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German Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund battle, struggle and suffer 3-1 defeat in Munich

German Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund battle, struggle and suffer 3-1 defeat in Munich
Despite producing a good performance on Bundesliga Matchday 31, Borussia Dortmund unluckily lost 3-1 (2-0) away to FC Bayern Munich, who prematurely wrapped up the 2022 Bundesliga title in the process.

Boris Rupert reporting from Munich

The 75,000 spectators at a sold-out Allianz-Arena – among them 9,000 Black & Yellows, who supported their team brilliantly – saw Bayern score with their first shot when Gnabry volleyed into the back of the net from 17 metres in the 15th minute. Lewandowski doubled the lead after the half-hour mark. Can's 52nd-minute penalty brought Borussia back into the game; they came close to equalising several times and might have been awarded another spot-kick when Pavard upended Bellingham (60). Instead, Musiala scored seven minutes from time to put the game to bed.

The scenario:
For the 13th time in the last 10 years, FC Bayern Munich versus Borussia Dortmund was a meeting between first and second in the Bundesliga table. Both teams went into the game having picked up 29 points in the second half of the season. FCB had won each of their previous four leagues matches and were on an eight-game unbeaten run, while BVB had lost one of their previous nine league fixtures.

Personnel matters:
Rose had to replace half of his first-choice XI. In addition to Morey, Schmelzer and Tigges, Kobel, Meunier, Hummels, Witsel, Dahoud, Reyna, Malen and Hazard were all out. The coach made three changes to the starting line-up that beat Wolfsburg 6-1 in the previous game, with Hitz, Guerreiro and Reus the new faces in the team.

Both teams played in a 4-2-3-1 formation. For BVB, Can and Bellingham formed an aggressive defensive midfield partnership that made its presence felt. Bayern's holding midfield duo of Kimmich and Goretzka was significantly more attack-minded. The men from Munich predominantly attacked down the left flank, doubled up on that side with Coman and Davies, and alternated between a back four and a back three (Pavard, Upamecano, Hernandez) throughout.

The match & analysis:
Borussia Dortmund started the match intelligently, with a good structure and a clear plan, and did more than hold their own at the outset. Bayern initially found no way through in attack, with Borussia closing down the space and defending alertly. And yet the home side still took the lead on the quarter-hour mark. Kimmich took their first corner in the 15th minute and Goretzka cut it back to Gnabry, who brought the ball under control with his thigh and then fired an unstoppable volley into the top left corner from 17 metres out.

BVB held their own well, but lacked accuracy in and around the opposition box and – beyond a half-chance Haaland fired wide on 27 minutes – created nothing. Bayern, meanwhile, were mercilessly effective and scored their second goal via their second shot (Gnabry, 30), though it was ruled out because Coman was offside. But the score stayed at 1-0 for only four more minutes: Zagadou gave the ball away to Kimmich under pressure and he found Müller, who teed up Lewandowski on the right of the box. The former BVB man had no problem beating Hitz in a one-on-one.

At the start of the second period, Brandt was brought down by Pavard but the foul – worthy of at least a yellow – did not even yield a free-kick. A short while later, Brandt fed Reus whose ankle was clearly caught by Kimmich on the left of the box – a clear penalty. Can stepped up for the fourth time this season – and scored for the fourth time – in the 52nd minute. With the score now 2-1. the game was open again and an equaliser was on the cards. Haaland played the ball a bit too far out wide and Reus was left with a tight angle. The captain did take the ball past Neuer, but Upamecano cleared it off the line (54). Two minutes later, Hernandez fouled Reus. Then Bellingham turned his way past Pavard down the left, cut in along the byline and went down. But no penalty was awarded (60). Speaking to Sky, Lothar Matthäus said: "He can try to get to the ball as much as he wants, but he hits the Dortmund player first."

Borussia were pushing for the leveller and came closing to making it 2-2 several times. Neuer turned Haaland's shot behind for a corner (80), then the Norwegian had another shot 60 seconds later but under heavy pressure fired over the crossbar. The next goal eventually came at the other end. Hitz initially denied Musiala but the ball remained in play. Sabitzer again fed Musiala, who made it 3-1 to kill the game (83).

BVB are next in action when VfL Bochum come to SIGNAL IDUNA PARK on Saturday. Kick-off is at 15:30 CET.


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