Defending German champions Bayern Munich laid down an emphatic marker in the Bundesliga with a 5-1 destruction of closest challengers Borussia Dortmund.
Thomas Müller’s double in the first half was quickly chopped down by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who send the sides into the break at 2-1. But Robert Lewandowski scored two of his own — his 12th goal in four games — to maintain his remarkable goalscoring run with the historic record of Gerd Müller in his sights.
Former Dortmund player Mario Götze added a fifth on 66 minutes to rub salt into the wounds as Bayern rack up a seven-point advantage at the top of the table ahead a two-week international shutdown.
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Coming off the back of a draw at PAOK Salonika, Dortmund trainer Thomas Tuchel replaced Marcel Schmelzer with Lukasz Piszczek at left back, while Sokratis was tasked with stopping Douglas Costa on the left. Tuchel set up with a fluid 4-3-3 with Gonzalo Castro added to bolster the midfield.
Long, accurate passes would define this match at the Allianz Arena, the earliest indication coming as early as the second minute when Aubameyang won a dangerous free kick on the edge of the box. The striker’s tit-for-tat duel with David Alaba would be one of this game’s most enduring and fascinating contests.
With both teams tactically canceling each other out, the number of clear chances was limited. Xabi Alonso had Bayern’s first effort on 18 minutes, skewing an attempted volley into the stands behind the goal. But the switch of side between Martinez and Boateng in the back-three allowed Bayern to increase their dominance.
In addition to being one of the world’s best defenders, Boateng’s vision and passing ability was at its peak. The Germany international, like the flick of a switch, penetrated Dortmund’s defensive unit with needle-thread passes to Lewandowski and finely-tuned cross field passes to Thiago Alcantara or Costa.
With such a thrilling user of the ball, Bayern has an extra level of dominance against sides who prefer not to press high. After the speedy Costa threatened for the first time on 22 minutes, Boateng pinged another sweet long ball over the Dortmund backline, resulting in the opening goal. The lively figure of Müller latched on to it and finished past Roman Bürki.
A second goal was prevented in quick succession by some excellent defending from Mats Hummels. Philipp Lahm and Mario Götze combined on the right, the ball drilled in the box where the centerback’s last-ditch tackle on Lewandowski kept the score at 1-0.
But on 33 minutes, Guardiola’s side added a second. Thiago went down under the challenge from Henrikh Mkhitaryan at the corner of the box and referee Marco Fritz pointed to the penalty spot. Müller stepped up and sent Bürki the wrong way to score his eighth league goal of the campaign.
”Nothing is decided yet but it was a big point,” Mueller said of Bayern’s title aspirations. "We’re all hungry, we all want to win. To have a seven-point gap and the manner in which we won.”
Dortmund reacted well to eliminate the threat of a first-half destruction. Mkhitaryan redeemed himself, combining smartly with Castro who picked out Aubameyang at the far-post. The Gabon striker cushioned home as he continues his run of netting in every league game this season.
Less than 25 seconds after the restart and Bayern extended their two-goal advantage. Boateng delivered one of his razor-sharp long balls, picking out Lewandowski who did enough to beat the less-than-convincing Bürki.
Left out of the side following a poor start to the season, Marco Reus was introduced on 52 minutes along with Adnan Januzaj. Minutes after Reus volleyed wide at one end, Bayern rushed to the opposite with devastating efficacy to score a fourth.
Bayern captain Lahm found Götze in space who kept his composure, not long after missing from a few yards out, this time to pick out Bayern striker Lewandowski in the box. As a result of the excellent pass, Lewandowski was able to glide on to the ball and finished for his 12th goal in four games.
Götze was cool once more on 66 minutes, weaving his way out of a crowded space before finding the bottom corner, ending a barren run in the Bundesliga of more than 18 games. For goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, it was a busier afternoon than usual. He was alert on 70 minutes to keep out Januzaj and Mkhitaryan as the home side ran out thoroughly deserved winners.
”Nobody became German champion today. We have to keep our feet on the ground,” Bayern coach Pep Guardiola said.
From the other bench, Tuchel was taking his first defeat in charge of Dortmund in stride: ”We did everything right (early in the game) but we lacked the finishing touch to make the most of our chances that Bayern later displayed.”
With a 100% record in the Bundesliga after eight games, Bayern now lead at the top by seven points — the first team to do so on by the last day of Oktoberfest — and could have already put the league title race well beyond doubt.