Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund convincingly at the Signal Iduna Park, marking their impressive improvement under Jupp Heynckes.
Super, super Bayern
OMG, what a game of football we just witnessed today. Bayern beat Borussia Dortmund 3:1 in an impressive display.
The Reds displayed high pressure, smart possession, counter-attacking and individual brilliance. The team had it all (and yes, there were a couple of defensive mistakes as well).
The game started out in usual cagey fashion, with neither side wanting to make the early error. The defense was composed and efficient, and midfield was outrageously accurate with passing and possession. Gradually, the game opened up to both attacks, and chances started to pop up. Nicklas Süle made one of his best tackles of the season to prevent Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from latching onto a close-range finish, after the ball had been long-passed to the Dortmund striker. What a way to justify his selection ahead of Jerome Boateng.
Bayern took the lead through Arjen Robben shortly afterwards (17′), and the tie started turning in the Reds’ favour. Borussia Dortmund struggled to keep up after this goal. By the end of the first half, it was game, set and match.
New wall of Munich
You read that right. A few weeks ago, Sven Ulreich drew the wrath of Bayern fans on a weekly basis, showing poor technique coupled with shortage of confidence. It is therefore my pleasure to announce today, that we might not miss Manuel Neuer as much as we had thought we would, which is actually good news.
Ulreich single-handedly kept out Andriy Yarmolenko twice in the first half alone, dazzling with a show of composure and aplomb. He made some fascinating one-on-one saves with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang unable to beat him on even one occasion.
After the Ancelotti era, there were reports in the media suggesting that Jupp Heynckes was having more hands-on time with Sven Ulreich in training sessions. That clearly has paid off hugely, with Ulreich looking a much improved goalkeeper than he ever was under Carlo Ancelotti. If he keeps growing in this direction, it is hard to see us itching for Manuel Neuer like we did back in August. Ulreich was arguably our man of the match in the previous game against Celtic, and with that being said, I sense a positive trajectory here for Ulreich’s Bayern Munich career.
“Magic touch? Jupp.”
Seven games, seven wins. Three goals conceded, 17 scored.
The revival marches on under Jupp Heynckes’ fourth spell at Bayern. Wow, this man knows the art of football really well. His effect is so visibly palpable for everyone to see, with players waking up from their slumber under Carlo Ancelotti’s laissez-faire coaching approach. Every single player in the team has upped their game since Heynckes took over, I cannot think of one who has not. The defence has a much lower goal-conceding rate, the midfield is back to its 2013 brilliance, and we are creating more chances (and converting them).
The most notable developments so far should be with Kingsley Coman, Javi Martínez and Sven Ulreich. These three have transformed our performances because of their sheer improvement in intelligence of play. With the season currently moving in a title-winning direction, we would hope for the boys to continue putting out excellent displays of growth in every game, as they have in the past few weeks.
Let’s talk about Lewy…
He is one of the world’s best strikers, no doubt about that. Arguably the best in 2017 for club and country, Robert Lewandowski scored an amazing goal right before halftime that reminded everyone of his absolutely ridiculous credentials. He flicked the ball past Roman Bürki after a precise Kimmich cross from the right flank. We got instant eye-candy after he had missed a host of glorious chances to put us in control.
That seems to be the root of the discussion about Lewandowski at the moment. He is scoring, yes, but he can do so much better. Anyone who watched the game today was wowed by Lewandowski’s goal almost as much as they were frustrated by his misses. He was bottling one-on-one chances, missing free headers, and misfiring his shots at times.
Lewandowski scores a lot, and is scoring a lot. But one cannot help but notice that he would do us a massive amount of help in games if he improved on his finishing a bit more. Let’s not allow his sweet finishes at times to paper over the cracks, as with today, because one goal scored out of 5 or 6 clear-cut chances does not reek of world-class.
Time to put in work, Lewy.
Remember the secret
Weeks ago, I highlighted one of the secrets teams need these days to win multiple tournaments. Squad depth was Real Madrid’s secret in the 2016/2017 season, and it just might be ours this season. Boy do we have some talent on the bench. Notice how just a few players make the full 90 minutes in games now? That is because of how efficiently our pool of talent is being managed here by the coaching staff. There isn’t a single player on our bench who is unfit to play in the first team of any of the world’s biggest clubs, and that could be harnessed even better, since we aim for success in all 3 tournaments we are competing in this season.
Arturo Vidal, a player who is the hope of many-a-team in the best leagues in the world, has not played 90 minutes in the past 3 games. Not even Thiago Alcântara or James Rodriguez has, and all this is happening with the host of injury cases that are on-going at the moment.
I personally am excited to see how we could improve after Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller, Franck Ribéry and Juan Bernat are finally back in action.
Exciting times ahead.