Leaders Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund to go seven points clear

Leaders Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund to go seven points clear
Leaders Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund to go seven points clear

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - MATCH INFO

Borussia Dortmund 0

Bayern Munich 1 (Kimmich 43')

Man of the match: Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

For Bayern Munich, it is a magnificent seven that will surely set up a great eighth. The title race is not over but victory in Der Klassiker took Bayern seven points clear. An eighth successive Bundesliga is surely theirs and not merely because a team who have only dropped two points in 14 matches surely will not let this slip.

For them and the neutrals alike, the biggest game in world football for two months did not disappoint. Bayern prevailed courtesy of a goal worthy of deciding it, a chip of audacity and quality from Joshua Kimmich. Borussia Dortmund have been in rare form themselves but they met their match in their bogey team.

Borussia’s improving side are easily young enough and, as the first half showed, eminently good enough to challenge again but it is hard to overhaul Bayern if they don’t beat them and, for the sixth time in seven Bundesliga meetings, the Bavarians came out on top. Dortmund’s disappointment was symbolised by the sight of Erling Braut Haaland hobbling off. This was not the prolific prodigy’s day.

Dortmund ought to have had a penalty but failed to sustain their initial pressure as Hansi Flick’s side had more knowhow. They weathered the early storm and grew in strength as the game progressed. Even as Dortmund kept Robert Lewandowski, scorer 12 in his previous six games against his old club, relatively quiet in a reunion – he still struck the post but could not get a 42nd goal of the season - Bayern found another match-winner.

Kimmich has long been seen as a suitable successor to Philipp Lahm, with his talents equipping him to play multiple positions. He has spent much of his career as a full-back, but produced a lob worthy of a flair player. He can disguise his artistry but it could be a season-defining goal.

While Bayern had walloped Dortmund 4-0 in November, this was altogether closer and revenge soon seemed on the agenda. Lucien Favre had named an unchanged team, again starting with Jadon Sancho on the bench, and continuity may have facilitated a high-speed start as Dortmund found space behind the Bayern defence.

Haaland had failed to register a shot on target at Wolfsburg on Saturday. He remedied that within 30 seconds with Jerome Boateng coolly clearing off the line after Manuel Neuer had come off his line to intercept Julian Brandt’s pass. Haaland nutmegged the goalkeeper with his resulting shot but not the retreating centre-back.

Bayern had a second reprieve when Thorgan Hazard had a goal disallowed after he headed in the offside Achraf Hakimi’s cross. With Julian Brandt probing intelligently, Hazard and Hakimi combining well and Haaland leading the line in muscular manner, Dortmund oozed menace

Dortmund’s problem was that they could not convert their first-half excellence into an advantage. Instead, they trailed and could have gone behind earlier as they traded goal-line clearances. Lukasz Piszczek’s was the more impressive, backheeled away to deny Serge Gnabry, who had emerged unchecked to meet Kingsley Coman’s low cross. The veteran Piszczek belied his years, making other invaluable interceptions with superbly-timed challenges on Lewandowski and Thomas Muller.

Even Dortmund’s valiant captain could do nothing about an extraordinary, exceptional goal. After Haaland gave the ball away, it fell to Kimmich 20 yards out and, while Roman Burki was only a few yards off his line, he chose to chip the goalkeeper. The execution was wonderful. Burki perhaps should have saved it but only succeeded in tipping it into the top corner.

Given the stakes, it was unsurprising Favre took drastic action at the break, bringing on Sancho and Emre Can, with Brandt among those sacrificed. Sancho’s pace did provide a threat and Neuer did well to parry Mahmoud Dahoud’s well-struck drive. Before Haaland departed, his shot was deflected wide by the arm of the grounded Boateng; there was no VAR intervention and no spot kick.

It was the only luck Bayern needed after the break as they exuded authority. Burki had to claw away Muller’s low shot, Alphonso Davies raided forward from left-back at will. Bayern could have picked Dortmund off on the counter-attack but they did enough damage to their rivals. As usual, they should be champions.

Updated: May 26, 2020 10:32 PM

MATCH INFO

Borussia Dortmund 0

Bayern Munich 1 (Kimmich 43')

Man of the match: Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

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