All the stars

Posted by Susie Schaaf

Well, what do have we here? I had been quoted as saying Bayern Munich would beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday, but I was guilty of channeling the Champions League final score more than anything else. (@BVB has been relentlessly retweeted -- "1:2 fur Bayern." -- since the result on May 25.)

While Dortmund had the much better run of play up until halftime, Bayern brought on its talisman -- former BVB product Mario Gotze -- to open the scoring for the away side.

A goal by big-match scorer Arjen Robben, followed by another from just-when-you-get-upset-at-him-he-scores Thomas Muller, completed a 3-0 rout in Dortmund on Saturday evening. Bayern Munich moves seven points clear at the top of the Bundesliga table, while Bayer Leverkusen takes control of second place with its narrow 1-0 victory over Hertha BSC.

- Uersfeld: Three things: Dortmund vs. Bayern
- Report: Gotze haunts Dortmund

Despite Jurgen Klopp's gray hairs at having to piece together a back four, his chosen defensive starters did the black-and-yellow good. Standing up to a potent Bayern attack, they redeemed themselves, proving mostly capable of taking on the Bavarian's onslaught.

Possession versus counterattack was the game plan of the day as Klopp's men were content to hit on the counter while Pep Guardiola's boys did their revised form of "gegenpressing," winning errant passes from the home side.

End-to-end stuff started the match as Robert Lewandowski skied one over the bar on a fast break before Toni Kroos would shoot a low drive wide of Roman Weidenfeller's net. As Bayern fans around the world waited for Gotze's inclusion, Jakub Blaszczykowski threatened twice in quick succession before Marco Reus couldn't collect on a Jerome Boateng slip -- shooting directly at Manuel Neuer.

The exemplary back four for Bayern were taking on all BVB-comers as Mario Mandzukic attempted a half-bicycle kick -- saved by Wiedenfeller -- before he would blow the absolute best chance of the first half, narrowly missing a Robben cross after he had beaten the Dortmund keeper.

A testy yellow-card situation closed out the first half with referee Manuel Grafe pulling cards for Rafinha, Mandzukic and Kevin Grosskreutz in quick succession before Rafinha looked on as Lewandowski collided with Neuer on a cross in what would have surely been the opener on the day.

And then the fun started! Gotze -- forced to warm up in the tunnels to avoid his "homecoming" -- was subbed on for Mandzukic. It was a lovely, welcoming reception for the former Dortmund youth product as he earned his whistles by opening the scoring for Bayern in the 66th minute. Refusing to celebrate -- and after the reception, why not? -- he was mobbed by his teammates after converting his toe-poke from a Muller cross.

Dortmund would not give up, however, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan blasted over before Reus had Neuer horizontal to prevent an equalizer. All for naught, as the home side conceded twice quickly as newly healthy Thiago Alcantara found Robben open with plenty of space for the Dutchman to successfully chip (remember the Champions League final?) past Weidenfeller.

Muller added insult to injury to take the visitors up 3-0 with just three minutes remaining. A Philipp Lahm cut-back allowed Muller, who had been largely unimpressive over 87 minutes, his saving grace once again.

All credit to the Bayern defence. Dante, Boateng and Javi Martinez were flawless (despite the Boateng slip), and Rafinha and David Alaba got back when needed. There were last-ditch saving efforts across the board.

All credit to Borussia Dortmund as well! The scoreline does not accurately reflect the run of play over 90 minutes. Although, the result -- in the end -- perhaps was just.

And just a story it was. Leading up to the match, I fantasized about either Robben or Gotze scoring the match winner. Not to brag, but I get to win on both accounts. Much like Chelsea's victory over Munich in 2012, it was written in the stars.

And for the foreseeable future? Bayern Munich has all the stars.


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