It seems a fairly obvious thing to say that this weekend’s Der Klassiker was a big game – they often are – but not for the usual reasons. This wasn’t a title race six-pointer but was important for each in their own way. Before kick-off, RB Leipzig had taken what is seen in Munich as rightfully theirs: top spot of the Bundesliga. For Dortmund, this was a much bigger struggle – one for European football; despite an impressive first leg display against Sevilla, their position in next year’s Champions League looks to be in jeopardy as they sit in sixth. There is no need to stress the importance of this to Borussia as it is the club’s pulling power – what encourages these young players to make their name, playing elite football in elite competitions. And with the rumour mill in full swing over both Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland’s futures, losing their place in the Champions League is not what is needed.
Haaland is a prolific young goal-scorer, who’s brute force and finishing power has him resembling a battering ram used by Viking raid ships.
So, the stage was set. Munich – the Allianz Arena. Recent history had not been in Dortmund’s favour with the past three meetings ending in losses; even before their victory in last season’s Super Cup, the picture for the club isn’t much prettier. This made the start of the game all the more surprising. With Dortmund 2-nil up within the first eight minutes, the only thing that wasn’t surprising was that it was Haaland that found himself on the scoresheet. But with two of Europe’s most in-form strikers on show, Lewandowski and his Bayern teammates were never going to go down easily. Bayern were level by half time thanks to two goals from Haaland’s opposite number – an exhilarating first half of attacking football set high hopes for the second.
But this wasn’t the case, as a much more calculated and measured approach from both sides suggested just how much this game meant to all involved. Yet, as the game went on, Dortmund’s mistakes piled up. It was coming, you could feel it, and for all the discussion and the framing of this game as “A Tale of Two Strikers”, it was midfielder Leon Goretzka who stuffed in his goal three minutes before the end of regulation time. Still time though for the FIFA World Player of the Year to smash home his hattrick and ultimately leave the score-line maybe a little unreflective of the true events and feel of this match.
I guess my job in these articles, on this website, is to summarise what we learnt from this game. I think the answer here is not a lot at all. Haaland is a prolific young goal-scorer, who’s brute force and finishing power has him resembling a battering ram used by Viking raid ships. Lewandowski is still one of the best players in the world. Bayern regained their place at the summit of German football and were able to pull out a result despite some struggles. And Dortmund are fraught and fragile, a team in transition, crying out for European football and strong leadership. We already knew all of these things. And so, fuck the learning and the footballing education, let’s just enjoy the fact that we were treated to a truly classic Klassiker.