In the game that serves as the curtain raiser for the Bundesliga season that will get started on Aug. 9, Borussia Dortmund made an emphatic statement, defeating Bayern Munich 4-2 to win the German Supercup on Saturday.
A year ago in the same game, it was Dortmund, who played the role of the defending league and domestic cup champions, visiting Bayern Munich, the team who finished second in the league and runners-up in the domestic cup. In that instance, it was Bayern who made the statement of what was to come with a win over Dortmund.
Fast forward to Saturday and the roles reversed. The game was an open, end-to-end affair just like it looked on paper coming into the game, with the end result being Dortmund who delivered the statement(s) this time around. And what was the statement(s) which Dortmund delivered in their Supercup triumph?
First and foremost, Dortmund showed that even though it lost Mario Goetze, who is now with Bayern Munich but did not play yesterday, that this Dortmund team is now even better. The additions of Pierre-Emerick Aubamyeng and Henrikh Mkhitaryan added depth and additional attacking quality to the Dortmund attack, while the signing of Sokratis from German club Werder Bremen will give the defense an additional option to rely on during the season.
To add to the new additions, Nuri Sahin will continue to play at Dortmund for another year on loan, so his presence will add to the midfield options coach Jugen Klopp can count on and gives him a piece in which to be able to vary his starting 11 between league play and Champions League play. Finally, Kevin Grosskreutz will be moved to cover as a fullback on defense, and that will only add to the depth on defense, which Dortmund was thin at last season.
The second statement that Dortmund made was that it intend to be serious challengers to Bayern Munich on the domestic and European fronts. Last year, when it was Bayern Munich who beat Borussia Dortmund in the Supercup, they played like a team who laid down the gauntlet and with their play said, the league title you have won the last two seasons is ours and we are going to get it back.
On Saturday, Dortmund, through their play, made it clear to Bayern Munich that while it might be reigning treble winners (league, domestic, and Champions League titleholders), that they intend to challenge their dominance and try to win any one, if not all three, of these competitions. Essentially, Dortmund made Bayern know that it will have someone pushing them and physiologically, it better be ready to have Dortmund push them.
As for Bayern Munich, the loss should not be over analyzed or evaluated, nor were they ever under any obligation to have won this game. If anything, the game served to show that there is still work to do to get acclimated and in tune with new coach Pep Guardiola and his tiki-taka possession-based style of play.
Bayern Munich are still the favorites to repeat as Bundesliga champions and favorite to win Champions League. But now they know that when they face off against Dortmund on Matchday 13 to be played on Nov. 23 and Matchday 30 to be played on April 12, 2014, it will face a team who could potentially de-throne them as league champions.