Berlin: Bayern Munich’s 5-1 triumph over Borussia Dortmund gave an answer to an interesting question: What will happen if Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel meet up in a restaurant and play their games with the salt and pepper shaker?
The answer is: It would drive the waiters mad as there would be no space to serve the food, reports Xinhua. It must have been a rather exciting evening a few months ago when both coaches got together in a Munich restaurant (when Tuchel was not yet in charge in Dortmund) and were behaving like tactical nerds having fun together. According to rumours, salt and pepper shakers on most of the other tables were kidnapped to take on a tactical role.
Over 75,000 spectators in the Munich Arena a month later got an idea of Guardiola and Tuchel’s love of tactics and a quick, incisive attacking game. Both admire each other. The outcome of the football festival on Sunday evening was a top class game broadcast in 207 countries and regions around the world. Tuchel tried to stop the table toppers’ goal-scoring machine using a three-man defence and three defencive midfielders. Dortmund additionally blocked Bayern’s flanks (Costa on the left and Goetze on the right) to close them down as much as possible.
Shinji Kagawa attacked Bayern’s “quarterback” Xabi Alonso which gave Bayern something to think about. However, one of Bayern’s many qualities (and Guardiola’s) is to find answers on a restaurant tables and on the pitch. In the first 30 minutes, Dortmund were basically controlling their opponents until central defender Jerome Boateng adopted the “quarterback” role with a long pass over 40 metres to Thomas Muller. It was the first time Bayern had found a gap in Dortmund`s defence. They were almost counter attacking on their own ground. Guardiola seems to have accepted that Bayern can`t be similarly successful through the middle as he was with Barcelona. This shows the Spaniard does all to be successful with Bayern this season. He even accepts long passes over 50 metres.
Dortmund gradually gave up their tactical (more defencive) formation to strike back in a more open 4-2-3-1 system but Bayern (4-1-2-2-1) were again successful after a long ball. This seems to be a tactic that Guardiola is using more this season as in the last season only two goals were scored from long balls. Now it was the key to victory in a great game. Thomas Mueller scored his seventh and eighth goals (26/35) of the campaign and Robert Lewandowski (46/58) added two more to take his tally to 12 before Mario Goetze scored (66).
For Dortmund, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored to put them back in the game at 2-1, it was his 10th strike. Both teams changed their tactics several times and were good examples of how modern football is played. And who would now bet on any other team than Bayern (still missing Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery due to injury) winning the German title in 2015/2016? Bayern Munich are without doubt Germany’s No.1 team, and their league rivals are nowhere near being in the same class. They beat both challenging candidates as Wolfsburg and Dortmund by 5-1.
After the story of the famous Guardiola-Tuchel restaurant table games, many pundits assumed Tuchel was the one looking behind the secrets of Guardiola. Perhaps though it was the other way around. Despite losing by four clear goals, Dortmund proved they are capable of being the team to challenge Bayern, but not at present. For Dortmund’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke it will take several years to catch up with Bayern. “Munich has developed over the last years to a level I thought no German club would ever get to. It is the level of Real Madrid and Barcelona,” said Watzke. Or better put, the world’s best.
Some years ago Dortmund were basically on a par with Bayern. It was the time when Dortmund won the 2011 and 2012 German titles, beat Bayern 5-2 in the German cup final and made it into the 2013 Champions League final (which Dortmund lost 2-1 in Wembley). Then the gap opened. “When you can spend an extra 100 million, you get 10 Riberys on top,” said Watzke. Dortmund’s boss emphasized that his club’s target this season can’t be to challenge Bayern over 34 games but to make it into the Champions League again after the team missed out on qualifying for the world’ s most important club competition.
“It won’t be possible to keep up a budget of 87 million euro without being in the Champions League for long,” continued Watzke. He hinted that it might be impossible to keep stars like 2014 World Champion Mats Hummels, Ilkay Guendogan, goal scorer Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan. Bayern again showed that they are prepared to challenge the so-called big boys of international football and are one of the top favorites to win this season’s Champions league. In Germany’s Bundesliga they are on the way to winning their fourth consecutive title. After the eighth game of the season, they are already seven points ahead of second-placed Borussia Dortmund.