Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang used his physical gifts to power Dortmund to a 2-0 win with a goal and an assist.
Pep Guardiola got a little funky again with this lineup, featuring Alaba as a make shift third centerback.
Bayern may have won the possession battle handily, but it mostly resulted in emptily passing the ball around until a Dortmund player made a tackle or interception, they were consequently outshot 22-4.
Press and Pace
The trident up top of Immobile-Aubameyang-Hoffman knew Bayern was featuring a mostly second unit midfield and relied heavily on the passing ability of David Alaba from the centerback position. Thus these three reacted by pressing Alaba, Martinez (Dante), and Boateng into making mistakes. Hojberg, Gaudino, and Rode were offensively non-existent as neither of the three could control possession in any sort of positive manner.
Once Bayern coughed up the ball, it was mostly sent in to Pierre-Emerick who used his pace to send out Alaba out wide, forcing Martinez and Boateng to scramble into useful defensive position. Neither were quick enough most of the time however, as Immobile and Hofmann typically found seams between the two, resulting in good chances.
The Dortmund attack was good, 95% of the way.
Once the ball was in Bayern’s box however, it was a much sloppier affair. Immobile, Aubameyang, Hofmann, and Mkhitaryan all had poor touches and passes that messed up the attacks that were flying in at a consistent rate. Many potential shots turned into poor touches and Borussia giving away posession, and many great shot attempts became only average shots that Manuel Neuer turned away with ease. This match could have gotten out of hand early, but didn’t.
Bayern counter by setting up down the left hand side
Bayern’s only counter to this all game was to attempt to go down the left hand side by using Alaba as a deep lying playmaker. There were flashes of success, Alaba fed a few long balls to Muller and Lewandowski who could knock them down towards Rode or Hojbjerg, and Bernat was great on the ball when involved. However, going down the left side fed into Aubameyang’s side of the press. The Gabon international eventually swallowed this build up and soon it looked much more of the same in this match.
Mkhitaryan runs down Dortmund’s left side
Henrikh Mkhitaryan was listed as a central midfeilder on the score sheet, but he was much more of a left attacking midfield. Dortmund was commonly comfortable with leaving four or five of their players near Munich’s backline while they attempted to knock the ball around in an attempt to control the game, which usually left Mkhitaryan in a more advanced postions. This set up the first goal. With Henrikh running down the left side of the pitch with the ball, he dribbled in behind Javi Martinez and fed Aubameyang throught the seam between Boateng and Alaba. The ball ricocheted back to Henrikh, leaving him with a great amount of space to beat Manuel Neuer near-post. 1-0.
Munich finish the half with a more direct approach
The best Bayern looked all game was when they would turn the Dortmund press on its head and go with a more direct route themselves. This was mostly utilized in the time between the first goal and the end of the first half. Xherdan Shaqiri was his most active in this stage of the game, running behind Lukasz Piszczek and finding space to operate again on Bayern’s left-hand side. This would in turn force Kirch to fall back to the backline or Sokratis out wide. While being the most threatening attacks Bayern had all game, it typically resulted in a corner or set piece or getting cleaned up before too dangerous of a look came.
Piszczek finally comes through
Early on in the match, Dortmund has a ton of success with Piszczek overlapping on the right hand side. When they forced Alaba to get narrow with an attack coming from the right-hand side there was a ton of space for Piszczek to come in behind Bernat and feed a cross into the box. Yet with all the quality looks they were getting from this side in the first half, none of them looked remotely close to breaking through
In the sixty-second minute however Lukasz received the ball for yet another chance. He crossed it into Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang whose header found the back of the net. Dortmund went up 2-0 and never look back, oh, and it resulted in this…
Beautiful, isn’t it?
It was a fun exciting game, yet there isn’t a whole lot to take away from it. Pep messed around with a three man back that included Alaba at LCB and a second unit midfield and paid heavily for it. Despite Guardiola banging the drum before the game saying this was an important game, Bayern slept through it like another friendly. They got burnt by Dortmund’s press and direct attacking play, but in the end the biggest question is how long will they be without Javi Martinez?