Dortmund travelled to Munich, having just hired a new coach in Peter Stöger. Both teams secured a rather lucky but certainly feel-good win on Bundesliga matchday 17, as Bayern won 1-0 in Stuttgart thanks to Sven Ulreich and Dortmund beat Hoffenheim 2-1 with a late winner.
Three Things We Noticed
1. Bundesliga reloaded
In case you have not followed the Bundesliga closely this season, this game is a wonderful summary. Bayern played well at times but could not hold the level throughout 90 minutes. The fact that it was still enough to win was in the end also due to the opponent. Dortmund showed some shocking weaknesses in the defensive movement and zonal coverage, which should not come as a surprise considering their current situation but kinda did due to the extent.
Even though the visitors showed themselves to be stronger in the second half, they were still not an actual force. If the Bayern players had pulled off a respectable combination game, nothing would have ever been in danger. Instead, it was a weak fight between not wanting and not being able to. In the end, Bayern stumbled across the finish line.
The situation has been similar in German football for months. Both in individual matches and in the overall picture, the Bavarians have proven regularly to be prone to errors and defeat, but no team is able to exploit this.
Bayern’s path back to its own peak is a long one. The league’s path to serious competitiveness is currently an even longer one.
2. The Müller question
Even if it could not be his game at all due to the left-flank focus and the often low standing Dortmunders: Thomas Müller showed up again. After the winning goal in Stuttgart, he was the eternal commuter between the wing and the centre on Wednesday evening.
His goal to make it 2-0 was peak Thomas Müller in a nutshell. A clever pass to the team-mate, a perfect run into the resulting space, a deliberate finish – like in the best of times he was both the interpreter of space and goal scorer at the same time.
If Müller succeeds in keeping his form improvement beyond the winter break, there will be another option for Heynckes’ attack. Too unique and too important for Lewandowski are his skills to push the deputy captain into the second row.
The question will not be whether he plays, but where. James Rodriguez, who can hardly be excluded from the team at present, is increasingly filling the position behind Lewandowski which Müller claimed in recent years. In March and April, this question will be answered thanks to rotation, form crises and injuries. Until then, we should prepare ourselves for numerous discussions and pondering.
3. Happy Holidays!
The cup game against Dortmund marked the end of a turbulent year 2017 for Bayern, with spectacular victories such as the 5:4 in Leipzig and tragic defeats such as the one at Estadio Bernabeu. One of the earliest coaching dismissals and shortly afterwards one of the most surprising comebacks in the club’s history took place.
Looking back, the year feels like a small step backwards. Although the point average was not significantly worse than in the recent past and the elimination in the cup competitions was highly unfortunate, the playful highlights became more and more rare. Every now and then the wind of the Superbayern was still blowing through the Allianz Arena, but it never seemed to be strong enough to carry the team through several games. It should be the new year’s resolution of the club to get back to its former strength in 2018.
Finally, there is only one thing left to say: thank you very much! Without you, the faithful readers, we wouldn’t be writing about our favorite club week after week. You are an integral part of Miasanrot. We hope that you will be there again next year. The whole editorial team wishes you happy, relaxing holidays and a happy new year!
|FC Bayern – Borussia Dortmund 2:1 (2:0)|
|Bayern||Ulreich – Kimmich, Boateng, Süle, Alaba – Martínez (87. Rudy), Vidal – Müller, James (75. Tolisso), Ribéry (60. Coman) – Lewandowski|
|Subs||Starke, Rafinha, Bernat, Götze|
|Dortmund||Bürki – Toljan (88. Isak), Sokratis, Bartra (34. Dahoud), Toprak, Schmelzer – Pulisic, Kagawa, Weigl, Guerreiro (56. Schürrle) – Yarmolenko|
|Subs||Weidenfeller, Zagadou, Subotic, Sahin|
|Goals||1:0 Boateng (12.), 2:0 Müller (40.), 2:1 Yarmolenko (76.)|
|Yellow cards||Ribéry, Lewandowski, Vidal – Dahoud|
|Referee||Sascha Stegemann (Niederkassel)|
|Attendance||75.000 (sold out)|