Crisis? What crisis? A week on from the five-goal drubbing at Eintracht Frankfurt that pushed Niko Kovac out the door, it looks very much like Bayern Munich have things under control again.
The German champions may not have a permanent manager but they are still capable of bossing even the biggest football matches. Yet again, Borussia Dortmund were on the receiving end of Bayern’s ruthless efficiency.
Whoever succeeds Kovac – whether it be Arsene Wenger, expected here for talks early next week, or someone else – they will inherit a team for whom rumours of a demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Hans-Dieter Flick won his first Bundesliga game in charge after Niko Kovac was sacked following the 5-1 defeat to Frankfurt
Robert Lewandowski increased his season’s goal tally to 23 and extended his astonishing, historic record of scoring in 11 consecutive Bundesliga matches from the beginning of a season.
His goals sandwiched Serge Gnabry’s close-range effort shortly after half-time and just to complete Dortmund’s horror show, Mats Hummels put through his own net against his former club.
Bayern were utterly dominant from first whistle to last. Manuel Neuer could easily have popped to the concourse for a pretzel, he was so underemployed.
BAYERN MUNICH (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Pavard, Martinez, Alaba, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka (Thiago 72′); Gnabry (Coutinho 70′), Muller, Coman (Perisic 75′); Lewandowski
Substitues not used: Cuisance, Tolisso, Ulreich, Lukas Mai
Goals: Lewandowski (17′) (76′), Gnabry (47′), Hummels OG (80′)
Booked: Coman, Kimmich
Manager: Hans-Dieter Flick
BORUSSIA DORTMUND (4-2-3-1): Burki; Hakimi, Akanji, Hummels, Schulz; Witsel, Weigl (Alcacer 61′); Sancho (Guerreiro 36′), Brandt, Hazard; Gotze (Reus 61′)
Substitues not used: Zagadou, Delaney, Dahoud, Piszczek, Bruun Larsen, Hitz
Manager: Lucien Favre
Referee – Felix Zwayer
Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring against his former side by heading home Benjamin Pavard’s cross past Roman Burki
The goal saw the Polish striker extend his lead at the top of the scoring charts with his 15th Bundesliga goal of the season
Lewandowski also simultaenously became the first player in history to score in 11 consecutive games in the Bundesliga
Meanwhile, Dortmund were atrocious and nobody summed up their display as succinctly as Jadon Sancho, hooked by manager Lucien Favre after 36 minutes of absolute anonymity.
Whatever happens now, whoever comes in, Hansi Flick has certainly succeeded in steadying the ship. This win lifted Bayern to within a point of their familiar position on top of the Bundesliga table. It will be used as a springboard for the winter months to come.
Dortmund have travelled to this fixture more in hope than expectation in recent years. It finished 5-0 to Bayern last season and 6-0 the year before that. In 2016-17 they won 4-1 and it was 5-1 in 2015-16.
Jadon Sancho was a doubt before the game due to injury and was hauled off after just 36 minutes at the Allianz Arena
Borussia Dortmund struggled at both ends of the field to impose themselves in a sluggish first-half in Munich
Talk about deja-vu. This was every bit as abysmal from a team whose title hopes are fading fast.
The openness of the initial exchanges heightened Dortmund optimism as both sides jabbed at one another without creating anything that raised the pulse. But it was false hope.
As they do so well, Bayern started to almost clandestinely strengthen their grip on proceedings through possession and their possession inevitably led to pressure.
They found the breakthrough with the game’s first clear-cut chance. Dortmund – and Sancho specifically – were the architects of their own downfall.
Dortmund’s misery continued into the second half as Serge Gnabry stroked home Thomas Muller’s cross on the break
The goal was checked by VAR for offside against Muller but the German was in his own half when he received the ball
Having had one chalked off for offside in the first half, Gnabry finally got his goal with his third league goal this season
Sancho dawdled on the ball as Dortmund struggled to clear their lines and he was effortlessly barged off it by Thomas Muller.
It was alarmingly weak from the England man and though Muller wasn’t able to capitalise immediately, Bayern maintained their advanced position.
A minute or so later, with Dortmund stretched, Benjamin Pavard hooked across a first-time ball from the right-side of the box and there was Lewandowski – who else? – to cushion a close range header past Roman Burki.
Bayern were now dominant. The lively Kingsley Coman shot over from the corner of the box, before Lewandowski was afforded an absurdly long amount of time inside the Dortmund box but couldn’t pick out a killer pass.
There were 36 minutes on the clock when Favre lost patience with Sancho’s ineffective display and hooked him for Raphael Guerreiro.
Sancho had been a fitness doubt all week but, having clearly been passed fit to start, he put in a display of almost complete anonymity.
Alphonso Davies, Bayern’s 19-year-old left-back, had Sancho on a piece of string as any avenues to goal or crossing positions down the Dortmund right were blocked off.
Lewandowski then added his second of the game and his 16th of the season after finishing from Muller’s pass
The Allianz Arena crowd briefly thought Gnabry had doubled the lead, tapping home from close range, but the offside was clear enough. Nonetheless, they reached half-time comprehensively on top.
Dortmund needed drastic improvement but the opening moments of the second half were hardly encouraging. Muller was set free in acres of space down the left and crossed low into the Dortmund box where two red shirts waited.
Lewandowski slipped as he tried to turn it home but Gnabry was poaching at the back post to double Bayern’s lead. The goal was confirmed following a VAR check for offside against Muller.
Mats Hummels then put the ball into his own net from a low cross to confirm another hammering for Dortmund at Bayern
Gnabry almost scored a carbon copy a couple of minutes later but this time couldn’t quite stretch to meet Coman’s delivery. Lewandowski then spun inside the box and shot wide as Bayern started to enjoy themselves.
It took Dortmund 70 minutes to truly threaten Bayern’s goal, a crucial touch by Javi Martinez ensuring substitute Paco Alcacer wasn’t able to turn home from close range.
Bayern didn’t panic and instead extended their lead. Inevitably, it was Lewandowski again, finishing coolly from close range after Muller dinked in a cross. To be honest, they were queuing up to score.
And likewise 10 minutes from time when Ivan Perisic crossed and Thiago attempted to guide the ball home at the near post, the ball deflecting past Burki off the leg of Hummels. The indignity was complete.
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