In a tense, enthralling encounter at the Allianz Arena, Borussia Dortmund showed that their early-season issues were well and truly behind them by beating leaders Bayern Munich 1-0, cutting their hosts’ lead, which had looked unassailable as recently as three weeks ago, to a mere two points. It wasn’t the prettiest football – the defending won the day here – but it was a lot of fun to watch, especially after Bayern threw absolutely everything forward following Mario Goetze’s second-half goal.
There was some attacking quality on display, of course, with both sides coming up with some well-worked moves, but both teams’ defences were more than up to the challenge with the first half seeing neither Roman Weidenfeller nor Manuel Neuer tested despite a back-and-forth match. Everyone knew that the game wouldn’t stay chanceless, and the second half was far more open, with Shinji Kagawa seeing his shot well saved by Neuer before Goetze grabbed his goal.
It wasn’t the work of art one tends to associate with the teenager, but it got the job done – an attempted one-two with Kagawa went a bit wrong, but the ball dropped to Goetze’s feet anyway, and he was able to shrug off Jerome Boateng to guide a low left-footed shot into the bottom corner.
Neuer would be beaten again a few minutes later, this time by Robert Lewandowski, but that effort was ruled out for offside and it was Bayern Munich who would do most of the rest of the attacking, forcing Weidenfeller into several good saves (most impressively his one-on-one block against Franck Ribery) and having two penalty appeals bizarrely turned down.
There were only two minutes of stoppage time for Dortmund to navigate and the visitors just about managed it, beating one of the best teams in Europe – admittedly while they were missing Bastien Schweinsteiger – for the third time on the trot. Jurgen Klopp celebrated with the best fist-pump ever.