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Dortmund triumphant in Klassiker thriller

Pin Marco Reus scored twice as Dortmund maintain their unbeaten record in the Bundesliga. AFP
Marco Reus scored twice as Dortmund maintain their unbeaten record in the Bundesliga. AFP

Dortmund triumphant in Klassiker thriller

Elliot Turnbull by Elliot Turnbull @rfutbol - 0 5,140

Borussia Dortmund have extended their lead over Bayern Munich to seven points and also their unbeaten record in the Bundesliga, as they came back from behind twice to secure a memorable win. A brace from Marco Reus and a brilliant Paco Alcacer effort was enough to give Dortmund the victory in the 99th Bundesliga fixture between the two historic clubs.

Borussia Dortmund are now unbeaten in their opening eleven fixtures as they cranked up the pressure on Niko Kovac and Bayern Munich after a scintillating second half performance. Lucien Favre’s side secured a memorable victory over Bayern, their first since November 2016.

The first clear cut chance of the game fell to long-serving Dortmund winger Marco Reus. He combined well with Weigl to beat the Bayern offside trap, however he could find no way past Manuel Neuer as he saved well to his right. The 32-year-old stood up tall  until the last minute before guessing correctly to foil Reus’ attempt.

One minute later, the visitors added more pressure. Robert Lewandowski and his Bayern Munich team-mates appealed for a penalty after Manuel Akanji appeared to inadvertently catch the Poland international’s heel. Despite replays showing contact, the referee waved away protests to Lewandoski’s frustration.

Despite dominating the majority of the possession in the early phases, Manuel Neuer had to come to his team’s rescue after the quarter of an hour mark. Dortmund sat deep, allowing Bayern to keep the ball, with the tactic of hitting them on the counter-attack in mind. Exactly this happened as Sancho broke well, before spraying the ball out wide for Jacob Bruun-Larsen. He tried to pick out Jadon Sancho at the back post, however Manuel Neuer read the play well to intercept the cross and kill the danger.

Prior to the game Robert Lewandowski has scored three goals against Dortmund at the Westfalenstadion , and he made it four after 25 minutes. Despite defending well throughout the first half, a defensive lapse of concentration allowed Dortmund’s former star to turn into the pantomime villain. Serge Gnabry was allowed too much space on the right hand side to float in a well placed cross, with Lewandowski cleverly losing his marker. He had the simple task of powering home a header past Marwin Hitz from five yards out, his ninth in fourteen appearances in all competitions.

It was the reigning Bundesliga champions who finished the first-half stronger, with Frank Ribery going close. Julian Weigl carelessly gave the ball away, allowing the Frenchman to weave his way through the Borussia Dortmund defence before forcing a smart stop from Hitz. Hitz, usually Dortmund’s number two, was making his first Bundesliga appearance for the club after Roman Bürki picked up a knock in the hours leading up to Der Klassiker.

The game burst to life in the second half, boasting four goals and goal-line VAR drama. The hosts made an immediate response in the second half, with Marco Reus winning a penalty in the 47th minute. He timed his run perfectly to get on the end of an Axel Witsel through ball, comfortably beating Manuel Neuer to the through ball. The best keeper at the 2014 World Cup hesitated and was incredibly slow off his line, allowing Reus to round him. In the process, Neuer caught his leg with the referee making the correct decision. Reus dispatched confidently from 12 yards and buoyed the home crowd.

Their newfound optimism was short lived, however, as Bayern were back ahead three minutes later. Poor Dortmund defending gifted Robert Lewandowski his second goal of the game, and fourth against Dortmund at the Westfalenstadion. Kimmich chipped the ball for Lewandowski, who headed the ball up and over the keeper. Dortmund’s inexperienced defenders were slow to react, and the Poland striker just nods home into an empty net.

Lucien Favre’s side responded well and should have been level on the stroke of an hour. Jadon Sancho, who had an impressive second half, conjured a cross with several markers around him. Manuel Neuer was beaten by the delivery, however Reus' low shot was hacked off the line and away by Joshua Kimmich. A superb piece of defending, however he should have really scored.

After a sustained spell of pressure, the hosts were level for the second time. Moments after his easy miss, Marco Reus produced a moment of magic which had the stadium rocking. The injury-prone winger moved brilliantly in the box to free-up space. He brilliantly anticipated a fizzed in cross and rifled the ball in to Neuer’s bottom right hand corner on the half volley. A brilliant goal, a deserved goal.

The Westfalenstadion was rocking and the Gelbe Wand urging the Dortmund players forward. The club were keen to maintain their unbeaten record, however build a gap between their bitter rivals while they’re playing poorly.

Jadon Sancho disposed Franck Ribery, setting up an impressive Dortmund counter-attack. Axel Witsel played in a perfectly weighted through ball, which beat the Bayern defence as Paco Alcacer beat Javi Martinez for pace. The Spaniard stayed composed and produced a lovely little dinked finish over the giant German.

Dortmund hung on for dear life, however Lewandowki thought that he’d salvaged an equaliser and his hat-trick late on. The ball was in the net in the 94th minute, however the assistant referee correctly flagged the effort as offside. Replays showed that he had strayed a yard offside, despite a superb finish past Hitz.

Dortmund remain unbeaten in the league and have overcome their poor record against Bayern, where they had lost the previous three games. The pressure mounts on Niko Kovac, with his side now seven points behind league leaders, Dortmund.

Elliot Turnbull

Elliot Turnbull

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