The Bundesliga began to dispel their unknowns this Saturday. First, because Dortmund lost to Eintracht (1-2) and took a step back that seems definitive in their struggle to reestablish themselves in the positions that ensure participation for the next season in the Champions League, a tournament that the Ruhr club disputes without interruption since the 2016-17 season. Second, because Bayern took a victory from their visit to Leipzig and opened a gap that seems insurmountable with the only rival that threatened their leadership. The celebration of the Bayern players at the end of the game at the Red Bull Arena had the point of relief that characterizes the solution of the culminating moments of the calendar. The circle of men embracing around the captain, Manuel Neuer, was the closest thing to an alirón. The figures support it: Bayern leads the championship with 64 points and Leipzig hangs with 57.
The Bayern players had reason to be relieved. Especially Neuer, who attended the opponent’s control for 90 minutes. It is not often that this goalkeeper and his teammates experience similar situations. During long segments of the match Leipzig cornered visitors around their area. Forsberg, Nkunku, Olmo and Sabitzer were approaching the immediate vicinity of the area again and again. They just lacked something that this team usually weighs: tuning in the last meters. They finished twice on goal. Bayern, more deprived of the ball and the field, came close, but exploited it with their usual efficiency. Lewandowski was not there, but three friends appeared with a great specific weight in the character and collectivist functioning of the current champion of Germany and Europe. They solved the mess with an old formula: Kimmich’s pumped pass over the rival defense, Müller’s deflection, faulty control, impetuous correction, back pass and Goretzka’s shot. The 0-1 score rose in the 38th minute. Leipzig did not recover from the blow.
If the dispute for the top of the classification was fought in East Germany in the middle of the afternoon, the battle that separates the Europa League position from access to the Champions League occurred at the other end of the country after noon. The old Westfalenstadion greeted the arrival of the players with their colorful march, but the joy of the loudspeaker choirs contrasted with the concerned gestures of Haaland and Reus, the two footballers who best measure team morale. If they, who are the best, are not comfortable, Dortmund suffers to score each point. It is usually the keynote of the season.
The opening whistle revealed the general bewilderment of Dortmund, once again mismanaged by Hummels, Bellingham and Delaney, turned into a misshapen team of stumbled and unimaginative progressions. Between the physical slowness of its defenders and the mental slowness of its midfielders, the team never managed to get the ball clearly to its brightest players. Haaland, Reus and Guerreiro showed signs of exhaustion. They seemed physically exhausted. Defeated beforehand at the idea of playing against the current. Eintracht went ahead with a goal against Schulz after a random cross. Hummels equalized at the exit of a corner and André Silva came back three minutes from the end to register the final 1-2. A result that leaves Dortmund with 43 points in fifth position, the Europa League locker, below Eintracht, fourth ranked in the Champions League with 50 points.
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