Game in a sentence
Bayern Munich celebrate thanks to Arjen Robben’s game winning goal in the DFB Pokal quarterfinal. It was a deserved 1-0 victory for the Bavarians, who finally ended their losing streak against Borussia Dortmund.
- A highly anticipated match that attracted the likes of Michel Platini (who correctly predicted a Bayern victory) and Joachim Loew. Loew of course had the privilege of watching 11 of his German nationals in action today.
- It was an unusually slow game for two attack-minded teams. But within the first half, Bayern Munich managed to establish itself as the more dominant presence
- Defensively Dortmund struggled the entire game. Not having their central defender Mats Hummels in the lineup hurt them. The defender, known for anchoring the defense and getting involved in plays higher up the pitch, forced Dortmund to play a lot deeper than usual. Felipe Santana appeared shakiest at the back and Marcel Schmelzer also wasn’t having his best game.
- Both teams played very compact forcing both sides to rely on the long ball. Bayern, however, managed to create more quality chances from the long balls, which were causing considerably trouble for their opponents.
- Die Schwarzgelben never set a firm footing. They played out of character, conceding several corners and had trouble moving the ball forward, especially in the first 45 minutes. BVB played slow and unthreatening, which lay in contrast to their customary high tempo and ‘gegenpressing’ style.
- Bayern outplayed Dortmund in nearly every department. They were in command for the entire 90 minutes.
- Bayern took more initiative in attack and despite missing a few early chances were rewarded right before the end of the first half. Robben drove in a beautiful left-footer right outside the edge of the penalty box.
- It was a foolish mistake for Dortmund. The initial cross from Philipp Lahm was intercepted but not cleared by Santana. Confusion and miscommunication ensued as Dortmund stood frozen, with not one single player trying to drive the ball out of danger and it somehow ended right in front of the Dutch player’s feet, who finished the play.
- Before that goal it looked like the game would end in a draw.
- In the second half, BVB picked up the pace. They probably created more chances in the first 20 minutes of the second half than they had for the entire first.
- But to rephrase what Klopp said before the game, Dortmund can’t expect to win against Bayern if they play at 98%. They must play to the fullest. Sadly, his players failed to execute the advice. From the start, Dortmund didn’t appear capable of overcoming their opponents.
- Having one of the best midfields in Europe, this team had trouble connecting on nearly every play. Kevin Grosskreutz wasn’t very effective, but neither were Mario Goetze, Marco Reus and Robert Lewandowski. While Goetze should be rewarded for his fine stop on Dante’s header in the 79th minute, his onslaughts were poor and Bayern didn’t have much difficulty in neutralizing them.
- Bayern’s defensive midfielders Martinez and Bastian Schweinsteiger outperformed Dortmund’s. They did get lucky on the Martinez call though. His harsh tackle on Lewandowski clearly warranted a red card, but only received a yellow.
- BVB’s best chances likely came from Ilkay Gundogan in the 52nd and 75th minute. His first was stopped by Manuel Neuer and in the second he slid past Thomas Mueller but the ball went wide.
- Reus, like the rest of his teammates, was having a dreadful game. He was eventually substituted for Julian Schieber. Next to Gundogan, he had an equally excellent attempt to score, but his header just missed the net and went over the post. That was their final chance to salvage something from the match.
- Dortmund’s best player on the pitch was Roman Weidenfeller, who made several significant stops to keep his team in the game. He made a fantastic save in the 58th minute on Mueller and another one on a finger-tipping save on Martinez 12 minutes later. He kept his team alive and made one last superb save when he denied Mario Mandzukic with four minutes to go in regular time.
- Juergen Klopp sensing his team’s lack of attack, injected Kuba for Grosskreutz. The latter being a lot more defensive minded. But even Kuba’s energy lacked to inspire his side.
- The win probably meant more for Bayern than it did for Dortmund. In last year’s Cup final, Bayern were humiliated by BVB, losing 5-2. Aside from the Super Cup, Bayern hadn’t beaten die Schwarzgelben in the past five Bundesliga games.
- Bayern, of course, were without Franck Ribery, whose shoes were filled by Robben. This was one of his best performances. And his celebration at the final whistle had him on his knees.
- Meanwhile, Dortmund has had an extremely inconsistent season. Some speculate there’s less priority on the domestic league and more on making it on the European stage.
- With one titan out of the DFB Pokal, that will at least make it easier for the other teams to reach the final in Berlin.