The Giants of European Football at the moment is none other than Bayern Munich. They are ruthless. They are highly competitive. They are fighters. Even if they experience a bad day in the office, it actually does not bother them at all because in the very next day they would unleash their brutal best – 0ne or two goals down is not a problem – they just bounce back and reminds the opposition that they are the German Giants.

In the Der Klassiker – the battle between two of the fiercest competitors in Bundesliga – Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund – Bayern Munich had the edge most of the times and before the clash of the titans, Bayern domination would not surprise anyone.

Meanwhile, the absence of two crucial players Raphael Guerreiro and Jadon Sancho, felt a bit like a hammer blow before a ball was kicked. Could Dortmund cope, fielding infrequent starters of late, like Dan-Axel Zagadou, Nico Schulz and Thorgan Hazard remained a moot question!

With the new-look back three – Dortmund started with a lot of intent and pace – passed the ball faster enough, dominated the midfield, and had their talisman Erling Halaand right at the top of his game. The backline of Bayern had been under the scrutiny these days and it was an opportunity for him to exploit fully – he did not disappoint.

Again, Bayern are statistically as weak as they’ve been defensively since the dismal 1991-92 campaign when they went through 3 different coaches.

Within two minutes Haaland was right on the money!

Delaney nudged an offload to Haaland who turned away from Boateng to open up space – He connected low-and-hard on his left foot and it took a deflection off Boateng on its way to the goal that allowed the ball to beat Neuer.

Borussia Dortmund 1 Bayern Munich 0.

Eight minutes later, Dahoud switched play from right to left to find Schulz. The full-back slid an offload to Hazard on the charge in the left inside channel – he cut a low ball into the middle where Haaland scored.

Borussia Dortmund 2 Bayern Munich 0.

It was desperate times for Bayern and they started to put the foot on the paddle and move forward.

Kimmich hung a dangerous cross to the back post from the left flank. Sane ran into position to attack the delivery, only to head his effort over the bar from a difficult angle. Sule angled a cross in from the right flank that Lewandowski meets headed over the top. Sule floated a ball over the top for Goretzka to guide into the path of Lewandowski, who sent wide. Muller scripted a drive from the left inside channel but sent his effort wide of the target.

Bayern were attacking and in between, Dahoud opened up the Bayern defence with an incisive pass for Meunier. The Belgian looked for Haaland unmarked in the middle, but instead, Meunier under-hits his cross and allowed Alaba to make the interception.

Meunier should have scored and a 3-0 lead could have demoralized Bayern.

The German Giants responded – who else but Lewandowski.

Schulz made the mistake of giving Leroy Sane too much space and, with his slick footwork, set up a goal for Lewandowski – there you go!

At the stroke of half-time, Dahoud brought down Coman with an outstretched boot. The referee did not give the penalty on the field, but he is instructed to take the help of VAR. It was clear that the contact was inside the box and the official overturned his decision.

Lewandowski equalized from the penalty spot.

Bayern Munich reminded everyone about the match against Mainz in January when they struck 5 goals despite going two goals down.

After the break Dortmund began confidently enough and that Schulz-Hazard combination came to the fore with the latter squeezing a shot just wide of the post.

Thereafter, Bayern were the team with plenty to say for themselves, particularly down the left-hand side where Coman, one of their top performers this season, was a constant menace. Hitz fumbled a Joshua Kimmich shot which bounced just in front of him but escaped without a concession.

Edin Terzic decided to weather the storm of Bayern’s attacking force and focused on compactness rather than scoring more. He completed his five substitutions which included Halaand. Obviously, Dortmund lost their goal-scoring mojo.

With the scores level, the tension was easily palpable around the stadium and with just two minutes of normal time remaining – Goretzka latched to a failed-clearance from Meunier and guided a strike on the half-volley into the back of the net.

Kimmich launched a cross into the box from the right flank.

Meunier tried to keep it away from Lewandowski, but his clearance landed straight to Goretzka who connected with a fine strike, finding the bottom-left corner.

Two minutes later, Lewandowski put the icing on the cake by completing his hat-trick.

Davies ran down the left flank and cut the ball back to Lewandowski at the edge of the box. Lewandowski took a touch before placing his effort beyond the reach of Hitz into the bottom-left corner. It was his 31st goal for the season and he is hungry for more.

It was dubbed as the battle between two of the most competent forwards in the modern-day – Lewandowski and Haaland. Both of them are the beasts in front of the goal.

Haaland is already a contemporary of Lewandowski’s – his effectiveness in front of goal is utterly devastating and, as demonstrated, seemingly a level above that of the Bayern talisman during his early Bundesliga days.

But Haaland was made to realize how to maintain the temperament when your back is against the wall and keep kicking on, as Lewandowski clearly did around the age of 26 when analyzing what he could do better, taking himself from an excellent number 9 to arguably the best of his generation.

Bayern not only completed the comeback but made sure that the score-sheet tells it was a dominating victory.

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The loss was especially bitter for Dortmund, seeing a two-goal lead turn into a defeat in the Bundesliga for the first time in more than 25 years. Their Champions League qualification prospects continue to hang in the balance.

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