Borussia Dortmund had to sweat it out against champions Bayern Munich after taking an early lead but hung on for a 1-0 Bundesliga victory that saw them close in on their biggest title rivals on Saturday.
Thomas Tuchel, who celebrated his first win over Bayern as Dortmund coach and ended their opponents’ unbeaten run this season, said his plan of playing a quick attacking game with two strikers and Mario Goetze behind them paid off.
This tactic had Bayern’s central defenders Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels pinned deep with fullbacks David Alaba and Philipp Back also kept busy.
Bayern, in second place now and three points ahead of Dortmund, improved after the interval but despite a long period of dominance, they could not break past a solid Dortmund backline.
“We suffered a lot in this game but that was clear even before it started,” said Tuchel, who fielded forwards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Adrian Ramos.
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“But if you are up against Bayern in the ring you cannot expect to get away without a black eye. The important thing is to keep standing,” he said.
Dortmund gave Bayern no chance in the first 25 minutes as they pressed high, attacked early and succeeded in wresting possession from the visitors.
Aubameyang gave them an 11th minute lead and they hung on to that until the end, with Bayern upping the pressure in the second half and hitting the woodwork through Xabi Alonso.
“The first half was extremely intense. The idea today was to play quickly forward and that is why I chose a tactic with three attacking players.
“We said we will not give up, we just kept on fighting and we gave away very few chances, maybe none. It was a top performance,” Tuchel said.
For coach Carlo Ancelotti, it was his first league defeat since taking charge this season, with Bayern now having won just two of their last six Bundesliga matches.
It was also the first time Bayern were knocked off top spot since September 2015, with RB Leipzig now three points clear in the lead after their 3-2 victory at Bayer Leverkusen on Friday.
“We had problems early on, we were too open and did not defend well when they scored. We played well after that, we controlled the game and had our chances,” Ancelotti said.
“I am satisfied with our performance against such a tough team but not with the result,” said the Italian. “We are not happy as we have lost a very important game today.”