Football Features

Bayern’s best performers, and Dortmund’s worst offenders, as Der Klassiker ends in humiliation

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 19:46, 6 April 2019

Bayern Munich battered Borussia Dortmund 5-0 to storm to the top of the Bundesliga.

The victory was Bayern’s fifth-straight home Der Klassiker victory in the Bundesliga with a stunning aggregate score of 22-3. The match was over at half-time after a thrilling opening period from Bayern. Any match like this will always have its heroes and villains, who were they? We have a look!

Hero: Robert Lewandowski

It’s hard to describe just how good Robert Lewandowski is because he is so consistently excellent that you kind of take him for granted. He padded Bayern’s lead in the 17th minute of the game which was so incredibly brilliant, and his 200th Bundesliga goal, that many other strikers would have been ladened with praise for even trying it.

A defensive error put him 1v1, sure, but what he did from there was sensational. As Roman Burki charged forward to close him down, the ex-Dortmund man destroyed his old side and humiliated the otherwise excellent Burki with a subtle but spectacular dink, lifting the ball over him with just enough oomph that Lewandowski could beat defenders to the ball and stab it home. A miracle goal for a near-miracle player.

Villain: Dan-Axel Zagadou

Every hero needs to have a villain, and Dan-Axel Zagadou is the unfortunate villain here. Only playing because injury forced Abdou Diallo to cover left-back, Zagadou had the ball under his control with 17 minutes gone. He could have played a simple pass back to his goalkeeper or out to his full-back, instead he went for a square ball that was easily cut out by Lewandowski.

It was a catastrophic error that the Polish striker then duly punished, leaving poor Zagadou wishing the earth would swallow him whole. No such luck, however, as he had to play the rest of the half getting ripped apart by Bayern before finally being rescued by his coach as he was subbed off at half-time.

Hero: Thiago

Bayern’s return to form under Niko Kovac has a lot to do with the stability of Thiago in the middle of the park. The Spaniard forms part of a supreme double pivot with Javi Martinez and is the brains of the Bayern midfield. Tonight Dortmund couldn’t lay a finger on him in open play, and from dead-ball situations Thiago was like a surgeon with a scalpel.

Rarely has a player produced so many amazing good chances from set-pieces in one game – in fact no one in the Bundesliga this season created more chances from set-plays than Thiago’s 6. That he only had one assist is almost offensive, 5-0 or no, his team-mates should apologise to him!

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Villain: Thomas Delaney & Axel Witsel

Apart from their veterans Marco Reus and Lukas Piszczek, Dortmund have a young and lovely side full of fantastic ball-players. Adventurous youngsters oozing technique and skill. They could be a soft touch, but summer imports Thomas Delaney and Axel Witsel have brought a sense of steel to Dortmund. They are the bouncers that let Lucien Favre’s little dancers boogie on down.

Well today Bayern well and truly stormed the club. Witsel and Delaney couldn’t get anywhere near the Bayern midfielders, nor could they shield their makeshift back four either. It was a massive failure on there part which let Bayern run riot. About the only thing they accomplished was winding Lewandowski up enough that he almost got himself sent off.

Hero: Mats Hummels

While one Dortmund oldboy tortured his side today and thoroughly enjoyed it, Mats Hummels took a different approach to Robert Lewandowski. Firstly, if you can believe it, he was actually a greater threat to the Dortmund goal taking full advantage of Thiago’s sublime set-pieces. It’s no exaggeration to suggest that he should have had a hat-trick by half-time, such was the frequency with which he was dominating Dortmund’s defenders. And then, when he did open the scoring, he offered a muted celebration in apology.

With World Cup winners Lucas Hernández and Benjamin Pavard arriving in the summer, Mats Hummels will find his starting place under serious threat. As a result his quality form of late, and this performance in particular, will go a long way to confirming Mats Hummels as an undisputed Bayern starter and legend.

Villain: Mahmoud Dahoud

In games like this, taking chances is everything. So is scoring the first goal to set the tone. Dortmund came into the game with a two point advantage and had they taken the lead and silenced the Allianz Arena it could have done so much to stagger and disrupt Bayern’s surge. Instead, when the ball fell to Mahmoud Dahoud all on his own on the edge of Bayern’s box, in so much space that he could have taken two touches before shooting, he slapped it first-time. A noble effort that struck the outside of the post, but it should have been so much more.