Borussia Dortmund laid down an early marker ahead of the upcoming Bundesliga season by beating rivals Bayern Munich 4-2 in a thrilling German Supercup at their own Signal Iduna Park. In a rematch of the Champions League final from just over two months ago, Dortmund displayed the greater cutting edge to deny Pep Guardiola a first piece of silverware as Bayern boss.
In a match that still encompasses part of both sides preparations for the start of the new campaign in two weeks’ time, the rivalry built up in the past three years was in full evidence in a hotly contested encounter even in sweltering heat and humidity. Marco Reus put Jurgen Klopp’s side ahead in just the sixth minute before a rush of three goals in as many minutes just prior to the hour mark. Arjen Robben brought Bayern level but a Daniel van Buyen own goal and a fine strike by Ilkay Gundogan put Dortmund in charge. Robben, who was booed throughout after netting the winner at Wembley in May, soon reduced his side’s arrears but Reus added a second to seal the trophy late on.
As he looks to somehow improve on Bayern’s treble campaign last season, Guardiola had enjoyed a perfect record in pre-season prior to Saturday. Things got off to a bad start in the Supercup, though, as his defense, missing the commanding presence of Manuel Neuer behind them, struggled against Dortmund’s fast-paced attacks.
From Robert Lewandowski’s cross, Sven Bender planted a header down into the turf that should have been comfortable for Tom Starke, but, with Daniel van Buyten coming across his path, Neuer’s replacement could only palm it straight to Reus to head home from close range. Dortmund might have doubled their lead too had Lewandowski not been dubiously flagged for offside as he burst through the middle before finishing low into the net.
As would be expected, Bayern enjoyed the dominant share of possession throughout the contest. They were struggling to convert that ball control into chances, though, with Xherdan Shaqiri coming closest in the opening half with two low efforts that were blocked away by Roman Weidenfeller.
It had been an engaging first 45 minutes, with Lewandowski unable to beat Starke from eight yards late on, but it was nothing compared to the explosion of goalmouth action at the beginning of the second half. Bayern struck first to get level in the 54th minute as Robben was inexcusably left completely unmarked six yards from goal and headed low past Weidenfeller.
Yet, that good work in getting back into the game was immediately undone by two moments of lax defending. First Gundogan swung in a low cross that Van Buyten dove to head perfectly past his own keeper and inside the near post. And Gundogan was the chief protagonist once again just a minute later when he was allowed to drift toward the edge of the area and then, with a lackluster challenge coming in from Muller, turn back onto his right foot and curl a precise strike in off the far post.
There was little letup in the excitement and just seven minutes later Bayern brought themselves back into contention. As with their first goal, Lahm once more supplied a cross and again the Dortmund defending left a lot to be desired as Robben was allowed to gather the ball and swivel onto his favored left foot before drilling a low shot into the net.
Given the draining conditions, it was predictable that the pace dropped off somewhat as the second half wore on. Still the action came back to life once more for a final flourish. Thomas Muller might have made it 3-3 had he not gotten underneath a volley and struck it off the top of the crossbar with Weidenfeller beaten. While, up the other end, Gundogan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both had chances to extend Dortmund’s lead.
Still, with four minutes remaining Dortmund did secure the win, with their new signing from Saint-Etienne heavily involved. After Bayern’s own new signing, Thiago Alcantara, had conceded possession on the halfway line, Aubameyang’s pace got him behind a poorly organized Bayern backline and the Gabon forward squared the ball low for Reus, whose close-range finish was allowed to stand despite appearing to be in an offside position.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.