Dortmund, Germany, 27 May 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Bayern Munich moved to within touching distance of a record-extending eighth consecutive Bundesliga title on Tuesday as Joshua Kimmich’s superb goal secured a 1-0 win at rivals Borussia Dortmund.
Kimmich’s glorious chip from outside the box in the 43rd minute sent Bayern seven points clear of Dortmund with just six games remaining in the season delayed by the coronavirus epidemic.
Dortmund started brightly and Erling Braut Haaland had a shot cleared off the line in just 30 seconds. But Bayern stabilized and Kimmich’s winner came after Dortmund also survived a scare when Lukasz Piszczek blocked Serge Gnabry on the line.
Bayern coach Hansi Flick refused to be drawn on whether the title had been decided.
“We wanted to take a big step forwards today and we have done that,” he said. “I was very pleased with the performance of the team.”
Bayern had taken an outstanding 28 points from the last 30 available but despite their excellent form took control only midway through the first half.
Gnabry saw his shot cleared from the line and Leon Goretzka tested Roman Buerki before the Swiss keeper was undone just before half-time.
Bayern poked and prodded outside the box as Dortmund failed to clear before Kimmich’s moment of inspiration. Backtracking Buerki got a hand to the ball but couldn’t keep it out.
“We were told before the game that Buerki often stands off his line,” said Kimmich. “That was the best goal of my career – it was so important.”
Any fears the title six-pointer could be diluted by the closed door affair without fans had vanished immediately when Haaland pounced on Manuel Neuer’s poor clearance in the opening seconds.
The teenage sensation beat the recovering keeper, who was celebrating his 400th Bundesliga game, but not Boateng.
Dortmund had won nine of their last 10 to set up the crack at Bayern and were not holding back.
Julian Brandt stung the palms of Neuer and the Dortmund forwards frequently scampered beyond Bayern’s high back line without finding an opportunity.
Dortmund coach Lucien Favre tried to recover the momentum by throwing on Emre Can and Jadon Sancho for Thomas Delaney and Brandt at half-time.
The 19-year-old Haaland struggled to offer Dortmund an outlet, though he had a shot blocked by the arm of Boateng as he fell, and limped off with 19 minutes remaining. Buerki remained the busier keeper in the second period.
“I think that with that all the other teams are out [of contention],” said Dortmund defender Mats Hummels. “We have to hope for three slip ups [from Bayern] in six games.
And Favre admitted: “That’ll be brutally hard.”
League top scorer Robert Lewandowski, often the scourge of his former club, had a quiet game though he did strike the post late on. He remains on 27 goals and Gerd Mueller’s historic mark of 40 from 1971/72 looks increasingly out of reach.
Mario Goetze, who will leave Dortmund after the season, replaced Piszczek in Favre’s last throw of the dice but a clear chance was elusive.
“It was a really important statement and a really important win for us,” said Neuer.
It was far from a repeat of the 4-0 humbling Bayern dished out to Dortmund in November in Flick’s first Bundesliga game since replacing the sacked Niko Kovac. But it was enough and Bayern’s run of title dominance, since Dortmund’s last success in 2012, seems set to continue.
Third-place RB Leipzig could ahead of Dortmund on goal difference when they host Hertha Berlin as one of five games Wednesday.
They would seem to be the only other outside title challenger left as Bayer Leverkusen crashed to fifth on Tuesday in a tired performance which saw them hammered 4-1 at home by European hopefuls Wolfsburg.
Borussia Moenchengladbach went fourth on goal difference with a 0-0 draw at second bottom Werder Bremen but are 11 points off the pace.
Eintracht Frankfurt ended a run of five consecutive Bundesliga losses with a 3-3 draw at home to Freiburg. They are 14th but do hold a game in hand away to Bremen in early in June.