm header past Roman Bürki. With ten minutes gone, Bayern were on their way.

The 75,000 crowd did not have to wait long for the second. The commitment and desire was clear to see. Every ball was chased down. No challenges were shirked. Dortmund were squeezed. Strangled. Suffocated. After 13 minutes, Thiago forced Bürki into what was the first of many excellent saves.

If Bayern were committed and focussed, their opponents were all over the place. After 17 minutes, Lewandowski pounced on an error from Dan-Axel Zagadou. After calmly chipping the ball over the advancing Bürki, the Pole finished the job with a typically clinical finish.

Lewy’s goal was his 200th in the Bundesliga, making him the fifth player to reach the mark and the second for FC Bayern after the legendary Gerd Müller.

Game over, with extra seasoning

Kovač’s men could have wound things down a little, but continued to press. Coman and Gnabry were running rings around the opponents, and chances continued to come. Bürki clawed the ball away to deny Hummels a second goal, and the keeper then kept out a Lewandowski effort.

Four minutes before the break, Die Roten finally scored their third. Zagadou’s nightmare continued when he was booked for a foul on Lewandowski, and the resulting free-kick was looped into the box by Thiago. What looked like a perfect training ground move was almost finished by Müller, but Bürki was there again.

Dortmund couldn’t get the ball away. After a Lewandowski shot was blocked, the ball fell to Martínez at the edge of the box. The Spaniard was calmness personified, side-footing it into the bottom right-hand corner with a marksman’s precision. The bench erupted, and Kovač leapt into the air. This was easy. So easy. Bayern were purring, and Dortmund were falling apart.

Two minutes later, it was game over. Lewandowski found Müller out on the right. Der Raumdeuter’s cross was perfect, and was finished in style by Gnabry who sneaked into the space between Łukasz Piszczek and Manuel Akanji. There were some desperate cries for offside, but Gnabry had timed his move perfectly.

Gnabry’s familiar “bowl stirring” celebration followed, but with an extra twist. Having tasted a sample, David Alaba wanted more seasoning. Out came the pepper mill. Et voilà. The analogy was unintended, but perfect. The Dortmund defence had acquired the consistency of soup, and it was being royally peppered.

Calm and controlled

The second half was a quieter affair. Bayern took their foot off the gas, while refusing to let their opponents off the leash. Mario Götze did get a sight of goal just past the hour mark, but that was as good as it got for Lucien Favre’s side.

As the game drew to its inevitable conclusion, the home crowd begged for one more burst. One more goal, if just to provide that little extra bit of icing on the cake.

Dortmund were finished, determined only to avoid a repeat of last year’s six-goal demolition. At times, it bordered on the embarrassing. Midfielder Thomas Delaney seeming more willing to take Lewandowski’s arm and dance with him than play football. Marco Reus, made to look second rate all evening, was reduced to the role of petty ankle-biter. He would have ended up in the book, were not for the generosity of referee Manuel Gräfe.

In the final five minutes, the men in red shifted up a gear. The Dortmund defence was cracked open again. Gnabry chased down Kimmich’s pass, and unselfishly laid the ball on a plate for Lewandowski for goal number five.

The win takes Bayern back to the top, a point clear of Dortmund.

There are still six match days remaining, and the psychological advantage is firmly with the Bavarians. Dortmund will find it hard to pick themselves up from such a mauling, while the Bayern players know that if they continue to play with the same desire and commitment, no opponent will ever come close.

Statistical Summary

FC Bayern München – Borussia Dortmund 5:0 (4:0)
Hummels 10., Lewandowski 17., 89., Martínez 41., Gnabry 43. / –

FC Bayern: Neuer (c) – Kimmich, Süle, Hummels, Alaba – Martínez (77. Goretzka) – Müller (80. Renato Sanches), Thiago – Gnabry, Lewandowski, Coman (68. Ribéry)

Dortmund: Bürki – Piszczek (69. Wolf), Akanji , Zagadou (46. Weigl), Diallo – Witsel – Dahoud (62. Götze), Delaney – Sancho, Bruun Larsen – Reus (c)

Referee: Manuel Gräfe (Berlin)
Attendance: 75,000

Yellow Cards: Lewandowski 70. / Zagadou 40., Delaney 70.
Red Cards: – / –

Shots: 22 / 4
Passes: 579 / 411
Completed Passes: 509 / 337
Pass Success: 88% / 82%
Possession: 59% / 41%
Fouls: 10 / 12
Offsides: 1 / 2
Corners: 11 / 1