While the performance may not have been brilliant, the execution and the end result couldn’t have gone better, as Marcu Reus and Ilkay Gundogan made the most of a defense that found it very hard to handle Robert Lewandowski, back in motivated form, as Borussia Dortmund opened the 2013-2014 season with a German Supercup title.
Dortmund didn’t suffer from too many changes in its lineup. Mario Gotze left? While Henrikh Mkhitaryan is injured, Ilkay Gundogan had no problem shifting to a more forward position, while Marco Reus played less on the wing while on attack, helping Marcel Schmelzer on the left side with Arjen Robben and Philipp Lahm. Nuri Sahin still needs time to feel comfortable again, but he wasn’t a huge dropoff as the one playing next to Bender.
The only other difference was Kevin Grosskreutz playing as the right back with Dortmund missing their injured Polish defender, Łukasz Piszczek. Grosskreutz might not be incredible in one on one situations defensively, not being a natural defender, his physical abilities and work rate on the pitch, not to mention the very compact unit and way of defending Dortmund use should prevent teams from making the most of that disadvantage.
The counter attack, always Dortmund’s best weapon over the last three years, was in full effect on the night, along with the home fans at the Signal Iduna Park. If Marco Reus’ opener can be attributed to silly goalkeeping from Starke and Dortmund’s second goal, giving them the lead for the second time, was just a bad bounce off of Daniel van Buyten’s head, goals number three and four from Ilkay Gundogan & Marco Reus were completely different.
As Bayern Munich tried harder and harder to find the equalizer, Dortmund looked more and more dangerous. Dortmund can defend counter attacks wonderfully, and react with amazing fast breaks, borrowing from basketball, of their own. Lewandowski forces central defenders to be so busy with him it has to leave openings, especially if there’s no dominant defensive midfielder (Javi Martinez in the stands) to help, that openings for attacking midfielders are bound to appear.
Gundogan was the one who found most of the space in the box, but a lot of it came from Reus, who kept beating the man marking him, moving away from his initial course of running and allowing for more midfielders to come in from behind him unchecked. By the end of the match, Bayern’s defense was completely dissected, not really knowing from which direction the attack was going to come.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is going to be a huge difference. For now he’s coming off the bench, but his speed isn’t the only reason he has scored 35 league goals over the last two years in France. He was the one who made the fourth goal for Reus, and once Klopp finds a way of putting him on the pitch for longer than 18 minutes next to Robert Lewandowski, there’s a chance that Dortmund will actually be a better team than they were last season.