1. The two sides met in November, with Dortmund coming back and beating Bayern 3-2 through a late goal from Paco Alcacer. The win put Lucien Favre’s side seven points ahead on the table, and there were even rumblings from Bayern’s side that they should punt this season and focus on a youthful rebuild. But Bayern have predictably clawed their way back into contention since, just two points off Dortmund heading in the top of the table clash.
  2. Niko Kovac, who continues to find his feet after an early-season adjustment period, has hit out against Bayern’s lack of mentality on defense. He demanded that every outfield player take up their defensive responsibilities “even though you may be an artist.
  3. Lucien Favre piled the pressure on his side, saying Dortmund would have to “do everything perfectly” to win.
  4. The lineups are revealed. James Rodriguez sits on the bench, replaced by the physicality and defensive stability of Javi Martinez. Marco Reus is alone up top, playing as a false 9.
  5. Bayern kick off the game. They are coming in on the front foot with something to prove and receive an early corner kick. Mats Hummels gets a half chance to score off the ensuing set piece. Robert Lewandowski then creates himself a chance right up Dortmund’s middle after Bayern high press. They are on a mission.
  6. Dortmund need to get their foot on the ball and calm down the match from Bayern’s pace. They finally go on the attack with a nifty backheel from Jacob Bruun Larsen on the wing, finding space behind Bayern’s backline for Marco Reus. Reus cuts the ball back to the middle of Bayern’s box where a late-running Mahmoud Dahoud hits the post. That sequence should be enough warning to set Bayern back a bit.
  7. This is turning into a matchup of 1-on-1 battles on the wing. Bruun Larsen just created Dortmund’s first chance out of individual skill. Kingsley Coman will be relied upon on to create on Bayern’s left side.
  8. Coman wins a corner kick for his work on the wing. Hummels makes no mistake this time and scores off the ensuing corner. Bayern are up by one point on the live table.
  9. The long diagonal ball from Thiago to Coman into Bayern’s left wing is resulting in Bayern’s best attacking chances. Lukasz Piszczek will have his hands full this entire match.
  10. Coman again gets free into space. His cut back gets Bayern another corner kick. That’s at least three corner kicks Coman’s won in the first 15 minutes.
  11. What a huge mistake from Dortmund. Dan-Axel Zagadou, under little pressure, tries to play a ball across to his centerback. He hits the pass with his left foot, giving Lewandowski the angle to intercept the pass and score over a helpless Roman Burki. That goal is Lewandowski’s 200th of his Bundesliga career.
  12. Lewandowski almost gets another chance seconds after Dortmund kick off. Bayern pressure Dortmund into giving up a throw-in. Lewandowski turns and shoots off the quick throw, which is saved by Burki.
  13. Zagadou may have to be subbed 20 minutes into this match.
  14. Burki makes another great save from Thomas Muller off yet another corner kick.
  15. Thiago and Martinez are completely dominating the tempo of this match in the middle. There’s no pressure from Dortmund to attempt to throw off their timing.
  16. Dortmund look lost with 65 minutes left. How do they get back into this match? If Dortmund get back a goal, it’ll be through Reus combining play with one of his wingers. We haven’t said Jadon Sancho’s name once thus far, summing up the ineptitude of Dortmund’s attack.
  17. Lewandowski, meanwhile, continues to get half chances off crosses by sheer bullying an inexperienced Dortmund backline with his physicality and mentality.
  18. Zagadou, out of position on a counter, fouls Lewandowski. Thiago sends in the ensuing free kick to Muller, who gets his chance saved. After a scramble, the ball pops out to Martinez, who curls in a goal.
  19. That sequence caps one of the worst centerback performances I’ve seen in a long time from Zagadou. He must surely be switched at half.
  20. Bayern aren’t waiting until half-time, however. Muller sends in a far post cross for Serge Gnabry, who scores off a header for 4-0. This is a statement of energy, belief, and quality. Lewandowski and Hummels dominated in the air and off set pieces, Thiago and Martinez dominated the tempo, Gnabry and Coman dominated the wings. That was one of the best first half performances of the season.
  21. On the other end, what can Lucien Favre say at halftime?
  22. Julian Weigl comes on for Zagadou after centerback. Someone will write the definite piece examining how Weigl went from the next great deep-lying passer to a 3rd choice centerback in under 2 seasons.
  23. Gnabry and Coman continue to keep running at Dortmund.
  24. Mario Goetze comes into the match with little to save.
  25. This is a standout performance from Lewandowski, exhibiting his best qualities of physicality and skill. His ability to turn defenders is Bayern’s one-player counter attack.
  26. Franck Ribery comes on for Coman. On the other end, Sancho continues to try to get himself free with his dribbling but cannot find any space. Dortmund had one chance early, and that was it.
  27. Reus gets a yellow card with a late challenge on Lewandowski. It was a tackle out of pure frustration of getting completely outclassed this match.
  28. Muller subs off. In terms of soft skills, his mentality in big matches must mean something in the larger picture even if it cannot be properly defined.
  29. Lewandowski caps off his performance with Bayern’s 5th and final goal. Joshua Kimmich met no resistance as he dribbled up the field. Gnabry made a run in behind Dortmund’s backline and cut it across net for Lewandowski.
  30. The ref mercifully ends this match with no stoppage time.
  31. Consider the difference in feeling between their last meeting and this. Just months ago, it felt as if Dortmund’s energy, pacing, and pressing signaled the future of the Bundesliga and Bayern would have to rebuild their side completely. Now, it’s Bayern who are re-energized and Dortmund who look lost in their youth. And by adding Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard, Bayern reloaded on youthful, rangy fullbacks as well.
  32. It’d be difficult to single out one Bayern player for Man of the Match. Lewandowski is an obvious candidate with his goals and hold-up play. Gnabry and Coman deserve mention for their pace and desire to attack Dortmund’s wings throughout the match. Thiago and Martinez controlled the tempo of the match. Hummels was dominant off set pieces and in his attitude. And despite giving up 5 goals, Burki made some important saves that could have made this match even more out of hand. Ultimately, this match showed off the best of Bayern: their pace, attacking, pressure, and mentality and obsession to dominate matches for 90 minutes without any break.