How Bayern beat Dortmund to the Bundesliga title

Borussia Dortmund were seven points clear of Bayern Munich at one stage, so how did Niko Kovac's men turn it around to win the title again?

Bayern boss Niko Kovac, BVB's Lucien Favre   -  Bongarts

Bayern Munich has won the Bundesliga for the seventh year in a row, despite Borussia Dortmund pushing it harder than in recent seasons.

Lucien Favre's side has made great progress this term with a thrilling young side including stars such as Jadon Sancho, yet it may rue a missed opportunity in the 2018-19 season.

READ | Robben and Ribery strike to seal seventh consecutive Bundesliga title for Bayern

Dortmund made a flying start and led Bayern by seven points earlier in the campaign, only for the defending champion to come roaring back under Niko Kovac, capitalising on BVB's patchy post-Christmas form and sealing the title with Saturday's 5-1 hammering of Eintracht Frankfurt.

We looks back at nine key games that ensured the championship shield will be residing in Bavaria once again.

DORTMUND 3-2 BAYERN, 10/11/18

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DORTMUND 3-2 BAYERN   -  Getty Images

A superb start to the season for Favre's men was improved even further when Bayern was beaten 3-2 in the first Klassiker of the season at Signal Iduna Park. Robert Lewandowski twice gave Bayern the lead against his old side, but Dortmund captain Marco Reus equalised on both occasions. Paco Alcacer then came up with a memorable winner to ensure BVB could dream of the title.

WERDER BREMEN 1-2 BAYERN, 1/12/18

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WERDER BREMEN 1-2 BAYERN   -  Getty Images

A third participant in the title race was arguably Werder, who played a key part in a number of results that would go on to decide the title. Bayern entered December on a run of three Bundesliga games without a win and pressure was building on Kovac. He needed a win and he got one in Bremen thanks to a Serge Gnabry double either side of Yuya Osako's goal.

READ | Bayern's Kovac not interested in sack speculation

DORTMUND 3-3 HOFFENHEIM, 9/2/19

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DORTMUND 3-3 HOFFENHEIM   -  Getty Images

Probably the result that proved the most damaging to Dortmund's previously sky-high belief; surrendering a three-goal lead at home to Hoffenheim was a hugely painful result to take. It was 3-0 up with 15 minutes to go but somehow failed to win the game, with Ishak Belfodil scoring twice in an incredible comeback from the visitor. This setback was the middle result of three consecutive league draws for Dortmund.

AUGSBURG 2-3 BAYERN, 15/2/19

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AUGSBURG 2-3 BAYERN   -  Getty Images

 

Bayern had found its groove but Augsburg was a difficult opponent, having drawn at Allianz Arena earlier in the campaign. A Friday night clash proved a classic in February as Bayern fell behind in the first minute due to Leon Goretzka's own goal. Kingsley Coman equalised twice - either side of a superb strike from Ji Dong-won - and the France forward set up David Alaba for a priceless winner early in the second half.

READ | Pizarro, 40, agrees one-year extension at Werder Bremen

BAYERN 5-0 DORTMUND, 6/4/19

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BAYERN 5-0 DORTMUND   -  Getty Images

 

A run of three straight wins set Dortmund up for a virtual winner-takes-all Klassiker meeting in Munich. However, a first-half Bayern blitz essentially ended BVB's hopes of usurping the defending champions. Lewandowski hit Bayern's second and fifth goals after former BVB defender Mats Hummels had opened the scoring. That two of its old heroes contributed heavily to the humiliation would have especially hurt Dortmund supporters.

BAYERN 1-0 WERDER BREMEN, 20/4/19

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BAYERN 1-0 WERDER BREMEN   -  Getty Images

 

By this stage of the season, any slip-up from Bayern could have opened the door for Dortmund to take full advantage. However, it claimed another narrow win over Werder at the Allianz Arena, albeit there was a huge slice of luck involved. Niklas Sule's strike broke the deadlock in the 75th minute, his effort taking a substantial deflection to beat Jiri Pavlenka, with Milos Veljkovic having been dismissed for the visitor.

DORTMUND 2-4 SCHALKE, 27/4/19

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DORTMUND 2-4 SCHALKE   -  Getty Images

 

Successive wins after the Klassiker ensured Dortmund was still on Bayern's tail, but it imploded in stunning fashion at the hands of rival Schalke in the Revierderby. Dortmund led through Mario Gotze but the game turned when Daniel Caligiuri converted an 18th-minute penalty harshly awarded after a VAR check on Julian Weigl's handball.

Salif Sane converted Caligiuri's right-wing corner to put Schalke ahead and Dortmund was in disarray after Reus saw red for hacking down Suat Serdar - Caligiuri scoring the resulting free-kick. Marius Wolf was also sent off for a bad foul on Serdar and while Axel Witsel reduced the deficit for the nine men, Breel Embolo settled matters.

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WERDER BREMEN 2-2 DORTMUND, 4/5/19

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WERDER BREMEN 2-2 DORTMUND   -  Getty Images

Yes, Werder again. Dortmund could not afford any more mistakes and after Christian Pulisic and Alcacer struck in the first half, it seemed set to bounce back from its derby defeat. It was not to be, though, as Dortmund gave up yet another lead. Roman Burki's awful error allowed Kevin Mohwald to grab one back and it was veteran forward Claudio Pizarro who effectively handed old club Bayern the title with his leveller. He later revealed that he received many messages of thanks from Bayern players and fans.

BAYERN 5-1 EINTRACHT FRANKFURT, 18/5/2019

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BAYERN 5-1 EINTRACHT FRANKFURT   -  Getty Images

Die Roten went into the final game of the season just needing to match Dortmund's result, and it accomplished that emphatically. Although a fortuitous Sebastien Haller equaliser just after half-time made things interesting, Bayern blew its visitor away. Alaba and Renato Sanches put it in control, before Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben - playing their final league games for the club - fittingly wrapped up a big win and made absolutely sure of a seventh successive title.