The buildup to Der Klassiker, the “German Clasico” if you will, was all about one man — Mario Goetze. So it was a big surprise when Josep Guardiola opted to start Goetze on the bench in his highly-anticipated return to Dortmund.
Turns out, maybe Guardiola just wanted to set the stage for some second-half fireworks.
Goetze scored a brilliant outside-the-boot goal against his former club — and refrained from celebrating — to lead Bayern to a 3-0 victory, their first in Dortmund since November 2009 and first league win over their rivals in the past seven meetings. Bayern also extended their lead over third-placed Dortmund to seven points.
It never looked as if the result would be this clear-cut. For all of Dortmund’s injury problems, Jurgen Klopp’s men actually fared quite well to start. BVB let Bayern dominate possession but earned themselves the better share of chances in a scoreless first half. The makeshift back line of Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Manuel Friedrich (unemployed before this week), Kevin Grosskreutz and 21-year old Erik Durm held their own against Bayern’s vaunted offense.
But Guardiola’s moves to bring Goetze on for Mario Mandzukic and Thiago Alcantara for Jerome Boateng in the second half paid off almost immediately. Bayern began to look more comfortable in the short passing game, and ten minutes after coming on, the man who was greeted by deafening rounds of boos drove a stake right through Dortmund fans’ hearts.
Goetze refused to celebrate, but his goal hurt Dortmund fans plenty enough (Image: Getty)
Dortmund pushed back and found themselves with several excellent chances to grab an equalizer, but each time Manuel Neuer was up to the task. A pair of late goals by Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller in quick succession then brought Dortmund to their knees.
The resounding win could almost be considered a preliminary decision in the Bundesliga title race, even though it’s only November and second-placed Bayer Leverkusen are just four points off the pace. Bayern could lose two matches this season — which would already be one more than the previous year — and still stay ahead of their biggest challengers.