What now after Bayern beat Dortmund again? – DW – 04/01/2023 / German News

For 13 minutes in Munich, Borussia Dortmund were full of the confidence and intent befitting Bundesliga leaders, and roared on by an away support daring to believe that maybe, just maybe …

And then Gregor Kobel air-kicked an innocuous long ball from Dayot Upamecano, with predictable consequences: the ball trundled over the line, Dortmund’s confidence and belief evaporated, and Bayern cruised to a 4-2 win to return to the top of the league.

“The result doesn’t lie; we deserved to lose,” said Marco Reus. The Dortmund captain may as well record that message and simply replay it every time he’s interviewed after this fixture, which his team has now lost nine times in a row by an aggregate score of 37-8.

“You have crap days, and today was one of them,” added goalkeeper Kobel, who refused to put his error down to the fact that it was his first start in over a month.

His coach, Edin Terzic, backed him, correctly highlighting the Swiss stopper’s impressive form this season as one of the main reasons that Dortmund arrived in Munich as league leaders in the first place.

“Tomorrow, we’ll look at the table and we’ll see that we’re only two points behind,” he insisted, but admitted: ‘But today we’re disappointed and angry.’

FC Hollywood: Bayern’s identity crisis

Disappointment and anger not only at another listless display in Bavaria, but also that his team were unable to take advantage of Bayern Munich’s current identity crisis.

Even as kickoff approached in the Allianz Arena, accusations continued to fly back and forth regarding the club’s handling of Julian Nagelsmann’s dismissal and the appointment of Thomas Tuchel during the international break.

“I found the manner of the change disturbing,” Bayern club legend Lothar Matthäus wrote in table football magazine this week, after Nagelsmann reportedly found out first from the media that he had been sacked and that his employers had already reached an agreement with Tuchel. Some reports even suggest that it was Nagelsmann’s management who had to ring Bayern director of sport Hasan Salihamidzic, and not the other way around.

“The atmosphere in the club is different, lacking warmth, cordiality and togetherness. And I know that many at the club think that,” Matthäus continued.

Speaking pitch-side prematch, alongside his former teammate Matthäus, now a German television pundit, Bayern chief executive Oliver Kahn took that personally.

“I want to say one thing, since you’re always stood here saying the club has no class, no identity. Well, I don’t know what you mean. Let me ask you, Lothar, what is this identity? Are there specific ways to behave?”

Tuchel does the bare minimum

With the Bayern soap opera in full swing behind the scenes in classic ‘FC Hollywood’ style, Tuchel was left to focus on what he does best: winning football matches.

Thomas Tuchel shouts instructions to his players
Thomas Tuchel had a straightforward task in his first match in charge of Bayern MunichImage: Matthias Schrader/AP Photo/picture alliance

With only one full training session with his new players ahead of his first game in charge, the 49-year-old had already made it clear that “now is not the time for sweeping changes” and that “less is more.”

He did attempt to intervene ahead of the opening goal, appearing to motion with his arms to Upamecano to slow down and keep calm in possession. The French centerback didn’t get the message and played a rather aimless ball long, the same one which so bafflingly evaded Kobel and set the tone.

Tuchel barely even celebrated as German football’s so-called ‘classic‘ Descended into the usual Bavarian procession.

What now?

And yet, with every year that goes by, there are more and more reasons to abandon the idea that the brand name which is ‘The classic‘ is some sort of clash of equals. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund may be Germany’s two biggest clubs, but that’s misleading; they exist in different financial worlds.

It’s why this latest episode is less about the Bundesliga title race, which BVB may or may not yet turn around. Less about Dortmund’s apparent collective trauma whenever they go a goal down in Munich. And less about Tuchel and what he did or didn’t have to do on his Bayern debut.

It’s more about where football in Germany, and indeed further afield, goes now. At least on this issue, if on nothing else, Bayern’s and Dortmund’s supporters are singing from the same hymn sheet.

In coordinated messages after 30 minutes, the two sets of fans displayed banners criticizing the exemptions to German football’s 50+1 rule. “Everyone is equal,” read the Bayern banner. “But some are more equal,” read the Dortmund response, before both sets of fans demanded “universal implementation of 50+1!”

The problem, of course, is that Bayern do adhere to 50+1. They’re probably the best example of it. It’s not the works associations (works clubs) Wolfsburg or Bayer Leverkusen who have won ten Bundesliga titles on the bounce. And it’s not Red Bull-backed RB Leipzig, who were soundly beaten 3-0 at home to 100% member-controlled Mainz earlier in the afternoon.

“Fly a load of oligarchs in,” quipped one reporter in Munich, and it was hard to tell if he was joking or not.

Either way, you didn’t need Gregor Kobel’s disastrous air-kick to show that something isn’t working.

Edited by: Matt Pearson

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