Moukoko and Musiala impress but veteran Modeste proves 'Kids' Klassiker' not just a young man's game

By Sports Desk October 08, 2022

For years Robert Lewandowski was the main draw of Der Klassiker, then Erling Haaland joined him as Germany's biggest fixture became stylised as a shootout between arguably the world's finest number nines.

Of course, both players departed in pre-season meaning the build-up to Saturday's instalment needed two new poster boys.

And boys they are.

Jamal Musiala's exceptional start to the season has seen his already significant stock rise, while Jude Bellingham has elevated himself to become undroppable for BVB and almost similarly important at international level.

As it happened, Bellingham ended up being upstaged by the even younger Youssoufa Moukoko as the game became something of a 'Kids' Klassiker' – though it was ultimately 34-year-old Anthony Modeste who stole the limelight at the end of an eventually gripping 2-2 draw at Signal Iduna Park.

Frankly, though, it was difficult to rave about almost anyone during a rather frantic and chaotic first half that was sorely lacking quality.

 

Players seemed to be frequently miscontrolling the ball, falling over or bumping into each other. Scrappy, frustrating and largely devoid of goal-mouth action, it certainly wasn't what many a neutral might be accustomed to when watching the Klassiker.

At the break, Dortmund had accumulated just 0.47 expected goals (xG), while Bayern's was 0.09. Though perhaps typifying their historical ruthlessness, it was enough to give Die Roten a 1-0 lead at the interval.

Julian Nagelsmann will have felt particularly content in that regard given Bayern were unbeaten in their previous 72 Bundesliga games when leading at the break, and he'll have no doubt enjoyed seeing Musiala at the centre of things having channelled Pep Guardiola when calling him a "top-top-top player" pre-game.

The young forward was one of Bayern's brighter players in the first period and he more than played a part as the visitors opened the scoring.

He peeled into the left side of the box to receive the ball before showing admirable poise and composure to cut inside and tee up Leon Goretzka on the edge of the box, with the midfielder drilling into the bottom-left corner.

That took Musiala to nine Bundesliga goal involvements for the season, a figure bettered only by Niclas Fullkrug (10).

Those hoping for effectively a straight battle between Musiala and his former England youth colleague Bellingham will have been disappointed.

After a harsh early booking – for what appeared a fair albeit strong challenge on Musiala – the Dortmund talent struggled to impose himself as a creative influence and could even be accused of trying a little too hard in the second half, as he attempted to beat his man a second time in the area instead of feeding a team-mate when BVB caught Bayern on the break.

A few seconds later, he needlessly passed the ball out of play just outside his own area as Bayern players began to circle, with the 19-year-old – who by this point was wearing the captain's armband – subsequently showing frustration in his reaction.

On the other side of the 'Kids' Klassiker' battle, a few moments earlier Musiala had enjoyed another moment of decisiveness – if we can call it that. He broke behind the Dortmund midfield and played a pass that was nudged on by a defender to Leroy Sane, whose long-range strike found its way in even though Alexander Meyer got a firm hand to it.

 

Despite Musiala's clear impact, Moukoko had a claim to being the Klassiker's standout youngster on the day. The 17-year-old's decision-making may not have been perfect, but he worked tirelessly up front, his constant harrying and hassling kept the Bayern backline under pressure – his three tackles was second only to Emre Can (five) in the Dortmund team.

He then got Dortmund back in contention with an excellent finish. Modeste's pass into the centre of the box was ever so slightly behind Moukoko, but he still managed to get enough power to strike past Manuel Neuer despite the needing to dig the ball out from himself a little.

Modeste then went from provider to finisher with the last kick (header) of the game, nodding Nico Schlotterbeck's cross in at the far post as Dortmund piled on the pressure in stoppage time, sparking pandemonium in the stands and on the pitch – Bellingham's scream into the close-up camera presumably causing a few viewers to subconsciously jump out of their seats.

To be fair, there were few bums on seats in the Yellow Wall behind the Bayern goal as Modeste tucked his header away, with the Frenchman's double impact proving that, even around all the potential in the world, there's always space for good old experience and nous.

 

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