Borussia Dortmund – FC Bayern 0:0

The situation before the game between the league leader and the runner-up was clear. If Dortmund wins, the race for the league title will be wide open again. If Bayern wins, the championship probably will be decided. Consequently the tension was high before the game. Author: Steffen • Translator:

After the unlucky but in retrospective deserved 1:2 home loss against Mainz during the week the gap to Dortmund was narrowed. BVB had, besides the game in Berlin, won every game in the second half of the season. At the end it was a goalless draw of the extraordinary kind. A result which will make both sides happy – one way or another.

Borussia Dortmund vs. FC Bayern München, March 5th 2016Starting formation: Borussia Dortmund in 5-3-2 – FC Bayern in 4-1-4-1.

3 things we noticed

1. Tuchel with some great ideas

The extremely high tactical level of both teams was surprising. As expected Tuchel came up with something special: a mixture of a back 3 and a back 5. When having the ball they played in a 3-4-3. Against the ball they switched to 5 at the back.

The young German international Durm played the special role of right wing-back, which had two effects. First it was easy to put two defenders on Douglas Costa in defense and second he was able to surprise Munich’s defense from time to time. When Dortmund conquered the ball he played very high up and since Costa didn’t follow him, Bayern had to play almost every time 1v1 in the defense. Bernat vs Durm, Alaba vs Mikhitaryan, Kimmich vs Aubameyang and Lahm vs Reus.
He even had a good chance himself at the beginning, when he snuck behind Bernat’s back. Furthermore Kimmich had to clear in the last second after a Durm cross. Several times Alaba was called to Guardiola in the starting minutes to adjust the risky defensive structure. As a consequence Alonso fell back into the defensive line more often.

However it didn’t solve the underlying problem since he had to push forward often to stop Gündogan or Weigl. The only reason Dortmund couldn’t use that factor more was the good counter pressing of the away team and the way to slow shiftings to the open other side with an open Durm.

Guardiola openly gambled here in order to create pressure with the transitioning game.

(Bild: Christof Koepsel / Getty Images For MAN)

Second effect of the back 5 was the role of Hummels. With the additional safety by Pisczeck who fell back into the last line during Bayern’s ball posession, Hummels had the possibility to play a freely interpreted role in the midfield and to attack Müller very high up the pitch. Just like Augsburg tried two weeks earlier. Hummels played it differently then Gouweleeuw but did try to steal Müller’s creativity by pressuring him early. Bender tried to do the same with Lewandowski. That’s why Müller had to work that much and why he had, again, the most mileage in the Munich team. Those scenes showed how good Dortmund has become under Tuchel and how much the team has grown tactically. Gündogan is great and Mikhitaryan as well.

It was even more suprising that Bayern, with all their injury problems in defense and some players being out of form, was able to dominate most parts of this game. Foremost in the second half Bayern always found good solutions to relief pressure and control the game.

At the end it was nerve wrecking for the coaches. Both didn’t want to loose and both didn’t risk everything. Which is why there were no significant tactical changes during the game. At the end Bayern can have big self esteem since they controlled a strong opponent with a great coach in a safe manner.

2. Vidal (finally) proves his worth

After being a lot stronger lately Vidal deserved to start this game. After a weak first half of the league he showed in the last weeks why Bayern bought him last summer. He ran a lot of miles, played the intercepter for Alonso and always moved up into the box to create danger at crosses or with high speed.

Just the high number of attacks over the wings makes the goal thread from the midfield, while lacking a real header thread up front, so important. Something Schweinsteiger had perfectioned at the end of his time and scored several times per header. It is really difficult for a defensive line to control an advancing player with high speed while also remaining focused on the winger.

Vidal had the second most shots (4) and the most interceptions (5). He had the second biggest mileage after Müller and won the most tackles (14)
Even more he managed to control Gündogan, who was unstopable in the beginning.

Vidal made his case to persuade Guardiola to let him start in the remaining important matches in the Champions League and the German Cup. Vidal has talents that can’t be found a second time in this package and quality. That was the reason some people called him the “main transfer” before the season. Tonight he showed his critics why.

3. The old and wise man at right back

Probably it would have been well deserved to mention Kimmich at this place, who not only had a passing accuracy of 95% and was the organizer of Bayern’s build up and all that in his by far most important Bundesliga game.
But it is also correct to mention another member of the back 4. Philip Lahm physically hasn’t the same level as in the years 2006 to 2014. Which is no surprise after 10 years of professional career and being 32 years old.

Foremost against fast wingers he has obviously difficulties with speed and is reliant on winning the ball with the first action. He needs to adjust his game. He doesn’t participate in every attack anymore. He might not be the big anchor anymor. But what he does on a week to week basis is honourable.

When Reus left the field after 80 minutes without a single dangerous situation, Lahm must have done something right. Even more since he had to cope with the hardly defending Robben and the attacking Schmelzer as well. The special thing is, that he doesn’t even have to perform defensive tackles. Only 9 in this game. Not all of them being defensive tackles. And there are no obvious other defensive actions.

He counteracts his physical disadvantages by a smart use of spaces and little but highly effective offensive actions during the counter pressing. He intercepted two balls and assisted two shots on goal.

In this phase of his career Lahm probably won’t decide any games, but he surely is a constant performer on one of the problematic positions in worldwide soccer. The game tonight was a reminder how important he still is.

3.1 Those corners….

BORUSSIA DORTMUND – FC BAYERN 0:0
Borussia DortmundBürki – Piszczek, Bender, Hummels – Durm, Gündogan (90.+1 Sahin), Weigl, Schmelzer – Mkhitaryan, Reus (81. Ramos) – Aubameyang
BenchWeidenfeller – Subotic, Leitner, Castro, Ginter
FC BayernNeuer – Lahm, Kimmich, Alaba, Bernat – Vidal, Alonso (90. Benatia) – Robben, Müller, Costa (75. Ribéry) – Lewandowski
BenchUlreich – Thiago, Rafinha, Götze, Rode
Goals
CardsYellow: Bender / Alonso
RefereeStieler (Hamburg)
Attendance81.359 (sold out)

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