Thomas Tuchel scores Bayern Munich in Klassiker win
MUNICH, Germany — Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund in the most electric edition of The Klassiker for years, led by a brace from Thomas Müller en route to a 4-2 win.
BVB traveled to Munich hoping to maintain or expand their one-point lead on the Bundesliga table, while Bayern looked to bounce back from the turmoil amid the sudden sacking of manager Julian Nagelsmann last week. last during the international break.
Bayern’s new head coach Thomas Tuchel found a way to secure the decisive 4-2 victory over his former club in his first appearance at the Allianz Arena. Bayern outplayed their rivals in all areas of the game and not only reclaimed the Bundesliga lead but also said the record-breaking champions will most likely celebrate their 11th straight title in May.
1. Bayern Munich play Tuchel-branded football
Even though the new Bayern manager has only had a few training sessions with the core of his team, Tuchel has managed to leave his mark on the game and start his new spell in Munich on the right foot.
Bayern played with more structure against Dortmund on Saturday than under Nagelsmann in the weeks before he was sacked. The hosts have shown some of the elements that have defined Tuchel’s teams in the past, particularly the versatile wing plays and switching passes to the other side.
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Tuchel also appeared to be specifically targeting Dortmund midfielder Emre Can. Leon Goretzka, who was on paper a central midfielder in Bayern’s 4-2-3-1, moved forward and distracted the Dortmund midfielder on several occasions. Goretzka raced down the left half-space and opened up space for Müller on the right side.
It sounds pretty simple, but Tuchel found the tactical tools he needed to outsmart his former team.
2. Kobel’s error puts Dortmund under pressure
Until the 12th minute, Dortmund looked capable of being a team that could do that classic an equal battle. Then Emre Can, who looked erratic against his former team at the start, fouled and was cautioned by referee Marco Fritz. Moments later, goalkeeper Gregor Kobel tried to clear the ball outside his penalty area but missed completely.
What is usually a mistake we see in Sunday leagues has clearly rattled Dortmund, as pressure mounted on the guests not to misstep to maintain their Bundesliga lead.
While BVB applied high pressure early on, at times neutralizing Bayern’s build-up plays, Dortmund spent the next 15 minutes after Kobel’s blunder mostly in their own half.
Bayern, meanwhile, pushed high up the pitch when Dortmund defender Niklas Süle and his teammates attempted to play from the back. Bayern’s third goal was a direct result of a successful pressing system that easily won the ball from Dortmund.
3. Bayern are allowed to dream again
Bayern were by no means a bad side under Nagelsmann, but recent outings seemed uninspired and lackluster, prompting a change at the helm.
Tuchel has shown Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea that he can make an immediate impact, and that’s exactly what he did here against his former club Dortmund. Now it’s likely that Bayern can build on their momentum in the Champions League quarter-finals against Manchester City.
Whether sacking Nagelsmann was justified remains debatable, but it may pay off in the short term that the Bayern board sacrificed what was once seen as their generational coaching talent. Tuchel is good at identifying a team’s shortcomings and finding quick solutions, and he’s certainly off to a good start now.
Best and Worst Performers
Best: Thomas Müller, Bayern Munich
In his 41st classic appearance, breaking a tie with Robert Lewandowski for most appearances, Müller scored his 12th and 13th career goals against Dortmund. The Bayern veteran remained incredibly dangerous until replaced, regularly finding pockets in the Dortmund defense and causing problems for guests.
Best: Leon Goretzka, Bayern Munich
Although his individual stats don’t look impressive, Bayern’s box-to-box midfielder was key to destabilizing Dortmund in the middle of the park. Goretzka has basically filled the role that Jude Bellingham usually has for Dortmund.
Best: Emre Can, Borussia Dortmund
The Germany international remains a controversial figure as he can make things worse when he acts too aggressively. But Can was the only Dortmund player who did everything to get the team back on the road after the first three goals. He also scored from the penalty spot with confidence.
Worst: Marius Wolf, Borussia Dortmund
After receiving much praise from German national coach Hansi Flick during the international break, his night at the Allianz Arena turned into a nightmare. Kingsley Coman has edged and thwarted the Dortmund right-back on numerous occasions.
Worst: Sebastien Haller, Borussia Dortmund
The centre-forward remains a non-factor in Dortmund’s attack. It has become clear he is far from 100% after successfully receiving cancer treatment earlier this season.
Worst: Sadio Mané, Bayern Munich
Tuchel brought on the former Liverpool starter after 69 minutes and Mane had a couple of promising chances to score a goal, but something is wrong with him. Tuchel could have a difficult task to get Mané back into shape.
Highlights and Moments
Bayern Munich took the early lead, but their first goal came from a shocking error by Dortmund goalkeeper Gregor Kobel. He came out of the net to stop the counterattack beyond the box, and when he tried to return the ball he completely missed.
A calamitous mistake by Dortmund goalkeeper gives Bayern the lead
Dayot Upamecano’s long pass is completely sniffed out by Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Gregor Kobel to put the hosts ahead.
If there were any questions about whether Bayern’s early lead was just a fluke, Thomas Müller quickly put them to rest.
The Bayern Munich star fired in from a corner in the 18th minute to make it 2-0.
Muller returns home to double Bayern lead
Thomas Muller makes it 2-0 at Bayern Munich against Borussia Dortmund with a simple close-range finish.
You thought Bayern Munich and Müller were finished for the first half? No, five minutes later Müller struck again.
The goal was Müller’s fourth this season for Bayern.
Muller scores again to make it 3-0 against frantic Bayern
Thomas Muller calmly finishes the rebound to extend Bayern’s lead to 3-0 over Dortmund.
As you’d expect, the game was pretty much over after that, as Dortmund never looked close to making a comeback.
After the game: What managers and players said
Bayern Munich manager Thomas Tuchel on the result: “No one should be too euphoric. We are proud of the team and they can be happy but there is work ahead of us.”
Tuchel on his first match at the helm: “I was nervous today. I don’t know why but I was. I didn’t know the processes, where to find my assistants and everything happened suddenly and suddenly I was in the arena to coach Bayern Munich.”
Tuchel on his professional development: “I had received inquiries but my plan was to continue (coaching) this summer. I also assumed that I would continue abroad. But as is often the case, life hits you during that you are doing other projects.”
Dortmund manager Edin Terzic on the result: “We needed too much time to react to setbacks and put them behind us. … We were behind three goals after 23 minutes. Still, we made an effort in the second half and changed a few things. But that’s which is — — we have to fly very disappointed. It hurts, it hurts a lot.”
Dortmund striker Marco Reus on the performance: “We got caught on the break way too many times – totally unusual in fact. Bayern played very well and could have scored more goals in one or two situations. It wasn’t a good night.”
Key stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information research)
It was the third time Dortmund had conceded three goals in the first 30 minutes of a Bundesliga game since last season. This only happened twice from 2010-11 to 2020-21.
Bayern Munich’s 26 goals in the first 30 minutes of games this season are the most by any team in Europe’s top five leagues. PSG are second with 21 of those goals, and the closest in the Bundesliga are Eintracht Frankfurt with 19.
Thomas Müller: four Bundesliga goals in 2023 (scored only five Bundesliga goals in calendar year 2022).
Kingsley Coman scored his sixth goal of the Bundesliga season, tied for his most goals in a single league season of his career. It’s his second goal in 19 games against Dortmund.
Bayern Munich: The Bavarians host SC Freiburg on Tuesday, April 4 in the German Cup quarter-finals (watch live on ESPN+ at 2:45 p.m. ET). Then Bayern Munich focus on the Bundesliga once again with another game against SC Freiburg, this time in Freiburg on Saturday, April 8 (streamed live on ESPN+ at 9:30 a.m. ET).
Borussia Dortmund: BVB travel to RB Leipzig for the German Cup quarter-final on Wednesday, April 5 (watch live on ESPN+ at 2:45 p.m. ET). Next, Dortmund host Union Berlin in the Bundesliga on Saturday, April 8 (live stream on ESPN+ at 9:30 a.m. ET).