Bayern banish Dortmund demon

The underground trains were bouncing a little louder than normal, the Allianz Arena was a little more colourful and the number of sub plots entwined in this fixture were arguably greater than ever. Above all though, the significance of this game was more important than it ever has been. Dortmund are undefeated in six league and cup games against Bayern and despite what they tell you in Bavaria, Dortmund have not been an enjoyable opponent of late.

With the late news that Mats Hummels would be unavailable due to illness, Felipe Santana started, as did Kevin Grosskreutz in an expected tactical change. Heynckes chose arguably his strongest eleven, with Arjen Robben starting for the suspended Franck Ribery.

There was a cacophony of sound even before kick off but once underway, it was clear that the Dortmund fans were here to sing for the entire ninety minutes. Early on, Arjen Robben threatened to test the resolve of that away support but he selfishly went for goal instead of passing from the angle, which allowed Weidenfeller to parry.  Both sides settled before the recently in-form Toni Kroos was presented with a glorious opportunity from the angle after Weidenfeller's save but the young German could only find the side netting with the goal at his mercy.

After a short intake of breath and some sideline gesticulations from their manager, Dortmund tried to take an all too evident superiority away from Heynckes' men. But they struggled as the home side stood firm with a relatively high line. With no Hummels, Dortmund were extremely lethargic playing the ball out from the back and Bayern were, as a result, enjoying a touch more freedom in and around the area. Despite this, Mario Goetze looked the most exciting player on the field but the lack of support meant his efforts were largely in vain.

Ten minutes before the break, a fantastic chip into the box from Bastian Schweinsteiger allowed Javi Martinez a rare half volley at goal. Weidenfeller saved but the ball squirmed under him and towards the goalline. Unfortunately for Bayern, Dortmund's number one dived on it to deny them the opening goal. Bayern were upping the anti and Robben fired over from the angle as another good chance went begging.

Then, after a fairly cagey first 45 minutes, Arjen Robben curled a spectacular strike into the top left corner from outside the area. The cliché rings true that big games need something special but the Dutchman provided just that before the half-time whistle, leaving Dortmund needing a change of game plan after the break.

Dortmund were on the pitch before Bayern but were nearly two down moments into the second half after Dante's exquisite pass but Meuller just couldn't get a touch. Dortmund then broke forward but Goetze's pass was flat when it should have been high, infuriating Klopp. The final pass was something both sides were missing. Guendogan then fired in a first-time effort from the edge of the area but Neuer saved well. It was Dortmund's turn to apply pressure and Reus added to that, drilling just another shot wide.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, the game was end-to-end. Mueller and Kroos forced good saves out of Weidenfeller before Neuer responded in turn at the other end with some strong punches. Javi Martinez uncharacteristically gave the ball away in midfield before lunging heavily on Lewandowski to win it back, fortunately seeing only a yellow.

The aggression increased as players started to snap at one another and, naturally, the challenges got even heavier. Heynckes cut a very calm figure on the sideline but even he must have winced when Daniel van Buyten put his free header over the bar from just outside the six yard box. With fifteen minutes left, the game was very much still in the balance. Dante then had two consecutive headers blocked off the line as Bayern sought a second that they arguably deserved.

Schweinsteiger played a delicious ball into the box but Mandzukic hit a tired header right at Weidenfeller. Schieber missed two late chances, but it mattered not for Bayern as they held out for a season fitting victory. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge hailed the win as "deserved" before adding "it was clear we were playing against the second best team in Germany tonight." Juergen Klopp saw the problem simply as "one half against Munich is not enough to win." Neven Subotic added a similar sentiment, claiming Dortmund "weren't all on the same page" in the first half.

An extraordinary man can never have an ordinary day and so it seems that this season that man is Bayern München and this evening was another of their extraordinary days. The recent demon of Borussia Dortmund has been banished and now, arguably more than ever, Bayern's treble intentions are looking more concrete.

Bayern München: Neuer - Lahm, van Buyten, Dante, Alaba - Schweinsteiger, Martinez - Robben, Kroos (90+4 Boateng), Mueller (79' Gustavo) - Mandzukic (90+1' Gomez)

Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Santana, Subotic, Schmelzer - Guendogan, S. Bender, Grosskreutz (62' Blaszczykowski) - Goetze, Reus (81' Schieber) - Lewandowski

Goals: 1-0 Robben (43')

Knut Kircher
Attendance: 71, 000

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