Advantage Klopp: Guardiola off to a losing start as Dortmund claim the first silverware of the new season.
The scoring was opened and closed by Marco Reus as Borussia Dortmund collected the first trophy of the new campaign, overcoming last seasons treble winners Bayern Munich to win the DFL Super Cup at Westfalenstadion.
Pep Guardiola’s first game in charge of the Bavarians got off to the worst possible start, as a Tom Starke mistake allowed Reus to open the scoring in the sixth minute.
On 54 minutes an Arjen Robben equaliser sparked a frenetic few minutes, as Dortmund scored 2
goals in as many minutes. Daniel van Buyten steered an Ilkay Gündogan cross into his own net to restore Dortmund’s lead, and Gündogan himself curled home to truly turn the game on its head.
Robben scored again just 7 minutes later, yet it wasn’t enough to inspire a comeback, with Marco Reus scoring his second, and Dortmund’s fourth, to secure victory.
Since the end of last season much of the focus on German football has surrounded Guardiola’s arrival at the Alliance Arena, and how he may change the team, finding a way to play his own brand of football. It was agreed last March that Dortmund ‘Wunderkind’ Mario Götze will join the Bavarian outfit, and Guardiola has since added Thiago Alcantara to his star-studded midfield.
Meanwhile, after losing out in the Bundesliga and suffering defeat in the Champions League Final, Dortmund have quietly gone about improving their squad with astute signings, creating a real platform that – they hope – will allow them to challenge on all fronts this season.
However, of the starting line-ups it was just Thiago making his debut, with Guardiola adopting a system akin to the one implemented by his predecessor Jupp Heynckes. Klopp was faced with a small selection issue, with no recognised ‘playmaker’ available to fill the hole left by Götze, who was unable to play for Bayern due to injury. Klopp opted to play Ilkay Gündogan in that role – a decision that proved to be wise.
Throughout the game Bayern had the lion’s share of possession, with Dortmund pressing high in hope of winning the ball in the final third. This is familiar now – something we’ve witnessed on each of the occasions the two sides have met in recent seasons. Dortmund aim to win the ball in the final third, or attack swiftly on the counter, while Bayern hope domination of possession and quick movement will help them create a multitude of chances.
Replacing Manuel Neuer, Starke’s early fumble of a Sven Bender header allowed Reus to nod home from close range – giving Dortmund the early lead that they lacked when carrying out the same gameplay in the European showpiece back in May. A game played at high tempo, Lewandowski seemed to have doubled the lead after just eight minutes – only for his strike to be adjudged offside. Bayern responded though, and forced Roman Weidenfeller into a number of fine saves in front of the Südtribüne, helping Dortmund to hold on to the lead going into the break.
The second half was an unforgettable one, and the first encounter between Klopp and Guardiola lived up to it’s billing. Less than ten minutes after the break Bayern were level as Arjen Robben scored a headed home a Philipp Lahm cross. It wasn’t to last long. Ilkay Gündogan took it upon himself to take the game to Bayern, and it was his cross that Daniel van Buyten headed beyond Starke and into his own net. Not sixty seconds later the lead was 3-1, as Gündogan beat Thomas Müller and curled home from the edge of the box.
Bayern, however, didn’t win the treble for no good reason. With 25 minutes remaining Robben, once again supplied by Lahm, smartly turned on the edge of the box and struck an effort past Weidenfeller. There was more to come yet, and Müller nearly found the equaliser, his effort striking the bar after a delightful chipped pass from Thiago.
By now Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had entered the fold, making his competitive debut in the yellow and black of BVB. Having already missed an opportunity to score, Aubameyang was released down the right-hand side once again in the 86th minute, squaring for Marco Reus to score and put the result to bed.
So, I suppose the upcoming Bundesliga season maynnot be a full gone conclusion after all? Guardiola’s side did indeed line up without Manuel Neuer, Javi Martinez, Mario Götze and Franck Ribery, but Dortmund will certainly be the happier after this performance. In future Guardiola may hesitate to play Thiago in such a deep position – the new signing has talent in abundance and is always comfortable on the ball, but he just didn’t look ready to hold the midfield at the very highest level, but he will improve, as will Bayern as a whole, as Guardiola finds what he sees as the right system to fit his players.
We aren’t to know what psychological impact the game and result will have, but claiming the first trophy of the season, and their first win against Bayern in 5 games, will do them no harm. But as Jürgen Klopp said after the game, Dortmund have to face 16 other teams in the Bundesliga this season, and it those results that will determine how close they can get to another Bundesliga title.
At the very least, Saturday’s game shows is that we can anticipate an exciting and fiercely contested Bundesliga campaign.