It was another successful outing for Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, as they made the trip to the Volkswagen Arena to face Wolfsburg. Their 4-0 thrashing of Schalke in the Revierderby last week set the bar high for BVB, as they looked to make it six wins on the spin.
The win last Saturday was a pretty straightforward one, but wouldn't prove to be as easy when up against Wolfsburg. While Die Wölfe sit in a similar part of the table to Schalke, their quality is much more explicit.
From the first whistle, the match took on a similar look to last week’s win. Dortmund wanted to settle into the game and assert their dominance on the tie, before bursting into action after half an hour.
And they would open the scoring in similar fashion to how they did against Schalke. The killer pass that cut the hosts’ defence open found Thorgan Hazard, and as the Belgian cut it back it looked to be a carbon copy of last week's goal, but Erling Haaland completely missed it, leaving Raphaël Guerreiro to sweep it home at the far post.
With the first goal arriving, Dortmund had their hand on the game and their control asserted. Standard stuff for Die Schwarzgelben.
The job was far from complete however, and Dortmund knew they needed to step up a gear to keep Wolfsburg at bay.
The hosts came out all guns blazing in the second half, and would’ve equalised had Renato Steffen simply slotted it past Roman Bürki. But it was the Dortmund goalkeeper who won the battle of the Swiss, doing enough in goal to put off his Schweizer Nati teammate. Steffen’s miss was the wake-up call BVB needed.
For all their defensive work to resist Wolfsburg’s pressure, Dortmund needed breathing space.
Enter Jadon Sancho.
Favre brought the Englishman off the bench at the most opportune time - early enough to capitalise on his energy, not too late to make no difference whatsoever. He caused the hosts problems instantly, cheekily nutmegging John Brooks before drawing a foul from the American and a yellow card from the referee.
Sancho’s creativity then came to the fold in match-winning fashion with 12 minutes to go. Dortmund had a chance to counter attack, and with Sancho on the ball there was only one outcome. He drew the Wolfsburg defenders in to perfection, creating the space and time for Achraf Hakimi to sweep the ball home.
2-0 Dortmund. Game, set, and match for Favre’s fantastic Schwarzgelben.
It wasn’t the finest Dortmund performance, but they were certainly more than value for the win.
Six straight wins is one thing, but five clean sheets in the process shows their strength at the back. Just one goal conceded in that streak proves that Favre’s back three is working wonders, but the biggest challenge lies ahead on Tuesday.
Both teams have a point to prove, but none more so than Borussia Dortmund.
Nine wins in their last ten fixtures is quite something, but how will they fare against the best in the land? A 4-0 defeat in the reverse fixture gives them even greater motivation to win the next edition of Der Klassiker, but it will be far from easy.
Bayern are in just as impressive form - 12 games unbeaten and no league defeat since December, with five straight wins and three consecutive clean sheets for Hans-Dieter Flick’s side.
Dortmund are capable of beating Bayern, and with the welcome wildcard of Erling Haaland, their goalscoring threat is greater than ever.
Saturday’s performance wasn’t the finest, but it was exactly what BVB needed ahead of matchday 28.
The time to send the ultimate statement across Germany is now. The stakes are high, the opposition’s quality even higher, but it’s time for Borussia Dortmund to prove that they can be the very best.
Bring on Der Klassiker.