On Saturday, Bayern Munich reclaimed first place in the Bundesliga by defeating Borussia Dortmund 4-2 at home, giving Thomas Tuchel a winning start as coach of the Bavarian giants.
By the 25th minute, Bayern had a 3-0 lead thanks to an own goal by Dortmund goalkeeper Gregor Kobel and two trademark poacher’s finishes from Thomas Mueller.
Despite two late consolation goals, Bayern moved two points clear of the visitors thanks to a fourth goal from Kingsley Coman shortly after halftime.
“We need the desire to get better, because we have to get better,” Tuchel said, although he praised his side’s “desire to fight for the ball”.
“It was the result we absolutely wanted.”
Dortmund came into the match in the unfamiliar position of first place, one point ahead of Bayern, who fired coach Julian Nagelsmann in favour of Tuchel last week.
Tuchel, who won a German Cup title during a two-year stint in charge of Dortmund, only had one training session with Bayern but it was Kobel who gifted them a flying start in the 13th minute.
The ‘keeper, who returned after a five-week injury layoff, charged out of his box to try and clear Dayot Upamecano’s long pass, but could only make the faintest of contacts with the ball before watching helplessly as it rolled into the net.
Mueller scored from a corner just five minutes later and pounced when Kobel spilled Leroy Sane’s shot five minutes after that.
“Sometimes there are crap days and today was one of them,” Kobel told Germany’s Sky, blaming himself for the defeat.
But Dortmund coach Edin Terzic backed his ‘keeper, saying: “We can’t forget that this man is the reason we were on top of the table.”
Unlike earlier in the season when Dortmund came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at home with Bayern, there would be no miracle comeback this time around, with Coman sliding the ball under Kobel early in the second half.
Emre Can converted a consolation penalty after Serge Gnabry fouled Jude Bellingham in the box, while Dutch forward Donyell Malen added a second for Dortmund in the last minute of normal time.
Munich have won their last nine home league matches against Dortmund, scoring 37 goals and conceding just eight in the process.
Dortmund will need to regroup after the defeat, their first league loss in 2023, ahead of their German Cup quarter final at RB Leipzig on Wednesday.
Bayern face Freiburg twice in the space of a week, once at home in the Cup on Tuesday and then away in the league on Saturday.
Union Berlin kept up their surprise pursuit of the Bundesliga title with a 3-0 victory over rock-bottom Stuttgart.
Second-half goals from Sheraldo Becker, Kevin Behrens and an own goal from former Union player Genki Haraguchi took the third-placed side to just two points behind second-placed Dortmund and four from Bayern.
“After half-time, we played like we should,” said Union coach Urs Fischer.
Mainz dealt fifth-placed Leipzig’s bid for Champions League football next season a blow, winning 3-0 at the Red Bull Arena.
Freiburg missed a chance to take advantage of Leipzig’s loss, drawing 1-1 at home against struggling Hertha Berlin.
Bayer Leverkusen handed Schalke their first defeat in nine matches, winning 3-0 away thanks to second-half goals from Jeremie Frimpong, Florian Wirtz and Sardar Azmoun.
Elsewhere, a goal from Germany forward Felix Nmecha in the sixth minute of injury time stole a point for Wolfsburg, who drew 2-2 at home against Augsburg.
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