Dortmund – Borussia Dortmund denied ten-man FC Bayern Munich their 15th straight Bundesliga win since the turn of the year as Germany’s top two played out a gritty 1-1 draw at the Signal Iduna Park.
In a highly entertaining prequel to the sides' UEFA Champions League final meeting at Wembley Stadium in three weeks time, Dortmund’s Kevin Großkreutz opened the scoring with a stunning volley, with Mario Gomez levelling for Bayern shortly afterwards. The home side had the better chances to win it after the break, not least when Robert Lewandowski was denied by Manuel Neuer from the penalty spot. Bayern played out the final 25 minutes a man short, after full back Rafinha was sent off fo a second bookable offence.
In contrast to their guests, who retained just four players from the team that started the 3-0 thrashing of FC Barcelona in midweek, Dortmund made only four changes from their UEFA Champions League semi-final line-up in Madrid and it was they who looked the more sprightly team in the opening stages. After Xherdan Shaqiri had a shot blocked, the hosts went ahead with their very first attack, which ended with Großkreutz, forward from right-back, firing emphatically past Neuer.
The noise in the stadium went up a notch, but it didn’t take long for Bayern to get back on level terms, with Gomez ghosting across to head Rafinha’s pinpoint cross in off the post. It was a timely reminder of just how dangerous the Germany international remains, despite having played second fiddle to Mario Mandzukic for much of the season.
Ilkay Gündogan was withdrawn from the action early after pulling up suddenly, with Moritz Leitner taking his place. Borussia seemed to miss his steadying influence and it was Bayern who should have ended the first half in front. After David Alaba’s superb turn and sprint, his pass found Gomez, but the 27-year-old hesitated and his shot was deflected clear by Roman Weidenfeller in the BVB goal.
The second period got off to a rather scrappy start, but the drama racked up again just shy of the hour mark, when Dortmund were gifted an opportunity to retake the lead after Jerome Boateng’s handball. Lewandowski stepped up to the spot, but Neuer threw himself to the left to deny the normally clinical Polish frontman
Tempers then threatened to boil over as Rafinha was sent for an early bath for two needless bookings in quick succession. Jürgen Klopp sought to make the man advantage count through the introduction of Marco Reus, and the Germany international set up BVB's best chance of the remainder of the contest, Julian Schieber's touch letting him down when clean through against Neuer.
1-1 it remained, allowing Bayern to maintain their 20-point lead at the top of the standings. Both teams will now be focusing on their next meeting in just three weeks time, when they fight it out to become Champions of Europe in London’s Wembley stadium.
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