Bayern Munich secured a huge win on the road this Saturday. They visited Borussia Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park and a huge performance on both ends of the pitch lifted them to a quality win. Arjen Robben, Robert Lewandowski and David Alaba were on target for Jupp Heynckes’ men, while Marc Bartra scored the hosts’ lone goal during the second half.
Here are four things we learned after this huge Bundesliga clash between two of Europe’s finest teams.
James Rodriguez Needs To Continue Playing Regularly
One of the big changes Jupp Heynckes made to the starting XI as soon as he took over as Bayern’s manager was to give James Rodriguez an increased role in the team. The Colombian playmaker did not play much with Carlo Ancelotti, but he is seeing far more minutes in recent weeks. And the former Real Madrid star is quickly rewarding the manager with impressive displays. Such was the case this Saturday, as James registered two assists against Dortmund.
On the first goal, James quickly controlled a lobbed ball and passed it to Robben with a beautiful first touch before the Dutch winger drilled it into the back of the net. And James also assisted Alaba on Bayern’s third goal. But most importantly, the Colombian star looked active and always tried to find empty spaces to create chances in the final third. He looks more and more to the player that dazzled with AS Monaco and Colombia only a few years ago. And he needs to remain in the starting XI as long as he can keep this up. He offers an amount of creativity and flair very few players in the world possess.
Sven Ulreich Is Surpassing Expectations Thus Far
When Bayern announced Manuel Neuer would be out until next year, fans were hoping Bayern could sign a new goalkeeper. Basically, they felt replacing Neuer with Sven Ulreich was quite a downgrade. And even though almost every keeper in the world would represent a downgrade when compared to Neuer, Ulreich was deemed as “not good enough” to play for Bayern. His recent display had not helped, either. However, he has managed to turn things around in recent weeks. But his effort against Dortmund would easily rank as one of his best performances in his career with Bayern.
Simply put, Ulreich was magnificent in this game. He came up big during the first half and made some key saves to maintain Bayern’s lead when the game was 1-0. Ulreich had at least three of four interventions that could have changed the game, including a big one-on-one save against Andriy Yarmolenko and another attempt of the Ukranian winger. His play was key for Bayern to escape with a huge win at Signal Iduna Park.
Carlo Ancelotti (And Not The Players) Was Bayern’s Biggest Problem
There was a lot of talk before and after Ancelotti was sacked from Bayern Munich. Several pundits believed one of the reasons why the team wasn’t performing was because they could not sign quality players during the recent transfer window. Therefore, they thought the team “was not good enough” as they were in past years.
Fast forward to current times, and it’s clear the problem was Ancelotti and not the current squad. Heynckes has led quite a turnaround, and the team plays far better than how they used to only a few weeks ago.
Borussia Dortmund Deserved Better Luck
It seems this is a trend that has repeated during the entire season. But once again – as it has happened numerous times during the UEFA Champions League as well – Dortmund players surely left the game with a bittersweet taste in their mouths. They lost so they shouldn’t be happy. But it is hard to criticise their performance, especially during the first half. They created lots of scoring chances and, had not been due to Ulreich’s impressive performance, they could have ended the first 45 minutes with either a draw or a lead.
Quite simply, Dortmund deserved better luck. Bayern were lucky to build a two-goal advantage during the first half and while Dortmund tried to reach in the second half, it was just too late against a team that knows how to protect a lead away from home. But fans shouldn’t feel bad about what happened in this game. If anything, it showed Dortmund is still very much capable to compete with almost any team in the world. And they should bounce back sooner than later.
Dortmund: Burki (4); Bartra (6), Sokratis (5) (Toljan (5), 42′), Toprak (5), Schmelzer (5); Weigl (5); Kagawa (6) (Gotze (5), 68′), Castro (5); Yarmolenko (4) (Sancho (-), 80′), Aubameyang (5), Pulisic (6)
Bayern Munich: Ulreich (7); Kimmich (7), Hummels (6), Sule (7), Alaba (7) (Rafinha (-), 74′); Alcantara (6), Javi Martinez (6) (Rudy (-), 81′); Robben (7), James (8) (Vidal (-), 84′), Coman (6); Lewandowski (7)
Goals: Robben (0-1, 17′), Lewandowski (0-2, 37′), Alaba (0-3, 67′), Bartra (1-3, 88′)
Referee: Tobias Stieler
Yellow Cards: Schmelzer, Toprak (DOR); Alaba, Javi Martinez (MUN)
Red Cards: None
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