Bayern Munich lost and Borussia Dortmund seized its chance as the Bundesliga got a new leader on Saturday.
Donyell Malen scored twice in Dortmund’s 4-0 rout of Eintracht Frankfurt as the “black and yellows” capitalized on Bayern’s earlier 3-1 loss at Mainz to move one point above the defending champion with five rounds remaining.
“The table looks very well now,” Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl said with a smile.
The pressure was on Dortmund after it failed to exploit Bayern’s 1-1 draw with Hoffenheim last weekend, but Edin Terzić’s team responded with a committed performance to firmly declare its title credentials. Dortmund is bidding to end Bayern’s 10-year reign as German champion.
Jude Bellingham opened the scoring in the 19th minute, drawing the ball past a defender with his first touch before shooting inside the far post, Malen scored his first five minutes later, then Mats Hummels headed Dortmund’s third goal before the break.
After conceding three goals to 10-man Stuttgart last weekend, Dortmund perhaps needed Malen to settle the issue in the 66th. Karim Adeyemi set up both of the Dutch player’s goals.
MAINZ MISERY Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel endured a disappointing return to his former club Mainz where his team squandered the lead and lost 3-1.
Sadio Mané scored and Bayern looked set to stretch its league lead to five points ahead of the late game. Mané headed in João Cancelo’s cross at the far post in the 29th minute.
But Mainz improved after the break and Ludovic Ajorque equalized in the 65th when Bayern’s defense was unable to clear the ball after a free kick. Leandro Barreiro scored the home team’s second in the 73rd, and six minutes later Spanish left back Aarón Martín marked his 26th birthday by scoring Mainz’s third.
“Again I’m sitting here saying I didn’t see it coming, because there wasn’t any sign of it,” Tuchel said, echoing his words after Bayern’s Champions League loss to Manchester City on Wednesday. “I was happy with the first half, we lost our way a bit in the second.”
Bayern’s loss increases the pressure on chief executive Oliver Kahn and sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić. They were already under scrutiny for their decision to fire coach Julian Nagelsmann before decisive games last month. Bayern has since crashed out of the Champions League and German Cup, and Nagelsmann’s replacement, Tuchel, has just two wins from seven games across all competitions.
“A defeat is always a brutal disappointment and an extreme discrepancy between expectation and reality for us,” Bayern veteran Thomas Muller said. “In the current situation, it’s even harder to bear.”
Pál Dárdai’s return for his third stint as Hertha Berlin coach failed to inspire the team when it slumped to a 4-2 loss at home to Werder Bremen – a result that left Hertha on the bottom with little hope ahead of its visit to Bayern next weekend. Marvin Ducksch scored a hat trick for Bremen.
Wolfsburg routed Bochum 5-1 away, and Cologne won at Hoffenheim 3-1.