Derby loss puts Klopp’s men 12 points behind unbeaten Bayern
By Colin StoneFollow @JfGpodcasts
This was not the kind of start Borussia Dortmund supporters had envisaged.
Having run away with the league title last season, fans of Jurgen Klopp’s highly-skilled team of entertainers expected even more at the beginning of this term.
The starting XI was essentially the same as the one who had comprehensively beaten rivals Bayern to the championship; an impressive addition had come in the form of the undeniably brilliant Marco Reus; Bayern boss Heynckes was under pressure to deliver, and everything was in place for another successful season of free-flowing, attacking, and most importantly winning football.
What a difference a few months makes.
It’s not time to hit the panic button just yet, but Dortmund supporters are beginning to exchange nervous glances with one another, as was seen following the conclusion of the 141st Ruhr derby this weekend.
The 2-1 defeat to bitter rivals Schalke condemned Die Borussen to their second loss of the season and leaves them some way off the pace, having also drawn three games already.
Saturday’s visitors, who themselves had enjoyed a solid start to the season, were keen to lay down a statement of intent and this was no more evident than when Ibrahim Afellay emphatically opened the scoring after less than a quarter of an hour. The Dutch playmaker buried a fantastic volley following a poorly-cleared cross, and Schalke were off and running.
However, the expected Dortmund barrage never came and instead, the away side grew in confidence, with Marco Hoger doubling his side’s advantage early in the second half after Reus had given the ball away.
Joel Matip could’ve sealed all three points had he not contrived to toe-poke the ball over the bar from just a few yards out, and Polish striker Robert Lewandowski made him pay for his wastefulness as he halved the deficit with a header on 56 minutes. But the reigning champions never really looked like clawing back their share of the points and the game ended 2-1, handing Schalke their first win over their rivals since February 2010.
Klopp, who put the loss down to “not playing well”, was despondent in defeat but refused to concede the league. However, there’s no denying that the champions have a mammoth task on their hands, with Saturday’s result leaving them a whopping 12 points behind rivals Bayern Munich with only 8 games gone.
Dortmund’s hopes of claiming their third straight Bundesliga title are already looking dead and buried. However, the deserved derby victory boosted Schalke’s dreams of a Bundesliga title win as they kept pace with the top two.
Nevertheless, although Huub Stevens’ side have been dubbed as Bayern’s closest challengers this year, the Royal Blues aren’t even close to the current level of the unbeaten and brilliant Bavarians.
Jupp Heynckes’ men claimed a new league record on Saturday as they became the first side to start the season with 8 wins from 8 games. The achievement was set in some style too, as goals from Mario Mandzukic, Luis Gustavo, Rafinha and a double from Thomas Muller contributed to a 5-0 rout of Fortuna Dusseldorf.
Bayern’s impressive tally of 24 shots on goal compared to Fortuna’s two reflected the passage of play, but Heynckes will be slightly disappointed about his team’s profligacy in the final third. However, someone whose disappointed will have increased even further over the weekend is Bundesliga record-signing Javi Martinez, who had to be content with yet another appearance off the bench. The midfielder has only started two league games for Bayern since his €40m move in August.
Gameweek 8 Results
Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 Mainz
Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Schalke
Eintracht Frankfurt 3-1 Hannover
Fortuna Dusseldorf 0-5 Bayern Munich
Hamburg 0-1 Stuttgart
Hoffenheim 3-3 Greuther Furth
Nuremberg 0-0 Augsburg
Werder Bremen 4-0 Borussia M’Gladbach
Wolfsburg 0-2 Freiburg