Brutal Lewandowski reopens Dortmund scars to lift Bayern crisis

By Sports Desk November 09, 2019

Robert Lewandowski continued what has felt like a one-man argument for the Bundesliga's status quo as he inspired Bayern Munich to a 4-0 Klassiker victory over Borussia Dortmund at the Allianz Arena.

On the face of it, these are changing times in Germany's top flight, not least for Bayern.

The reigning champions were playing their first league game under interim head coach Hansi Flick after Niko Kovac didn't so much run out of road as go careering off the autobahn during last weekend's miserable visit to his old employers Eintracht Frankfurt.

Lewandowski got Bayern's goal to briefly punctuate the misery at the Commerzbank-Arena. Of course he did.

Saturday's opener to begin another Dortmund ordeal in Bavaria continued his run of scoring in every Bundesliga and Champions League game this season.

The Poland star's coolly taken second 14 minutes from time moved him on to 23 in all competitions for Bayern in 2019-20 before the November international break.

Lewandowski is an elite performer operating at the irresistible peak of his powers and a bedraggled BVB had no answer.

Julian Weigl criminally switched off as he ghosted in to head home in the 17th minute, although Dortmund had no more joy against the mighty number nine when their collective gaze was fixed upon him.

Kingsley Coman was unable to turn in after Lewandowski spun intelligently into the channel and he was also involved in both Serge Gnabry's offside effort before half-time and legal goal afterwards.

Back at Dortmund after his Bayern sojourn, it felt like Mats Hummels was fighting a futile battle against his own team-mate. The indignity of putting through his own net to complete the rout would have been a better fit for most of the other insipid performers in yellow and black.

Borussia Monchengladbach can go four points clear at the summit if they beat Werder Bremen on Sunday, while RB Leipzig remain ahead of Bayern on goal difference thanks to a thrilling 4-2 win at Hertha Berlin.

Marco Rose and Julian Nagelsmann are two exciting young coaches threatening to shake up the established order and it seems clear that is where the challenge to Bayern's supremacy now resides.

It is a task beyond Dortmund, who wear the scars inflicted under the yoke of their bitter rivals too visibly, while picking up fresh ones on each trip to Munich.

Jadon Sancho, the future superstar earmarked to end the suffering, was ignominiously substituted in the 36th minute of a loss that continued a hideous Bundesliga run at Bayern.

4-0, 5-0, 6-0, 4-1 and 5-1 are their past five league scorelines at the Allianz. The pain has become unrelenting.

Their previous win on enemy territory in the league was a 3-0 victory in April 2014, the only catch being Bayern had already won the title by that stage.

Jurgen Klopp was the Dortmund head coach that day. The seasons when he lifted the club to new heights and made Der Klassiker a European fixture to rank alongside the Spanish argument from which it cribs its name feel like they belong to a completely different era.

Incumbent BVB boss Lucien Favre would probably be joining Kovac in a period of enforced leisure time if not for Tuesday's stirring comeback against Inter in the Champions League, but his brittle squad are making a mockery of those pre-season tips for Bundesliga glory.

This is how they deal with Bayern in a time of crisis. They do not have a prayer. If things are to actually change, it's over to Gladbach and Leipzig.

From the moment Lewandowski brought them under his brutal spell, Dortmund's fate felt inevitable. A once vital fixture has become a painful procession to watch through your fingers or not at all.

Related items

  • Lyon star Hegerberg suffers ACL rupture but vows to bounce back Lyon star Hegerberg suffers ACL rupture but vows to bounce back

    Lyon's superstar striker Ada Hegerberg faces a long spell out of action after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee in training.

    The Norwegian landed the inaugural women's Ballon d'Or in December 2018 to reflect her status as the world's leading player, but now she faces a challenging road to recovery.

    Hegerberg announced on Twitter: "So here it is. I ruptured my ACL this weekend. This is a setback for me, but I'm going to work through this with all my heart and my energy. The best is yet to come. YOU'LL SEE ME SOON!"

    Lyon confirmed the blow, announcing on their website: "Lyon regret the injury to Ada Hegerberg, victim of a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament in the right knee, that occurred in training.

    "The operation date will be determined in the coming days and the unavailability will be corresponding to the known statistics for this type of injury.

    "Lyon will offer Ada the best surgical conditions and post-operation rehabilitation to return her to full strength."

    Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas sent a message to 24-year-old Hegerberg, writing on Twitter: "You are very strong Ada, on and off the pitch! We're all going to work to get you back in the best condition to return even stronger.

    "We'll be at your side, the Lyon women will stay at the highest level waiting for your return."

    Lyon sit top of the French women's championship with 38 points from 14 games, and Hegerberg has scored 23 goals in 18 matches across all competitions this season.

    She controversially missed last year's World Cup, having made herself unavailable to Norway because of her stance over how women's football is treated in her home country.

  • Guardiola vows he did not mean to offend Man City fans with crowd comments Guardiola vows he did not mean to offend Man City fans with crowd comments

    Pep Guardiola has accepted he made a "mistake" when questioning why Manchester City fans did not fill the Etihad Stadium for their last home game.

    City's treble-winning boss faced a rare backlash from his own club's supporters following Sunday's FA Cup tie against Fulham, having spoken of his surprise at the 39,223 attendance.

    The clash with Manchester United in Wednesday's EFL Cup semi-final second leg is expected to be much closer to the 55,000 capacity.

    Speaking about City fans after the 4-0 win over Fulham, Guardiola said that "hopefully they will support us more" in the United game.

    However, some responded by quickly pointing to a recent heavy load of fixtures, and the cost of attending every game, and their stance has prompted Guardiola to reflect on his comments.

    The former Barcelona head coach said he had not realised the match was televised live by the BBC, with the terrestrial coverage a likely factor in the below-average crowd figure.

    "Never was it my intention to offend them, they are part of us," he told a news conference on Tuesday when discussing the fans' reaction.

    "Since I arrived here from day one until the last day, what I want is to fight and play as well as possible to see the Etihad full every single day, every single day.

    "So it belongs to us to play well, to seduce them to come. The only reason why we do our job is not for the titles, it's to go to the Etihad Stadium and see it absolutely full and the people together, enjoying the games together."

    A number of City fans have stressed it is not the team's performance level, but instead the expense involved in buying tickets and getting to games, that means they may sometimes stay away.

    Guardiola stressed he understood their situation, saying: "It's not necessary to tell me because I was part of that when I was a little boy with mum and dad. I know exactly what happens."

    And he looked to explain his weekend remarks by pointing to how significant a game he considered the Fulham fixture - saying he felt the FA Cup held more appeal to City than European glory.

    "Since I've arrived here, I learned from English football how important the Premier League and the FA Cup are - more important to this club than the Champions League... much, much more," Guardiola said.

    "We knew it through the club and I experienced it.

    "It was my mistake: I thought it's Sunday, one o'clock, today it will be full. I didn't know it was on BBC One, not Sky."

    Guardiola still wants to see City's home full for every game.

    He said: "We tried to do our best to let them be proud for our team, and I will try it again to push them to be with us as much as possible.

    "If it's possible to be every game full, full, full, it would be better."

  • Guardiola warns Man City 'to be careful' as United eye cup comeback Guardiola warns Man City 'to be careful' as United eye cup comeback

    Pep Guardiola has urged his Manchester City players to keep their cool in the heat of Wednesday's derby against Manchester United as they bid to seal a place in the EFL Cup final.

    Armed with a 3-1 lead from the first leg at Old Trafford, City approach the return fixture in the semi-final as firm favourites to reach the March 1 showpiece at Wembley.

    However, City know all too well how potent United can be on their day, having suffered a home league defeat to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men in December.

    Guardiola vowed he and his team have never been complacent, and he is optimistic that attitude will be enough to deliver an aggregate success.

    "It's Man United. They can do it and have done it," Guardiola said. "In this kind of game, against this kind of team, with this incredible history, they have pride and I know, I know how difficult it would be to reach the final."

    Speaking about the need to concentrate against neighbours who have endured a difficult Premier League campaign so far, Guardiola indicated he trusted his players to bring the right application.

    "Never was my team complacent during four years - never," he said. "We have to be careful about their skills, we have to be careful about the counter-attack, we have to be careful about the set-pieces, we have to be careful about how good they can play if we let them play.

    "We will have to defend. They don't have anything to lose so they are going to attack. We will have to control our emotions. We have to try to score goals."

    Asked about possible squad rotation, a fired-up Guardiola stressed managers should be allowed to select their teams as they feel appropriate.

    That issue has picked up traction in the wake of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp saying it would be the club's under-23 side that face Shrewsbury in their FA Cup fourth-round replay at Anfield, given the first team will be taking their mid-season break.

    "Listen," Guardiola began. "We accept the schedules, the competitions, the games every two or three days, but don't tell the managers which selections you have to choose, please. It's our job."

    City have a doubt over centre-back Aymeric Laporte but are expected to field a strong side, being eager to give United no hint of weakness.

    They could have won by a greater margin at Old Trafford in the first leg, when Red Devils boss Solskjaer said City's strong line-up was a sign of their "respect" for United.

    Guardiola said in Tuesday's news conference: "I show respect for my opponents from day one, from when I started with the second team at Barcelona to today, sat in front of you here.

    "I took that selection (at Old Trafford) and tomorrow I will take another selection."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.