It’s not the first time Dortmund have been upset at home, but it’s been a long time since Die Schwarzgelben have found it so difficult to dominate a match they’re hosting or creating an abundance of chances. For Bayern Munich, the Bundesliga didn’t come with a perfect start, but good enough to not be too concerned about anything.
The champions beat Wolfsburg at home 2-1, taking a two goal lead through Thomas Muller followed by Arjen Robben, who also set up the first goal for Robben. Like in most of the Guardiola era matches and especially the less impressive ones, Bayern Munich’s attempts at killing off the game led to Wolfsburg bouncing back, scoring (former Bayern player Ivica Olic) and one of the biggest misses we’ll see this misses coming from Junior Malanda.
Things were very different North of there as Dortmund hosted another team hoping to find itself in the title race a few months from now – Leverkusen. Just like the hosts, Leverkusen have lost some key players over the summer, which is reality for Bundesliga teams not named Bayern Munich. However, Rudi Voller continues to do an astounding job of finding talent and spotting the right replacements, as it showed in an excellent performance, coming away with a 2-0 win at Signal Iduna Park, getting a seven-seconds-from-kickoff goal and another one five minutes into injury time.
Bayern Munich are once again changing, playing something of a 3-5-2 or 3-4-1-1, with Robert Lewandowski up front, next to of just in front of Thomas Muller. David Alaba has a more attacking role this season and Philipp Lahm is part of a defensive line. All of this might change the moment Franck Ribery comes back from his injuries and rest, but for now it’s quite clear, like in the German Super Cup match against Dortmund, that Bayern aren’t all that comfortable with its new shape. Last season started out in the same way, and we all know how easy it was finishing on top of the Bundesliga.
Dortmund obviously don’t have the luxury of switching tactics due to their squad, always recovering from a big loss. This summer it’s been Lewandowski, and Jurgen Klopp, for all of his tactical prowess and ingenuity, needs a striker. Ciro Immobile doesn’t seem to be a suitable replacement and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang thrives away from the middle. However, it’ll be the form of Marco Reus and Henrikh Mkhitaryan that determines how Dortmund fair in both competitions this season.
The Bundesliga has been a a one-team league for the last couple of seasons, and the hopes that Dortmund gave Germany when they won two consecutive titles seem to be drifting away as Bayern grow stronger professionally and financially. The big fear of course is Dortmund eventually stumbling as they try to keep up, and this season seems to be providing Klopp with the biggest challenge he’s had so far since becoming the manager. It’s good for football in general if this challenge isn’t too difficult for him.