Match in a sentence
A moment of sheer class from Arjen Robben was the difference maker, as Bayern Munich knocked out rivals Borussia Dortmund in the DFB Pokal quarterfinals.
- Jupp Heynckes opted to set his team up in their traditional 4-2-3-1 with Mario Mandzukic leading the line. Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben played out wide and Toni Kroos played behind Mandzukic. Heynckes’ midfield consisted of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez.
- Jurgen Klopp lined his side up in a 4-3-3 with Robert Lewandowski leading the line. Mario Gotze and Marco Reus played out wide, with a midfield trio consisting of Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin Grosskreutz and Sven Bender. With Mats Hummels and Jakub Blaszczykowski missing, it wasn’t much of a surprise to see Klopp add an extra man in the midfield.
- The start of the game was equivalent to a chess match in terms of pressing. Bayern pressed the Dortmund defenders, forcing either Neven Subotic or Felipe Santana to distribute play from the back. Hummels is far superior to both men in terms of passing and that was where he was missed. Bayern’s pressing led by Mandzukic forced Dortmund to concede possession in their final third several times.
- Dortmund on the other hand pressed Bayern’s midfield, which forced Schweinsteiger and Martinez to drop deeper than usual to start plays. Brazilian centre back Dante played a significant role when Dortmund pressed, seeing as they allowed him to string passes and get forward. This was significant because although Bayern’s midfield was unable to dictate play initially, Dante played diagonal balls out wide to Muller and Robben.
- Klopp’s decision to play Gorsskreutz in the midfield was an attempt to stop Bayern from controlling the midfield, especially with Kroos dropping deeper to create 3v2 situations. Although, Kroos didn’t have one of his best games (credit to Bender), as the half wore on Martinez and Schweinsteiger began to grow into the game. With Reus and Gotze higher up the pitch, David Alaba and Phillip Lahm were cautious about going forward, but this left more space for Bayern’s midfield to dominate.
- As we approached half time Bayern took the lead, courtesy of a glorious Robben finish. Marcel Schmelzer coneceded possession in his own third, and the ball fell to an unmarked Robben. The Dutch international looked up and calmly curled his shot past Roman Weidenfeller.
- With Dortmund looking to get an equalizer, Bayern opted for a more cautious approach in the second half. Without the ball, they became a 4-4-2, allowing Santana to play balls from the back. It was wise seeing as he isn’t the greatest passer, but Bayern’s cautious approach allowed Gundogan to have a better second half. Gundogan dropped deeper to receive the ball and despite the pressure applied, he was able to pick passes with ease.
- Dortmund’s midfield along with the introduction of Julian Schieber and Blaszczykowski brought more energy and promise to their attack, but they were unable to make the most of the opportunities presented.
- It’s also key to note that Weidenfeller was superb on the night, as Bayern had several chances to increase their lead, but the German goalkeeper kept his side in the match. Brazilian defender Dante was instrumental in Bayern’s back line and he nullified Lewandowski for 90 minutes. Not only was he superb defensively, but he came close to scoring as well. It’s hard to remember a game this season where Gotze, Reus and Lewandowski were all ineffective.
- Despite a better second half, Klopp’s tactical approach to this game was ineffective. It could be down to having a small squad or fatigue, but today’s performance reminded us why Bayern are 17 points clear of their rivals. Along with an inconsistent season, Dortmund has struggled to challenge on three fronts, and this cup exit will surely leave Klopp and his men focused on European glory.
- The Bavarians have finally conquered Dortmund, defeating them for the first time in their last six attempts. It was a great performance from the league leaders, and it goes to show that their summer acquisitions have paid off. In terms of depth and quality Bayern is the superior side, and their dominant performance today displayed that. This win ensures that Bayern has a legitimate chance of not only winning a league double, but also a potential treble in May.
2. Bastian Schweinsteiger
3. Roman Weidenfeller