Mats Hummels was at full stretch to deny Eric Dier in Saturday's Klassiker at the Allianz Arena. - © IMAGO/Dennis Ewert/RHR-FOTO
Mats Hummels was at full stretch to deny Eric Dier in Saturday's Klassiker at the Allianz Arena. - © IMAGO/Dennis Ewert/RHR-FOTO

Mats Hummels and Nico Schlotterbeck inspire confidence-boosting Klassiker win for Borussia Dortmund


Borussia Dortmund won the prestigious Klassiker 2-0 at Bayern Munich, giving them the boost they need for a thrilling season finale, and their fans some much-needed celebratory pride.

Courage, hard work, resistance, effectiveness and a bit of luck – those were the characteristics Edin Terzić said his side would need if they were to win Der Klassiker on Saturday. "We showed them all," the Dortmund coach said afterwards, a smile stretching from ear to ear. Indeed, his team displayed everything Terzić had asked for in the tenth minute…

Watch: Dortmund celebrate in the Allianz Arena

Resistance: although Bayern had started dominantly, Dortmund remained stable and compact, undeterred and defending with an identifiable structure for the first 10 minutes in which they were put under a significant amount of pressure.

Courage: when Bayern played in Thomas Müller in the inside right, Nico Schlotterbeck did not drop back to cover the deep run of Jamal Musiala – he instead saw an opportunity to intercept Müller's pass and advanced courageously, and he was rewarded by regaining possession.

Hard work: immediately, six Dortmund players transitioned to attack. Anybody not belonging to the back four marched forward. Niclas Füllkrug worked to keep the ball and, even when Julian Brandt played a pass through for Karim Adeyemi to run onto, he continued his own run forward, taking Jadon Sancho with him to be ready to pounce on a possible rebound.

Watch: Nico Schlotterbeck hails defensive effort

Effectiveness: Adeyemi kept his cool in a one-on-one with Bayern goalkeeper Sven Ulreich, turning in the first opportunity of the game to give Dortmund the lead.

Luck: deputising for Manuel Neuer, Ulreich may well have made a better attempt at keeping the winger's shot out, but only managed to get a weak hand to the ball which was not enough to keep it out. The ball trickled in, when on another day, it may well have stayed out.

Read all the Klassiker reaction

It was a move which blended all of the traits Terzić teased out of his team, but there was much more to it than just that one, sweeping move. Mats Hummels and Nico Schlotterbeck shone at the back with performances which really made a difference. Both had been left out of the latest Germany squad, but showed the national team coach Julian Nagelsmann what he had missed, channelling any frustration into motivation.

Watch: Edin Terzić on Klassiker lessons learned

They combined perfectly together, with the aggressive left-footer Schlotterbeck an extremely important component in Dortmund's defending going forward. Just like with the inception to the opening goal, he often intercepted passes to turn Dortmund's traction around, which was particularly important in view of the low share of possession (41 per cent) that Dortmund had, with quick transitions the only way to do teams like Bayern harm.

Whenever he could not break a Bayern attack down, Hummels was there to show all of his experience – this being his record 29th Klassiker – to prevent Bayern from breaching enemy lines. Whether it be a Leroy Sané counterattack in the 26th minute, or Eric Dier's gilt-edged chance in the 35th, Dortmund's defensive stalwart stretched every sinew of his body to make unthinkable blocks. After Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel made a triple change, Hummels was still there to block Serge Gnabry's shot with his head. And Kingsley Coman's cross towards the free Harry Kane straight after? He cut it out.

Watch: Bayern 0-2 Dortmund - highlights!

This 2-0 win was Dortmund's fourth Bundesliga win in a row, while they also saw off PSV Eindhoven in the UEFA Champions League in between, meaning that they have yet to lose a game in 2024. But victory in Der Klassiker is more than that. "It was very important to us and for our fans," said goalscorer Adeyemi.

"We're extremely happy with the performance – it was a deserved win," added Terzić, praising his team's performance "We worked hard for it and this is something we can now build upon." That is because there are several more big challenges on the horizon. "We knew that there's a lot coming our way in the weeks to come," said Brandt.

This win ensured they cemented their place in the top four, and in the qualifying berths for the Champions League, but they have some high hurdles still to cross before that is in the bag: VfB Stuttgart on Matchday 28, Bayer Leverkusen on Matchday 30 and nearest rivals RB Leipzig on Matchday 31, and that is in addition to the Champions League quarter-final clash with Atlético Madrid.

This Klassiker win must therefore be the springboard to more success in an intense season finale, which this win sets Dortmund up for nicely.

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