BERLIN (AFP) – Robert Lewandowski netted in Bayern Munich’s 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, but then backed his ex-club to bounce back from their worst start to a Bundesliga season.
Lewandowski’s 72nd-minute strike at Munich’s Allianz Arena cancelled out Marco Reus’ first-half header for Dortmund before Arjen Robben converted a late penalty for league leaders Bayern.
Bayern preserved their unbeaten record to stay four points clear at the top while Dortmund are now 16th and amongst the relegation places after five straight league defeats.
With seven points from their first ten games, last season’s runners-up are enduring the worst start in the club’s history, but Lewandowski said they can turn it around.
“We have maintained our lead in the table and it was an important day for me,” said the Poland striker who left Dortmund at the end of last season.
“Even if Dortmund is in a difficult situation now, Borussia will eventually end up again in the Champions League.”
Franck Ribery made the difference for Bayern as the French winger came off the bench and used his pace against Dortmund defender Neven Subotic.
“It’s very annoying that we lost because of two mistakes from me,” fumed Subotic, who replaced captain Mats Hummels at the break.
Ribery played a part in the attack which led to Lewandowski’s goal by out-sprinting Subotic and the Serbia international then fouled Ribery for the penalty which Robben converted.
“Franck really helped us after he came on,” said Bayern coach Pep Guardiola.
“I wanted him to run at Subotic and show his strength in one-on-ones. We also found solutions to a few problems in the first-half, which Xabi Alonso covered.
“I think we will always find solutions in such situations. We’ve very, very happy with the result.”
Despite their dreadful league form, Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund have three straight wins in the Champions League and another win over Galatasaray on Tuesday will put them in the knock-out phase.
But Borussia’s lack of domestic self-confidence is a real concern for Klopp, whose side face high-flying Borussia Moenchengladbach in their next league match.
“It’s tough, because we invested a lot, played the best first-half for a long time, and still we have nothing to show for it,” said an emotional Klopp.
“We have to swallow it, even if the pressure was ultimately too great and the defeat wasn’t undeserved.”