Der Klassiker was billed as a chance for Borussia Dortmund to right all the wrongs suffered so far this young Bundesliga season. It looked as if they would make good on that opportunity, as Robert Lewandowski was on target and Borussia Dortmund was not.
Then, in a seven-minute span in the second half, all that went to waste. Dortmund found its shooting boots after a number of glorious chances went awry, as Marco Reus hit for a double and substitute Paco Alcacer found the winning touch in the 73rd minute for a 3-2 comeback win. The hosts found themselves a goal down twice, and both times erased the deficit before eventually going in front for good.
Surprisingly, both Christian Pulisic and Alcacer were left on the bench by Borussia Dortmund manager Lucien Favre, with in-form Jadon Sancho preferred to the American down the right-hand side and Mario Gotze chosen up top over the Spanish striker. That left Dortmund to sit back and defend for large stretches of time, and they wouldn’t make it to the halftime break with the clean sheet intact.
Dortmund looked dangerous on the counter-attack, but Bayern had the best early chances, the most contentious of which came in the 11th minute as Robert Lewandowski went down in the penalty area and screamed for a foul. VAR clearly gave it a look by the referee’s reaction, but ultimately decided there was minimal contact and did not ask for a review.
The game was wide open past the 15 minute mark, with Marco Reus through on goal but his a weak effort was saved by Manuel Neuer, before Franck Ribery fired a volley wide after latching onto a good Josh Kimmich cross. Bayern would go in front on 26 minutes as Serge Gnabry delivered a pinpoint cross to the head of Lewandowski, and the Polish international dove to meet the ball with his head, burying it past Marwin Hitz on the doorstep.
With Bayern leading at halftime, Dortmund took control of the run of play in the second half and pegged the visitors back. Just minutes after the break, Manuel Neuer brought down Marco Reus in the box, and although he got to the ball to punch it away, a penalty was awarded as Neuer cleaned out Reus after the touch. Reus took the spot kick and finished to equalize at 1-1 with a great penalty as Neuer went the wrong way.
The visitors would go back in front minutes later on a messy goal as Dortmund failed to clear, and eventually Kimmich at the near post lifted the ball to Lewandowski at the far post for another headed goal. The hosts missed all kinds of beautiful chances to go in front, but Reus was there to finally put the ball in the back of the net on 67 minutes, leveling again at 2-2. He latched onto the ball near the top-right corner of the box and whipped a twisting shot across the face of goal and into the far right corner.
Dortmund would go in front just minutes later, and it was the in-form Alcacer to deliver the finishing blow. Bayern turned it over near the halfway line, and Axel Witsel perfectly released Alcacer on the break, who carried the ball forward before clipping it over Hitz after he had committed to coming out.
As expected, Bayern would pour forward looking to equalize, but they could not find a lifeline. Lewandowski thought he’d found the back of the net for a comeback of his own and a hat-trick, but the assistant referee’s flag went up to rule out the goal, with replays showing the decision was correct.
It was a famous comeback win for Borussia Dortmund who moved four points clear at the top of the table on 27 points, with Borussia Monchengladbach behind them at 23. Bayern sits in third, now on 20 points after the loss. The winner for super-sub Alcacer was his eighth Bundesliga goal in just his sixth appearance, with just one start in that span.