Bayern Munich delivered a crushing blow to Borussia Dortmund and took firm control of the Bundesliga title race with a 1-0 win over their nearest rivals in Germany’s top flight on Tuesday night.
Hansi Flick’s men opened up a seven-point gap over Dortmund at the top of the standings thanks to a wonderful strike from Joshua Kimmich.
Lucien Favre’s side put up a spirited fight against the seven-time defending champions but were undone by a magical goal from the unlikely source of defender Kimmich’s boot.
From all of 20 yards out, the Germany international found time and space to clip a deft lob over the head of goalkeeper Roman Burki, with the ball nestling in the net and the Dortmund heads going down just two minutes before the break.
That moment of genius was really all that separated the sides at the interval, as Dortmund more than held their own, and came out for the second 45 fully revitalised by coach Favre’s team talk, and immediately went in search of a crucial leveller. Erling Haaland was twice let down by his first touch when he could have been clean through on goal before the young Norwegian scoring sensation was off target with an effort when he should have done better from the edge of the area.
Having seen off those waves of Dortmund attack, Bayern began to reassert themselves once more, with Alphonso Davies and Leon Goretzka both testing Burki between the Dortmund sticks.
It was end-to-end stuff as Dortmund kept fighting and Mahmoud Dahoud stung the palms of Manuel Neuer in the Bayern goal with an effort from distance. Then with little over six minutes remaining, Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski should have killed the game off with his rasping, left-footed drive from 20 yards, but the unfortunate Pole’s effort came back off the post.
Still, the one goal from Kimmich was enough for ‘Der Klassiker’ victory and once again it looks like Dortmund’s season-long push will come up short.
With a seven-point gap and only six games apiece remaining, Bayern can start planning their eight-in-a-row Bundesliga party — with the appropriate social-distancing protocols in place, of course.
Meanwhile, RB Leipzig’s Champions League hopes took a hit with the news that striker Yussuf Poulsen could be out for the rest of the season after the Bundesliga club confirmed he had damaged ligaments in his right ankle.
Leipzig said an MRI scan showed the Denmark international “suffered ligament damage to his right ankle in the win at Mainz and will be out for the foreseeable future”.
Leipzig, Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Moenchengladbach are locked in a three-way tussle for the two remaining sports behind Bayern and Dortmund for Champions League football next season.