League leaders Borussia Dortmund delivered a real statement of intent on Matchday 11 of the Bundesliga season as they twice came from behind to beat reigning champions Bayern Munich 3-2 (0-1) in an exhilarating match. The win means the Black & Yellows now have a seven-point lead over the Bavarian giants at the summit.
Boris Rupert reporting
The 81,365 spectators at a sold-out SIGNAL IDUNA PARK watched Lewandowski head a dominant Bayern in front midway through the first period (26) after Reus had missed a good opportunity to fire the hosts ahead. The Borussia Dortmund captain equalised from the spot shortly after the restart, only for Lewandowski to re-establish the visitors' lead three minutes later. But BVB rallied and squandered three golden chances before a spectacular half-volley from Reus finally handed the hosts a deserved leveller. The final twist of a captivating encounter came six minutes later, when Alcácer dinked the ball over Neuer to seal the points.
The two clubs were meeting in the Bundesliga for the 99th time. It was the first time since April 2012 that BVB had gone into a clash with FCB as league leaders. They last beat the champions in the 2017 DFB Cup semi-final in Munich.
Borussia Dortmund were without first-choice goalkeeper Bürki, who was ruled out with a thigh injury and replaced by Hitz. The Swiss shot-stopper, who was making his first Bundesliga appearance for BVB, had performed well in the DFB Cup victory over Union Berlin and already had 154 top-flight appearances under his belt. There were four changes to the starting XI that lost 2-0 at Atlético Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday, with Zagadou, Weigl, Bruun Larsen and Götze replacing Toprak, Delaney, Pulisic and Alcácer (all substitutes). Diallo and Schmelzer were unavailable.
Bayern took to the field in a 4-1-4-1 formation in which Müller was often positioned level with Lewandowski. Dortmund, meanwhile, opted for a defensive-minded 4-4-2 system spearheaded by the duo of Reus and Götze. The Black & Yellows appeared to have learned in Madrid that the best way to deal with an offensive-minded opponent was to double up on the flanks, and the wingers − Sancho on the right and Bruun Larsen on the left − did a lot of tracking back.
The match & analysis:
Bayern piled on the pressure in the opening stages and at times had BVB pinned back in their own half, though the Bavarians rarely threatened to begin with. Meanwhile, the hosts looked to counter at speed after winning the ball back. Sancho failed to pick out a totally unmarked Bruun Larsen in the opening minutes, before Reus came close in the 10th minute when he dispossessed Hummels but then had his solo effort denied by shot-stopper Neuer. The Germany goalkeeper prevented another certain goal six minutes later when he beat Sancho to a Bruun Larsen cross from the left flank as the English youngster raced towards the loose ball (16).
The first goal in what was an exhilarating encounter came in the 26th minute, the visitors taking the lead when Lewandowski headed Gnabry's cross past a powerless Hitz. The Swiss custodian did make a strong stop to thwart Ribery on 33 minutes, though, and BVB began to grow into the game − even if they did deserve to be behind at the break.
High-tempo BVB create chances galore
Favre, who replaced Weigl with the more offensive-minded Dahoud at the break, saw his team make a flying start to the second half that resulted in an equaliser within four minutes of the restart. Reus, having been clearly brought down by Neuer after beating the shot-stopper to Sancho's through-ball, stepped up to take the spot-kick and converted it coolly to make the score 1-1 (49). The crowd roared as BVB launched another strong attack through Götze, but Munich hit-back quickly with Lewandowski heading home Kimmich's cross to re-establish their lead on the 52-minute mark.
BVB, though, appeared unaffected by the deficit and poured forward, coming close when the ball fell to an unmarked Reus on the edge of the six-yard box − only for Kimmich to clear off the line with Neuer beaten (58). There was an even bigger chance four minutes later when Sancho outpaced Hummels and cut the ball back from the byline, but Alcácer's hesitation allowed Boateng to clear the ball away from danger and Bruun Larsen's follow-up was blocked by another Bayern player (62). There was another missed opportunity on 65 minutes when Hakimi won the ball off Goretzka, but his cross was blazed over the crossbar by Reus (65).
Reus levels twice, Alcácer grabs winner
It was entirely one-way traffic by this point in the match as wave after wave of attack rained down on the Bayern goal, and the breakthrough finally came when Piszczek's cross from the right flank was volleyed into the bottom corner by Reus (67). Sancho then won the ball back from Ribery on the edge of his own box and Witsel played the perfect pass through to Alcácer, who beat Neuer to make it 3-2 and keep up his run of scoring in every substitute appearance (73)!
Bayern thought they had salvaged a point through Lewandowski in the fifth minute of stoppage time but it was rightly disallowed for offside.
Domestic action will now pause for two weeks as internationals return for the third time this season. BVB will resume their Bundesliga campaign on Saturday 24 November (kick-off 15:30 CET) when they visit 1. FSV Mainz 05. In the meantime, there will be a friendly with Sportfreunde Lotte on Friday 16 November.