Borussia Dortmund’s counter-attacking was so quick in their opening Bundesliga game even the officials were struggling to keep up with them.
VAR was required to check the legitimacy of their final two goals in Saturday’s 5-2 thrashing of Eintracht Frankfurt but on both occasions Erling Haaland was found to be onside at the crucial moment.
Dortmund started their league season essentially playing football too speedy for the human eye to process in real-time. A yellow blur.
Erling Haaland scored two goals and set up three more as Dortmund beat Frankfurt 5-2
Robert Lewandowski scored to earn Bayern an opening night point away to GladbachÂ
The two goals and three assists claimed by Haaland spoke of a world class striker beginning another campaign in ominous fashion. Now a below-par Bayern Munich sit in his crosshairs.
The DFL-Supercup, which will see Dortmund and Bayern meet at the Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday night, isn’t always an accurate barometer of how the Bundesliga season will go.
Dortmund won it in 2013, for example, only to trail their Klassiker rivals by 19 points in that season’s league standings. They also won it in 2014 before spending the year flirting with relegation.
In 2019, Dortmund beat Bayern 2-0 but that early August optimism quickly faded into the miserable reality of watching their rivals streak clear to win by a 13-point margin.
Nonetheless – and this has been said in previous years – there is the merest hint right now that the balance of power in German football could be shifting away from Munich to Dortmund.
Bayern Munich celebrate winning their ninth consecutive Bundesliga title last season
Dortmund defeated RB Leipzig to win the German Cup, ending their season on a high point
BORUSSIA DORTMUND vsÂ BAYERN MUNICH
DFL-Supercup; Tuesday 7.30pm UK
Signal Iduna ParkÂ
Live on Sky Sports Premier League and the Sky Sports App
Dortmund: Kobel; Passlack, Witsel, Akanji, Schulz; Bellingham, Dahoud, Reyna; Reus (c); Malen, Haaland
Bayern: Neuer (c); Stanisic, Upamecano, SÃ¼le, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Sane, MÃ¼ller, Gnabry; LewandowskiÂ
Bayern’s new manager Julian Nagelsmann is unquestionably a tactical genius but will need some time to bed in after moving to the Allianz Arena from RB Leipzig.
They failed to win any of their four pre-season friendlies and needed an equaliser from Robert Lewandowski to take a point from Borussia Monchengladbach on opening night last Friday.
Marco Rose’s project at Dortmund, by contrast, has started more smoothly despite the summer departure of Jadon Sancho to Manchester United.
They certainly didn’t appear to be missing the Â£73million England star against Frankfurt as Haaland, Marco Reus, Thorgan Hazard and Co delivered a box-to-box attacking masterclass.
Gladbach will be hoping to finish in the top four this season and managed to expose a few Bayern vulnerabilities on Friday night, taking an early lead through Alassane Plea.
Dortmund will be another step up in class, as Nagelsmann has acknowledged pre-match: ‘What will be important is to control the space in front of our defensive line. If we lose possession we need to immediately counter-press.
‘We will try to win balls in our opponent’s half and try to counter-attack ourselves. Soccer is teamwork so we will try to work as a team tomorrow.
‘Especially in defending against Haaland.’
Bayern have yet to win a match since new manager Nagelsmann came in over the summer
New Dortmund coach Marco Rose, by contrast, has started more positively with a few wins
It was telling Nagelsmann should name-check the striker but Haaland, with his new man-bun, is obviously the focus of attention.
Dortmund have managed to keep hold of him without too much difficulty this summer and he’s enjoyed almost a full pre-season having not been involved at the Euros.
Taking into account his brace on Saturday and a hat-trick in the first round of the DFB Cup against Wehen Wiesbaden, he has scored 11 goals in his last six competitive Dortmund outings.
It has elevated his overall Dortmund record to a pretty frightening 62 goals and 18 assists in 61 matches.
Dortmund’s summer signing Donyell Malen (right) could start his first competitive match
Bayern spent Â£38million on Dayot Upamecano (right) to strengthen a vulnerable back line
‘Erling wants to be a complete player, he says that himself,’ said Rose ahead of the game.
‘He is still young and still has so much potential for development. Imagine what a footballer he will become if he takes full control.’
Yes, just imagine.
Even more worryingly for Bayern, he could start up front alongside new signing Donyell Malen for the first time on Tuesday.
Former Arsenal academy player Malen, 22, was the club’s primary summer signing at Â£27million from PSV Eindhoven and is designed to compensate for Sancho’s departure with his pace and skill.
In Bayern’s corner, Lewandowski comes into the match off the back of an astonishing run of scoring in 11 consecutive Bundesliga matches.
Joshua Kimmich settled a thrilling SuperCup between the same two teams last season
It was the first of Bayern’s haul of trophies for the season, which also included the Bundesliga title, the European Super Cup and the World Club CupÂ
Of course he surpassed the late Gerd Muller’s 40-goal Bundesliga scoring record last season and his volley from Joshua Kimmich’s corner against Gladbach took him to 295 goals in 330 games for Bayern.
Haaland, with 27 goals, couldn’t keep pace with Lewandowski in the Bundesliga scoring charts last season but it looks set to be a real duel this time round.
With both title rivals so well-armed in attack, it could actually come down to who has the tighter defence this season.
Neither team were exactly watertight last season, with Bayern shipping 44 Bundesliga goals and Dortmund 46. Leipzig, Wolfsburg, Leverkusen and Union Berlin were all more frugal.
Manuel Akanji and Mats Hummels did ultimately form a decent partnership at Dortmund but the latter is out through injury so Axel Witsel may have to deputise.
Dortmund will be hoping for more scenes like this at the Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday night
Bayern spent big to firm up their back line, with Dayot Upamecano costing Â£38m from Leipzig and he will be first choice after both Jerome Boateng and David Alaba left over the summer.
Nagelsmann knows him well and trusts him but his understanding with Niklas Sule at the heart of Bayern’s defence is only just getting going so Dortmund could expose them.
Last year’s Super Cup was an absolute thriller with Dortmund twice pegging Bayern back before Kimmich scored a late winner in a 3-2 victory in Munich.
The latest one promises to be just as entertaining, a fitting curtain-raiser for a tighter title tussle between these two old rivals.