On Saturday evening, Borussia Dortmund lost the first competitive match of new head coach Peter Bosz’s reign against Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich on penalties, 5-4. Dortmund had taken the lead twice in regulation of the DFL Supercup.
Apart from Mario Götze, who missed the game due to slight back problems that had kept him out of an open team training session on Friday evening, Dortmund played with the expected starting XI.
Roman Bürki stepped between the sticks, with Lukasz Piszczek, Sokratis Papasthopoulos and Marc Bartra in defence. At left-back, summer signing Dan-Axel Zagadou once again had to deputise for the injured Marcel Schmelzer and Raphael Guerreiro.
Nuri Sahin, Gonzalo Castro and Mahmoud Dahoud, another summer signing, formed a three-man midfield, with Sahin playing as the lone No. 6 and the other two acting as No. 8s.
Ousmane Dembele, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Christian Pulisic headed Dortmund’s attack.
Apart from Schmelzer, Guerreiro and Götze, BVB were missing Julian Weigl, Marco Reus, Andre Schürrle, Erik Durm and Emre Mor. The clubs two remaining summer additions, central defender Ömer Toprak and attacker Maximilian Philipp, sat on the bench to start the game.
Dortmund’s plan didn’t deviate much from what they showed in pre-season under Dutchman Bosz to this point. They pushed high up the pitch with all 10 outfield players, trying to engage Bayern early in build-up moves to provoke mistakes. After winning the ball, the Black and Yellows tried to play quickly and directly into the final third.
Perhaps this early pressure contributed to an uncharacteristic mistake from Javi Martinez in the 12th minute, the Spaniard paving the way for Dortmund’s first lead of the night. Mats Hummels had surprised Arturo Vidal with a quickly taken free-kick, and the Chilean midfielder played a hasty pass towards his centre-back.
Pulisic pounced on an unsure touch and was through on Sven Ulreich in Bayern’s goal, immediately, keeping his calm and slotting home with Dortmund’s first attempt of the game. Robert Lewandowski had fired the ball just over Bürki’s crossbar a minute earlier on the other end.
Bayern reacted well to going behind, as if the goal served as something of a wake-up call. Suddenly, the Bundesliga champions were much more decisive in their movement and found it easier to play from the back against Dortmund’s pressing.
Carlo Ancelotti correctly picked out Zagadou as a potential weak-spot in BVB’s coat of mail, the 18-year-old having suffered some growing pains at this unfamiliar position throughout pre-season. Germany international Joshua Kimmich made stretching runs from the right-back spot time and time again.
One such occasion gave Bayern an equaliser just six minutes after Pulisic’s opener, with Sebastian Rudy picking him out with a nicely tempered pass that caught Zagadou watching the ball instead of his opponent.
Kimmich broke through to the goal line and had a simple enough pass across the face of goal left to find Lewandowski. The young defender might have been off-side when Rudy released him, but evidence was at best inconclusive, so the new video assistant refereeing system VAR did not nullify the equaliser.
Bayern completely dominated the rest of the first period, with Bürki making some important stops against Thomas Müller in particular. Too often, BVB vacated ample amounts of space behind the centre-back duo of Sokratis and Bartra. Combined with an offside trap that sputtered here and there, Dortmund sent many invitations to Bayern.
They also failed to produce anything going forward and were thus fortunate to remain in the game. In that regard, the match resembled the DFB-Pokal semi-final on April 26th.
Sebastian Rode replaced Dahoud at intermission, a move that seemed curious given Dortmund’s struggles in the creative department but turned out to make a great deal of sense given the 26-year-old’s qualities as a ball-winner.
With falling energy levels in Bayern’s side — the team’s long marketing trip to Asia perhaps showing up a bit — Dortmund’s pressing grew sharper by the minute in the second half. They continuously won balls high up the pitch and, even without being able to turn this into clear-cut scoring chances, they broke Bayern’s dominance all the same.
The teams traded some blows through counter-attacks for a while, with Lewandowski squandering one for his side when he failed to be selfish and tried to square for a team-mate from a decent shooting location.
Dortmund capitalised immediately, with Dembele adding to his assists for Aubameyang in the 71st minute. The young Frenchman played a perfectly weighted pass into the path of the striding striker, leaving Aubameyang one-on-one with Ulreich. Chipping Manuel Neuer’s back-up quite easily, the Gabon international used the one chance that opened up for him in the entire game.
The hosts looked set to defend their lead until the final whistle when Felix Passlack, having come on for Zagadou, who suffered from cramps, body-checked Kimmich somewhat needlessly in the 87th minute. The ensuing free-kick swung into the box and with it came a chaotic scramble.
Niklas Süle’s shoulder hit the ball first, smashing it against the crossbar. A number of players got half a touch of it until Kimmich steered it in the general vicinity of Dortmund’s goal. From there, a deflection sent it towards Bürki, who was unable to react given the short distance the ball travelled within fractions of a second. It will probably go down as an own goal by Dortmund’s goalkeeper, but he shoulders the least of the blame.
As always in shoot-outs, Dembele walked up to the spot first and dispatched his attempt perfectly into the bottom right corner. Roman Bürki saved Kimmich’s tame attempt, Bayern’s third, after Philipp had scored without problems for BVB. Sebastian Rode could have put even more pressure on Bayern, but saw his weak effort saved by Ulreich. Castro remained calm when a miss would have ended the game, meaning the shoot-out went into overtime. In a duel of centre-backs, Süle scored for Bayern, while Bartra missed with a fairly weak attempt. Bayern won the Supercup for the sixth time, making them the record holders after sharing the honour with Dortmund.
While shoot-outs are generally considered games of chance with some merit, it has to be noted that Ulreich jumped to his own right every single time.
Yellow Wall Game Ball: Roman Bürki
Even though his saved penalty could have been re-taken given he stood at least two yards in front of his goal line before the kick, Roman Bürki was the best Dortmund player on the pitch. He kept the team alive in the first half and was free of blame for both regular goals of Bayern.