Jurgen Klopp's side secured the DFL-Supercup with a 4-2 win over the Bavarians and proved that they are ready to do battle with the treble-winners all the way this term
By Enis Koylu
And so the honeymoon is over. After a barnstorming pre-season, Pep Guardiola took charge of his first competitive Bayern Munich game on Saturday and was brought back to reality by a brilliant Borussia Dortmund performance.
Since the Spaniard's move to Germany was confirmed in January, with BVB star Mario Gotze following him in May, the whole world has been predicting a one-team Bundesliga, with the Bavarians streets ahead of the so-called competition.
But Jurgen Klopp's side have responded. From the first minute of their 4-2 victory, they were at their rivals, chasing them, harrying them, bullying them, and it certainly paid off.
On the back of their Champions League final loss to Bayern, Dortmund have been rebuilding, bringing proven quality to the club in the form of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, ready to take their fight against die Roten's hegemony in Germany into the new season.
They thoroughly deserved their victory and their trophy and have got their season off to the perfect start.
For Pep, meanwhile, there is plenty to mull over. Bayern's signing of Thiago Alcantara raised some eyebrows, given the wealth of talent they already possessed in midfield, but his deployment as the sole defensive midfielder was a disaster - particularly given some of the brilliant passing he showcased when further up the pitch.
Time and time again, Dortmund were able to tear through the centre of the park with the boundless energy of Ilkay Gundogan and Sven Bender and punish their rivals. How the visitors missed the security Javi Martinez and Bastian Schweinsteiger provided last term.
Had Guardiola wanted to play a recognised holding midfielder, he had Luiz Gustavo, a proven performer who was on song for his country during the recent Confederations Cup, sitting there on the bench.
His 4-1-4-1 formation looks to be fraught with problems too. Thomas Muller found himself limited by his more conservative role, Arjen Robben, despite his two goals, was marginalised by his deeper starting position for much of the game and the full-backs struggled to find space until Dortmund grew a bit more tired.
They looked vulnerable on the break - just as they did during Wednesday's pre-season friendly with Barcelona. It was a far cry from the defensive brilliance that propelled them to a record-breaking Bundesliga campaign last term.
While it takes time for a team to learn a new formation, the potential pitfalls of this gameplan are there for all to see and they will need a more solid foundation against Germany and Europe's finest.
|"The winner is always happy and the loser does not care too much - this is the great thing about the Supercup"
- Jurgen Klopp
For BVB, they will feel vindicated. They failed to overcome Bayern on any of the five occasions they met last term and, though Klopp was quick to emphasise that he was not viewing the Supercup as a revenge mission, they have a much-needed win to give them some momentum ahead of the new season.
Last term, following a 2-1 win over BVB in the Supercup, Bayern were the quicker out of the blocks in the league, with Dortmund playing catch-up for the whole season until Jupp Heynckes' side's inevitable title triumph in April.
"It was an amazing game. I think you could see that both teams really wanted to win," Klopp said after the game. "The winner is always happy and the loser does not care too much - this is the great thing about the Supercup." And they will carry those high spirits into the season.
Of course, Bayern were missing key men in the form of Manuel Neuer, Dante, Martinez, Schweinsteiger, Franck Ribery and Gotze, but the hosts were without the services of Lukasz Piszczek and Henrikh Mkhitaryan - key players in their own right.
German football is back after a two-month absence and far from having a walk in the park, Guardiola's Bayern will be pushed all the way by the Schwarzgelben this term.
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