With just Robert Lewandowski to play off of in the Dortmund attack, Marco Reus didn’t have enough creativity around him to produce his best football and to show his most dangerous side for more than a few moments. In short, while he needed Mario Gotze, what he got was Kevin Grosskreutz.
Grosskreutz isn’t a bad player, and it’s hard to find anyone with a better work ethic and defensive discipline despite his forward position. And yet Dortmund had enough of that all across the pitch. From the not-too-often used German they need a little bit more of creativity and thinking, not his strongest qualities. Marco Reus was left with most of that responsibility, but had only Robert Lewandowski to play off of for most of the match, as his teammates struggled to cope with the Bayern attack, and settled for long balls that rarely reached their destination.
Meanwhile, Mario Gotze had his last moment of watching his team and yearning for them to win. While he is a Dortmund fan through and through, his Bavarian roots should take over once he starts picking up a pay check from Bayern Munich. Like it or not, some part of him was slightly happy he gets to play for European champions, although it probably makes his chances of repeating next season a lot smaller. No club has won the competition twice in a row since the switch from European Cup to Champions League.
The Dortmund defense looked a little bit of a mess. Sven Bender didn’t have control of the midfield as some would expect of him, and as the match drew on, the Dortmund players simply lost concentration, letting fatigue get the best of them. Thomas Muller and Mario Mandzukic found more and more space behind the defense, which opened up even more space for Arjen Robben, making the most of it, especially in the final minute before entering injury time.
Jurgen Klopp didn’t feel the same kind of high a day earlier; losing is tough after winning so much. But looking back at the season, it wouldn’t have been a fair outcome for Bayern if Dortmund, who finished more than 20 points behind them in the league, and did not impress in the quarterfinals and semifinals like their big rivals did, would have ended up winning the trophy. They didn’t deserve it for the season, and didn’t deserve on the day.
Everyone’s quite sure Robert Lewandowski has now played his final match for the team. If so, it was a whimper of a goodbye, mostly busy trading elbows with Franck Ribery and other Bayern players. His two big chances were stopped by Manuel Neuer, missing with the same unexpected clumsiness as he showed in the second leg against Real Madrid, which would have made life much easier for Dortmund.
If Lewandowski indeed goes, Reus immediately becomes the star of this team, as he deserves to be. But the match clearly showed he needs more talent and creativity around him in order to be invovled in more than just a couple of counter attacks. On the biggest stage he’s ever played in, the injury of Mario Gotze and the bad day from Lewandowski left him all too alone.