With an unprecedented fifth consecutive win over Bayern, Dortmund have claimed their first double in their 103 year club history. It was a truly historic win for Klopp’s team and one that capped off one of the great domestic seasons in German football history. Unlike their previous encounters this season, this one was surprisingly open initially but with so much on the line, one individual error too many cost Bayern in the end. Dortmund’s typical high energy pressing and attacking game was too much to handle for a Bayern side that admittedly had one eye on the Champions League final next week but were also unable to take their chances and penetrate Dortmund’s solid defense.
Kagawa kicked off the scoring in the third minute after an error in Bayern’s defense before Robben equalized from the spot 20 minutes later. Dortmund quickly responded with two goals in four minutes from Hummels and Lewandowski before the break. The second half got under way under similar circumstances with Lewandowski taking advantage of more complacent defending and getting Dortmund’s fourth on 58 minutes. Ribery then gave Bayern a lifeline 15 minutes from time with a great individual effort before Lewandowski collected his hattrick ten minutes from time.
Lineups and Formations
Tactics were emphasized by both coaches ahead of the match with a special emphasis on Dortmund’s quick transition play, something that Bayern have struggled with immensly in the past 19 months, not only against Dortmund but several other sides in the league. No surprise then that both fielded their strongest teams. Klopp continued with the effective Kehl and Gündogan in central midfield and left a recently recovered Mario Goetze on the bench while Heynckes trusted in the same side that eliminated Real Madrid from the Champions League, sitting Müller in favor of Kroos.
Individual errors cost Bayern
How a team copes with Dortmund in the opening phases of the match often determines what happens for the remainder of the game. Unfortunately for Bayern, miscommunication between Gustavo and his backline allowed Kagawa to score Dortmund’s first and set the tone for the rest of the match. No Bayern defenders reacted to a Gustavo back pass and instead, Kuba pounced on it and laid it off to Kagwa who just had an open netin front of him. Looking to correct their mistakes Bayern got into gear very quickly and Robben slipped a pass to Gomez on the right but his shot was parried safe for a corner by Weidenfeller.
As expected, Bayern had the majority of possession for the remainder of the first half but struggled to get past Dortmund’s solid backline. Kuba and Grosskreutz helped Piszczek and Schmelzer double up on Ribery and Robben and Hummels and Subotic made sure none of Kroos or Schweinsteiger’s through balls reached their targets. Bayern did well to react to that though and started playing their passes from deeper positions after Dortmund pushed forward, capitalizing on the space left behind. Schweinsteiger’s played Gomez on goal with one such pass, Weidenfeller reacted too late and caught the man instead of the ball. With his miss in the league still fresh in his memory, Robben stepped up and converted the penalty this time. The game was back on and the momentum favoring Bayern.
The next chance fell to Lahm of all players. Ribery beat his markers down the left and pulled the ball back to the Bayern captain but Hummels was in the right place at the right time and averted what would have otherwise been a goal. That missed opportunity was a turning point. 8 minutes later Dortmund attacked down the left. The ball fell to Kuba near the 6 yard box and Boateng committed too early and gave away an unnecessary penalty. Up stepped Hummels to make it 3-1 to Dortmund. It was a bitter blow to a Bayern that just had their best spell against this Dortmund team. It would get worse. On the stroke of halftime Piszczek played a long ball to Lewandowski which the Bayern defense failed to clear and instead directed right to Kagawa’s feet. With Alex Ferguson watching in the stands and a rumored move to Manchester United on the cards, the Japanese playmaker appropriately played a defense splitting through ball past both Bayern defenders and to Lewandowski who shot the ball through the feet of Neuer. In just four minutes, Bayern stood on the verge of their biggest defeat in Cup history.
Collective prevails over the individual
Knowing he had to make up a lot of ground Heynckes brought on Muller for Gustavo at half-time. There was no more room for errors. Whatever chances were created had to be converted. That pressure only made Bayern more insecure though and played directly into Dortmund’s hands. Bayern were so caught up in chasing the game they hurried their passes and were sloppy in possession.. Schweinsteiger gave the ball away carelessly in the 58th minute and Dortmund immediately launched a counterattack. Kagawa saw Grosskreutz open on the left who in turn spotted Lewandowski on the far right side. Without hesitating, Lewandowski buried his shot past a helpless Neuer left hung out to dry by his defense.
It was a situation all too familiar for Bayern. They suffered a similar fate against Hannover and Gladbach this season and failed to adjust time and time again. It was another example of caving in under immense pressure and getting caught on the counter too easily. With so much breathing room Dortmund really started to enjoy themselves and it was Bayern who had to strike on the counter. Ribery, one of Bayern’s only effective attackers on the day, crossed from the left after a quick counter of his own but Gomez’s header only hit the crossbar. It was also Ribery’s ingenuity on 75 minutes that gave Bayern a small margin of hope after he switched over to the right, cleverly pulled the ball back, and perfectly placed a shot in the bottom left corner. One player was not enough to overcome eleven though and as much as they tried the game was beyond reach.
Lewandowski capped it all off after Neuer failed to hold on to a through ball from Gundogan on 81 minutes that Piszczek picked up and crossed to his countryman to head in. Bayern had collapsed in a heap of individual errors and collective tactical inadequacy. They started well and matched Dortmund in almost every respect in the first 40 minutes but as has been the case too often against Dortmund, they lacked their precision in front of goal and their discipline in defense. Gomez was a threat initially but was once again neutralized by Hummels and Subotic. Badstuber and Boateng were nervous and accident prone, Neuer unsure of himself and Lahm and Alaba very rarely a threat going forward. In stark contrast, Schmelzer and Piszczek did an impressive job against Ribery and Robben and did not give them much room to operate. In midfield, Schweinsteiger and Kroos were up against five Dortmund players who swarmed them at every turn. Heynckes’ more rigid individualized system had no alternatives to yet another great team performance from Dortmund.
Whatever else happens from here, Dortmund can take comfort in the fact that they just concluded one of the great individual seasons in German football history. Whether it was their record breaking league season or one of the most dominant cup final performances, what Klopp has achieved with this team is highly commendable. And it is not only the fact that they have beaten Bayern an unprecedented five times in the row, it is the manner in which they have beaten them, making them look utterly pedestrian at times. To do that to a side as great as this Bayern team is a truly remarkable achievement.
Robben admitted in a recent kicker interview that their primary goal is to win the Champions League this season and maybe that sentiment, burrowed deep in the subconscious of this Bayern team, detracted from the task at hand against Dortmund. Whatever the case may be, this Dortmund side have their number like no one else and only a win next saturday against Chelsea will redeem a defeat as bitter as the ones to Dortmund this season.
Jupp Heynckes: “Congratulations to BVB. Borussia deserved the win. They ruthlessly exploited our weaknesses. We were very unfocused in defence today and handed out gifts. All in all, our defensive display was a catastrophe. Borussia Dortmund created one chance in the first half but scored three goals. We blew it at the decisive moments and made far too many unnecessary mistakes, and obviously you’ll never win a match if you make such basic errors. In the cold light of day, you have to accept we wouldn’t have deserved to win.”
Philipp Lahm: “We were the better team for 90 minutes, but we made disastrous errors and kept handing it to our opponents on a plate, a situation Dortmund used to the full. We can’t be making errors like that next week.”
Arjen Robben: “Losing 5–2 hurts a lot. I can’t explain that performance. We’re frustrated now, but as of Monday our focus is on the Champions League final.”
Jürgen Klopp: “From a Dortmund point of view, it’s impossible to imagine a better cup final. We struck ruthlessly and we scored great goals. What we’re feeling now definitely can’t be put into words.”
Sebastian Kehl: “Bayern are a very, very good team, and we’ve been made to work extremely hard tonight. But I think we’ve proved we’re worthy champions and cup winners this season. We were always up for it and alert. Taking a 2–1 lead settled us down, and then we scored the important third before half-time. In the second half we waited for our chances on the break, and we’ve ended up deserving to win.”
Joachim Löw (Germany coach): “I never expected this result, but especially based on the second half it’s a deserved victory. Dortmund always show plenty of bite against Bayern, but I think we’ll see a huge reaction from Bayern against Chelsea next weekend.”
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