In front of 63,000 Allianz Arena fans, Arjen Robben proved the deciding difference between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in an epic 2-1 Bundesliga victory.
It wasn’t easy for Bayern – they had to claw back a 0-1 deficit after Dortmund took the lead in the 41st minute.
Up until the opening goal, the struggle between the two midfields had resembled a battlefield; both defenses played high lines up the park, and the fight for midfield ascendency was brutal. Both teams struggled for consistency and space to play their game under intense pressure.
Finally, an error lead to the opening goal of the match. Indeed, errors were to decide the fixture. In such a high-stakes game, the pressure to be perfect meant that the slightest mistakes would be seized upon. Ultimately, Dortmund made one more mistake than Bayern.
But the first mistake belonged to the home team when Marco Reus latched onto a ball out of midfield and drove towards the Bayern defense. Remarkably, the dangerous Dortmund star went unchallenged, sliding through the line and breaking towards the goal. After laying off a pass and then receiving the ball back, Reus snapped off a shot from ten yards that hammered into the top right corner of the net to give the visitors a half-time lead.
Marco Reus in front of goal. Bayern’s defensive communication error left the dangerous Dortmund star unchallenged.
At the start of the second half, Bayern seemed a re-energized team. Their passing was crisp, and they were full of running. Space began to open up in the midfield, and at the 50th minute mark, Arjen Robben latched onto a pass following a quick turnover of possession. Bayern moved the ball so smoothly that Dortmund were unable to respond. Robben surged forward, passing to Lewandowski, and then getting a perfect ball laid back at his feet. Robben pulled the trigger and scored the equalizer to make the scores 1-1.
Top to bottom: Robben gets a perfect pass on the edge of the box and drives past the penalty spot before shooting, while Lewandowski looms up in the background.
For another twenty minutes the game hung on a knife-edge. Dortmund had their best chance in the 70th minute when a rifled shot on goal was parried by the Bayern keeper and then recovered by Dortmund who shot a second time on goal. Fortunately for Bayern, the keeper made a fine save to keep the scores level.
Then, in the 78th minute, it was that man Robben again, who won the match for the home team after a second fatal error by Dortmund.
On the edge of the box, Robben received the ball and challenged the Dortmund defender who missed a simple tackle. It was all the space the elusive Bayern attacker needed. Instinctively Robben dribbled into the box as Dortmund’s defenders scrambled to recover. Robben kept his balance, holding off desperate challenges, before hammering home the match winner from inside the 6 yard area.
Top to bottom: The missed tackle that cost Dortmund a draw. On the edge of the box, Arjen Robben evades a challenge and dribbles into the penalty area before scoring from close range.
The goal made the score 2-1 to Bayern Munich, and signaled a remarkable second-half recovery against a skillful and determined Borussia Dortmund, who could do nothing in the final minutes of the game to salvage a draw.
In the end, errors – and lethal quality finishing by man-of-the-match, Arjen Robben, – ultimately decided the result.