DFL-Supercup

DFL-Supercup (3)

Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann has credited his predecessor Hansi Flick with the team's success in the DFL-Supercup.

Bayern beat Klassiker rivals Borussia Dortmund 3-1 at Signal Iduna Park, Robert Lewandowski scoring twice against his old club either side of Thomas Muller's simple finish and a sensational strike from Marco Reus.

It sealed Bayern's ninth Supercup win in total, and their second in a row after they beat the same opponents in 2020, under then-coach Flick, who left the club at the end of last season.

Flick, now the Germany coach, led Bayern to two Bundesliga titles, the Champions League, a DFB-Pokal, FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup – as well as the Supercup – during his 18-month spell, and was watching on from the stands as part of a limited-capacity but vociferous crowd on Tuesday.

For Nageslmann, the victory represents his first trophy as a coach. Indeed, the 34-year-old had only overseen one appearance in a final – RB Leipzig's 4-1 defeat to Dortmund in May.

Despite finally claiming silverware to get his Bayern tenure off to a strong start, Nagelsmann insisted the credit had to go to Flick and the players who claimed a ninth successive Bundesliga title in 2020-21.

"We thoroughly deserved to win. It's not easy against Dortmund with the attacking power that they have," Nagelsmann told Sat.1.

"The title is the reward for last season because we won the title. Not me, but Hansi Flick. The title belongs more to others than it does to me.

"I was forced by the boys to pick up the trophy, they picked me up a little – 'now you finally have a title too'."

Describing winning his first trophy and an eagerness for more, Nagelsmann stated he has "small hamster teeth", adding: "Everyone knows that this has a meaning, also for me. But also, for the dressing room.

"At Bayern there is pressure, you have to win games and win titles, so it was important."

 

Lewandowski was in imperious form on his old stomping ground, converting the two big chances that came his way in clinical fashion – his first goal a fantastic header, his second a cool finish following Manuel Akanji's mistake – as the Bayern star paid homage to one of German football's greats, Gerd Muller, who passed away over the weekend.

"It means a lot to me. It's the next title win for us," said Lewandowski, who broke Muller's record of 40 goals in a single Bundesliga season last term.

"It's great for the fans to watch the game live. It's great for the team. We can enjoy it."

While Lewandowski starred at one end, Erling Haaland toiled to no avail at the other, though Dortmund's free-scoring forward was unfortunate to have a goal ruled out for offside.

Reus was the main threat for Marco Rose's team, with his three attempts and two key passes leading the way.

"It was an unnecessary defeat. Bayern had their chances, we knew they would," said Dortmund's captain.

"There was no faulting our energy levels and passion, but titles have a habit of ending up at Bayern."

Bayern Munich were not the biggest club in their own city, let alone the country, when Gerd Muller signed in 1964.

The Bavarians' major trophy haul at that time consisted of a single league championship in 1932 and a maiden DFB-Pokal success 25 years later. Muller joined a second-tier side.

On Tuesday, two days after the club great's passing, Bayern celebrated his life in fitting fashion with a record-extending ninth DFL-Supercup triumph – a competition they have to win silverware simply to enter.

The Bundesliga dominance, cup after cup and six European crowns... all that history can be traced back to Muller's decision to head for Bayern rather than rivals 1860 Munich.

He was there for the first four Bundesliga titles – the top scorer on each occasion – and for three European Cups in three years, Muller's standards slipping as Jupp Heynckes was the leading marksman in the third season.

In 15 years, the remarkable forward tallied 566 Bayern goals, a benchmark that stands to this day. Muller's Bundesliga total of 365 is also unsurpassed.

As those numbers show, breaking a Muller record is no simple task, but Robert Lewandowski finally did so last season when scoring 41 goals in a single Bundesliga campaign, edging beyond the legend's 40 in 1971-72.

"I achieved a goal that once seemed impossible to imagine," Lewandowski wrote on his Twitter page in May. "I'm so unbelievably proud to make history for Bayern, and to play a part in creating the stories that fans will tell their children – following in the footsteps of legends like Gerd Muller."

 

It made sense then for Lewandowski to be front and centre again at Signal Iduna Park as Muller was remembered.

He clutched a number nine shirt ahead of kick-off as a moment's silence broke into applause, the Borussia Dortmund fans recognising a legacy that goes beyond club lines.

It was a lovely tribute, but Muller would have been more familiar with Lewandowski's subsequent nods to his greatest predecessor.

Muller was the ultimate 18-yard box centre-forward, a mantle Lewandowski has taken on and exhibited expertly against his former side.

Manuel Neuer, another of the Bayern players carrying a Muller shirt, kept Dortmund at bay at one end – finishing with four saves – before his club's latest outstanding number nine showed Erling Haaland and BVB's team of young pretenders how it is done at the other.

"Lewandowski has proven over several years now that he is a world-class striker," coach Julian Nagelsmann said before the game. "Erling hasn't been in the league that long, although his scoring rate is great."

That proven Lewandowski class brought a brutal, brilliant opener, his header from Serge Gnabry's left-wing cross thumped into the bottom-left corner. The outcome of a chance that was worth a moderate 0.29 expected goals (xG) was never in doubt.

And Lewandowski was involved again, in the box again, when Bayern appeared to put the game beyond doubt four minutes after half-time, waving a leg towards Alphonso Davies' low cross in an attempt at a flick that ran instead for Thomas Muller's tap-in, the late Bayern superstar's namesake having been the third visiting player to hold up a red shirt in a pre-match show of respect.

Perhaps the linesman was a Gerd Muller fan, too, twice ruling in Bayern's favour when Youssoufa Moukoko and Haaland each ran away to score – the second call considerably closer than the first.

There was no ruling out a blistering Marco Reus strike, which briefly threatened Bayern's control, but Manuel Akanji's dallying let Lewandowski in again and the Dortmund fans know exactly how that tends to go. This time with an xG of 0.25 – merely the fifth-best chance of the match – the 32-year-old made it look routine.

A seventh Supercup strike, Lewandowski extended another record that is all his own – albeit in a competition Muller never graced.

The Poland international is Muller's nearest challenger in Bundesliga terms, with 278 goals, and deserves to be counted in such company, even if he has just added to Bayern's reputation rather than transformed it. Lewandowski has also now scored in 14 successive matches for Bayern, which means he needs to score in just two more consecutive games to match another of Muller's all-time records (16, in 1969-70).

Meanwhile, this was not Haaland's night, but he too could have one eye on the sort of standards Muller set. Still just 21, Haaland has 42 goals in 44 Bundesliga games – or one every 84.8 minutes – and Hasan Salihamidzic has acknowledged Bayern would be "amateurs" not to consider signing the striker.

Given the apparent inevitability of a transfer at the end of this campaign, the BVB sensation would seemingly have to join Germany's powerhouse to stay in the Bundesliga and close on Muller or Lewandowski.

Bayern do not need a replacement up front just yet, though, after their latest legend ensured 2021-22 would continue an almost constant theme since Muller broke all barriers, with silverware heading back to Bavaria.

Julian Nagelsmann claimed his first piece of silverware at Bayern Munich as Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller secured a 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund in the DFL-Supercup.

In a frantic encounter between the Bundesliga champions and DFB-Pokal winners at Signal Iduna Park, it was Bayern who defended their crown in the third straight Supercup meeting between the Klassiker rivals.

Lewandowski broke Gerd Muller's long-standing Bundesliga record of 40 goals in a single season with the final kick of 2020-21, and he fittingly opened the scoring two days after the Bayern great's passing.

Muller put Bayern in complete control and, though Marco Reus' stunner gave Dortmund hope, Lewandowski capitalised on Manuel Akanji's error to seal victory.

Dortmund were their own worst enemy from the off, with Serge Gnabry, Muller and Kingsley Coman all squandering gilt-edged chances after sloppy play from Marco Rose's team.

Yet it was Neuer who made the first save of the match. Hailed as "the best goalkeeper in the world" by Nagelsmann, the Bayern stalwart stuck out a leg to spectacularly deny Reus.

Dortmund were caught cold from a free-kick as the intensity continued, Lewandowski's effort blocked on the line by Axel Witsel.

Youssoufa Moukoko, the youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history, thought he had nosed Dortmund ahead in the 36th minute only for the offside flag to halt his celebrations, before Neuer kept out Erling Haaland.

Bayern made their fortune count, Lewandowksi floating into the area to direct a thumping header beyond Gregor Kobel.

Lewandowski was involved again as, four minutes after the break, Bayern doubled their lead, the striker doing enough to prevent Kobel from collecting Alphonso Davies' cross, with Muller turning home.

Dortmund seemed to have an immediate lifeline when Haaland raced through and slotted home, but the offside flag again came to Bayern's rescue.

Bayern's lead was cut in sensational style after the hour, Reus curling a sumptuous first-time strike into the top-right corner.

Despite the backing of much of the limited-capacity crowd, Dortmund's comeback hopes fell flat 16 minutes from time as Corentin Tolisso pressured Akanji and Lewandowski picked up the scraps to round matters off.

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