Football Features

Bayern 4-0 Dortmund: Five things learned as Lewandowski surpasses true greatness

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 19:47, 9 November 2019

Bayern Munich returned to winning ways in the Bundesliga by inflicting a crushing 4-0 defeat on title rivals Borussia Dortmund.

The 101st league meeting between German giants was naturally decided by a man who has impacted on both clubs. Robert Lewandowski, who has been in devastating form of late, would register a brace and subsequently enter the history books.

Serge Gnarby and an unfortunate Mats Hummels own goal ensured all three points stayed in Munich thus placing even more pressure on the shoulders on BVB head coach Lucien Favre who now sees his side three points behind leaders Borussia Mönchengladbach having played a game more.

As for Bayern, reports of their demise were greatly exaggerated. As we begin to catch our breath, here are five things we learned from this encounter.

1. Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

Robert Lewandowski is unquestionably the world’s current best number nine. The numbers don’t lie and it spells trouble for whomever he’s facing. His former club Borussia Dortmund are never spared and they felt his wrath in the 17th minute when the Polish marksman put Bayern in front. The 31-year-old, who is showing no signs of waning, converted a lovely Benjamin Pavard cross with his noggin meaning he’s accomplished something no Bundesliga player has done before.

Lewandowski has now scored in each of the league’s opening 11 matchdays this season. A feat that was beyond some of the greatest strikers in history. By registering a 16th goal across these outings, he broke legendary German centre-forward Gerd Muller’s tally of 15 in opening 11 games from 51 years ago, to put his incredible goalscring prowess of late into context. Lewandowski has so far outscored 53 clubs across Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues which includes such names as Man Utd, Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, Marseille.

2. Inevitable

It’s not arrogance, but Bayern would have fancied themselves in this latest home duel with Borussia Dortmund, who remain the last Bundesliga side to deny them a championship. This mega win is nothing out of the ordinary. Just last season they claimed a 5-0 win, before that it was a 6-0 victory.

Since the Bayern tormentor Jurgen Klopp left with a 3-0 success in April 2014 they’d register a 2-1, 5-1 and 4-1 defeats in subsequent years. Hansi Flick passed his first major test, less than a week into the job, but a part of that may have been aided by a recent psychological hold the Bavian giants have over their fierce rivals.

3. Götze’s false dawn

There’s never a good time to play Bayern especially if they were humbled 5-1 in a preceding league game. Lucien Favre, whose under some pressure of his own, knew there would be a response so the challenge was to nullify that backlash.

An idea was to utlise ex-Bayern man Mario Gotze in the ‘false nine’ role with the thinking being having a mobile attack would stretch Bayern’s fragile backline which going into this game had bled in 16 goals across their opening 10 games something unheard of in recent years.

The problem was Bayern countered this was strong ball possession reducing Gotze to 26 touches of the ball, two more than Lewandowski, but the BVB midfield weren’t as dominant as their counterpart. The experiment wouldn’t last the full 90 minutes as the World Cup winner departed on the hour mark.

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4. Written off to soon?

It was somewhat fitting the German national team boss Joachin Low was in attendance. He, like many, would see firsthand that Thomas Muller — playing in Bayern game number 501 — has still plenty to offer the record Bundesliga champions. We aren’t privy to behind the scenes, but it became abundantly clear Niko Kovac no longer saw him being useful to his plans, which subsequently grew murmurings of him leaving the only club he’s ever known.

Incoming interim manager Flick had other ideas, not only easing Muller back into the fold, but making him an integral part of Bayern’s first eleven. This evening saw the raumdeuter of old return as he played a key role in Serge Gnarby doubling Bayern’s lead just two minutes after the half-time interval. It was a landmark moment for Muller, his 100th Bundesliga assist, which is more than any player has produced since the 2004/05 season.

5. Davies wins teenage duel

This was Alphonso Davies’ fourth consecutive Bundesliga appearance playing at left-back for Bayern Munich and he couldn’t have been entrusted with a tougher challenge. Up against him directly was European football’s most exciting wing prospect in Jadon Sancho (19) who has made seasoned full-backs look silly across the last 18 months.

Davies, who turned 19 earlier this month, was going to need to put in a performance well beyond his years this afternoon. In the end, he didn’t need to, Sancho less than ten minutes before the break would be hooked off for Raphaël Guerreiro in what looked to be a tactical switch as the Englishmen looked far off the pace.

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