Bayern edge out Dortmund in tight Super Cup clash
On a cool afternoon in Dortmund it was FC Bayern Munchen who won the German Super Cup after a 4-2 win on penalties, Die Bayern were lucky to win the game and it certainly wasn't a one sided affair by any stretch of the imagination.
Bayern enjoyed the lions share of possesion as pear usual, but Dortmund repeatedly attacked Bayern on the break but their profligacy meant that Bayern weren't made to pay for their tactical ignorance. But as Dortmund wore down Bayern found their opening late in the first half and after a magnificent save from Timo Horn, Thomas Muller fired home from the resulting corner after Horn was narrowly beaten to his front post by the twenty four year old international, as he leaped off the Signal Iduna Park turf tearing numerous blades of grass to kicksart Die Bayern's game. It was to prove significant blow for Der BvB as Mats Iconic would later explain to the press 'We should have taken our chances better but we didn't, we were careless the players acted as though chance after chance would fall their way but it was never going to be that way. Despite our profligance I thought we were good defensively and were resilient throughout and limited their chances, but just one lapse in our concentration cost us of all the players it had to fall to it was Muller. Muller. He does deserve credit for his finish and the way he took the chance with such composure is admirable.'
Iconic must have said something brilliant though ,as the way Dortmund came out fighting in the second period with an added spark of energy to their game as they pressed Bayern back and played with their swagger and style from Pre season and were rewarded through a goal from (you guessed it) Tammo Harder. After some crisp passing and a rare time where Dortmund where in possession Nathaniel Clyne stroked the ball to Henrik Mkhitaryan who within the blink of an eye scooped the ball past Sebastian Rode and Sebastian Schwiensteiger, then with a swift flick of his right boot sent the ball onto toward Harder, sending the ball up and above the slick turf with chunks of grass sticking to it and water spraying up from the pitch and ball alike. Concentrating on appealing for an offside meant Holger Badtuber meaning the twenty five year old centre back was unable to keep up with Harder's speed of thought and with the football. Pierre Emerick Auabameyang then left Jerome Boateng for dead and hit a fierce drive at Manuel Neuer Bayern's No1 did well to save the shot but parried it straight at Harder who kept his composure to fire home (With some help from the left boot of David Alaba).
Bayern then caved, trying to hold out for penalties and passing the ball around their defence, the best chance of the game after Harder's goal came unsurprisingly Dortmund's way after a beautiful cross from Harder the ball hung in the air and dipped perfectly, it seemed, for Sven Bender to become the man of the moment but Jerome Boateng swerved in to head the ball away after Bender didn't attack the ball in the air.
As penalties looked immanent Iconic attempted to bring on Ivan Klasnic and Adrien Ramos as more firepower for the shoot out, this was where the controversy was raised as neither Klasnic nor Ramos where brought on as Peter Gagelmann (the referee for the match) didn't let Dortmund make their changes in the game. 'I was very frustrated with the fact that we couldn't bring on Adrien (Ramos) or Ivan (Klasnic) as you may have seen, tempers were flared and I was extremely angry and I needed to an explanation as to why we couldn't bring them on and Gagelmann just couldn't give me that. I don't think it cost us the game, no, not at all I just think that had we had better penalty takers maybe Bayern wouldn't have won, but life goes on we can't cry over spilt milk I apologise to the fans for not winning the Super Cup and it being taken away in such cruel circumstances. But we can take pride from the fact that the twelve players that did play were fantastic in their efforts from minute one to ninety three.'
Dortmund never really looked confident in the shoot out and Bayern took a 2-1 lead after the first four penalties. Youngster Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg stepped up to take Bayern's third penalty kick (the champions were taking their penalties first) sweat glistening from his from his face and torso, Timo Horn attempted to psych out his opponent and it clearly worked as Hojbjerg lost composure and control as he smacked his shot way over the bar into the yellow wall with an explosion of Yellow and black in sheer delight.
The Dortmund fans where still basking in the celebrations of the Hojbjerg miss when Henrik Mkhitaryan stepped up to give, what Dortmund fans hoped, would be their equalising goal, the Armenian took a deep breath and drilled the ball at Manuel Neuer who didn't act in fear and lat the ball harmlessly thwack his hands before punching the air and screaming in delight (and really taking the piss.) as Mkhitaryan clasped his hands over his face, looking up to the sky as if it would give him his magical answer as to why he missed with hot tears of anger and embarrassment cascaded down his face mixing with sweat and water, which he had dowsed himself with before the shootout. The next taker was none other than Dortmund old boy Robert Lewandowski with the Dortmund crowd silenced momentarily there took a little while for the hatred of 'Lewa' to kick in but as it did so boos rang round to a deafening extremity. Standing tall (acting in a way like a Cristiano Ronaldo wanna be - what a prick!) the air was humid with the smell of sweat lingering in the atmosphere in and around the ground, drops of sweat and water dripping from his hair, took a deep breath and dinked the ball just over the outstretched arm of Timo Horn as the Dortmund keeper desperately attempted to claw the ball away from the net, his efforts were unrewarded as the Pole managed to score from the twelve yard spot. Bizarrely though didn't celebrate or run around screaming or even just walk back but stud on the spot barely moving a muscle staring at the Yellow Wall, prompting the Dortmund fans to chant the loudest they had all game drowning out the cheers of celebration from the Bayern away fans.
The next penalty taker was Slovenian Centre Back Jon Gorenc Stankovic who blasted his penalty well beyond the reach of Manuel Neuer to give Dortmund hope but Thomas Muller drilled the final into the Dortmund coffin, spitting a rather large amount of saliva and phlegm onto the pitch he side stepped from the left and thwacked the ball into the top right corner and set of on a run round the pitch Iconic and Guardiola shook hands and the former teammates shared a hug before setting off to their respective players. The home crowd gave their hero's a rousing reception and the players and staff returned the favour applauding their fans, acknowledging their fans support.
Several Dortmund fans where questioned on the result and performance with many saying how well the team played and that the players fought so well for the win. After the final whistle some fans were able to make out the image of Jurgen Klopp sitting beside Director of Football Michael Zorc in the Director's Box giving the fans a wave before making his way out of the ground.
The question does remain though, will this set the tone for the season? Will Bayern once again be comfortable champions? Or will one of Dortmund, Wolfsburg, Bayer04 or Schalke spring a suprise (let's hope not Schalke! :P)
So I didn't win the Super Cup, but life goes I apologise I wasn't able to bring glory as of yet but let's hope I can win something, eh?