Bayern Collect Another Trophy Against Dortmund
After the loss in Hoffenheim on the weekend, Bayern faced Borussia Dortmund in what felt like the hundredth version of this matchup in German Supercup. Usually the last match before the season starts and more a final friendly than a friendly final, this year both teams had a few games to prepare. Bayern was looking for their record eight win of the trophy, while fending off Dortmund to match Munich’s total.
With Sané’s injury during the week, Goretzka missing the match on short notice and Gnabry getting a much needed rest, Flick basically had no choice in his personnel. However, there were many different formations he could send his team out on the pitch. The options seemed unlimited as demonstrated by German and American TV broadcasters tapping in the dark and putting up formations that turned out to be wrong.
Bayern ended up playing with a back four of Pavard, Süle, Lucas and Davies. Martínez was the clear center defensive midfielder, which led to Kimmich playing higher up the pitch. Tolisso lined up as the offensive midfielder and pushed Müller to the right wing.
The game shows two things. On the one hand, it is good to see that Bayern has many polyvalent players, who can line up in different positions on the pitch. On the other hand, the really thin squad became even more evident. Bayern’s front office has until next monday to act and fill up the depth chart of the roster.
It has been a recurring theme in the first few matches of the season: Lucas Hernandez is finally here to stay. The Frenchman is showing the strengths in his game that made Brazzo pull out his chequebook and pay the hefty price tag of 80 million Euros last summer. Lucas is a true presence in central defense and taking on his opponent every chance he gets. His physicality helps him a lot in direct duels and seems to frustrate opposing players. But these are the typical vigorousness of an alum of the Atletico academy.
If there is one area you would really like to see him improve on, it is his sliding tackles. A regular half by Lucas has him sliding on the ground more often than Philipp Lahm used to in an entire season. In nine cases out of ten a sliding tackle is a bad option as the defender cannot counter any further moves by the attacking player.
While Bayern was able to keep this an open game in the first thirty minutes and managed to go ahead by 2-0, the team performance significantly dropped off after the half hour mark. Following that the game seemed to be somewhat of a copy of the Hoffenheim match with Bayern struggling to create chances on one end and conceding fastbreak attacks on the other end.
With Tolisso as the offensive midfielder and Martinez playing in the build up, Bayern lacked structure in their own possession. The Frenchman also disappeared for entire stretches of the match, which halted Bayern’s offensive firepower. On defense even the addition of Martinez wasn’t enough to stabilize the Munich backfour. Both goals resulted from losses of possession, where Dortmund was just quicker to switch. The BVB created several other chances by exploiting the space behind the defenders and forcing Süle and Hernandez into run duels. Until fixed by Flick and the training staff, this will be a weakness opponents are looking to exploit.
When Bayern lacked offensive firepower in the second half and did not even create a single shot at goal, it was newly appointed
dragon Dortmund slayer Kimmich for the rescue. The German midfielder never quits and probably wanted to win this match more than any other player on the pitch. And just like last weekend when he curled a ball into the top-left corner against Hoffenheim, this goal was all him.
Kimmich wins the ball in midfield against Delaney and finds Lewandowski running the brake along with him. What happens then can only be described as a typical Thomas-Müller-goal. Lewandowski passes to Kimmich, who shoots but has his attempt saved by Bürki. The ball bounces back towards the falling Kimmich and somehow he manages to get his foot in the direction of the ball from where it is deflected and sails into the net.
The game featured female referee Bibiana Steinhaus, who waited until the day of the final to announce that this was to be her final match as an umpire. The 41-year old was the first woman to be head referee on the top level of German football and regularly officiated finals in women’s soccer most notably the World Cup final in 2011. Mrs. Steinhaus will be missed, but continues to be an inspiration for girls referees worldwide.