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Review: Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich

Before this season, Bayern Munich had only failed to lift the Bundesliga twice when leading at the half way stage. That will, bar an amazing collapse from Borussia Dortmund, be extended to three after Wednesday night’s decisive result at Signal Iduna Park.

Whilst Bayern may outweigh Dortmund with Bundesliga titles, Jupp Heynckes’ side do not have the same fearlessness which Jürgen Klopp’s team possesses. That said die Schwarzgelben were fortunate at times on Wednesday night but as the saying goes, fortune favours the brave.

Dortmund were most certainly brave in a rather schizophrenic first half. Their eagerness gave Bayern a free-kick inside the first minute but Mario Gomez’s header lacked the necessary purchase to beat Roman Weidenfeller. Jakub Blaszczykowski then poked wide for Borussia before Manuel Neuer produced a terrific double save to deny Kevin Grosskreutz and Robert Lewandowski.

This completed a frenetic opening eight minutes but as brains engaged on both sides, a slightly more conservative approach was pursued. Only slightly though. Bayern Munich, looked dangerous coming forward but lacked a decisive final ball. Dortmund meanwhile continued to create.

This time, it was two of their Polish trio who combined to nearly produce the opening goal. Blaszczykowski’s sweeping cross from deep on the right was met by Lewandowski. Manuel Neuer watched the ball clip the inside of the post before Bayern cleared. Neuer smiled. It was a look he continued to wear even when showered with bananas by the Südtribune as prior to a second half where Bayern returned the stronger.
Franck Ribery drove narrowly wide on the hour mark but Jupp Heynckes and Jürgen Klopp decided to make changes. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Ivicia Olic came on for the ineffective duo of Müller and Gomez. For Dortmund, Perisic and Leitner replaced the subdued pair of Kagawa and Gündogan as the two coaches showed little inhibition about replacing players who have been in fine form of late.

There was little change until, with fourteen minutes to play, a drive down the left by Perisic forced a corner for BVB. Leitner took it short to Marcel Schmelzer. His cross was cleared to Kevin Grosskreutz who struck a low volley. Robert Lewandowski was alert enough to divert the ball into the corner and with a flick of the Pole’s heel, Dortmund led. Arjen Robben claimed for offside but he was playing Lewandowski onside, even when he appealed.

Cue overload from Bayern and Robben, desperately seeking redemption. The Dutchman earned himself the chance five minutes from time when Knut Kircher adjudged ‘keeper Roman Weidenfeller to have brought the winger down. Penalty to Bayern and it would bring redemption, for Weidenfeller that is.

Robben’s low effort to the right was clutched by the joyful Dortmund captain. Yet did Robben realise he would have another chance to snatch a point, another chance he would amazingly spurn just two minutes later. As Neven Subotic headed onto his own crossbar, the ball fell to the Dutchman three yards from goal. He could only screw it over the top as Jupp Heynckes looked on in disbelief.

As the Bundesliga’s top scorers couldn't find the net, Lewandowski nearly did for a second time as he clipped the underside of the bar in injury time. His earlier effort proved decisive though as Dortmund were able to celebrate a momentous and ultimately deserved victory.

The number three might haunt Bayern Munich. Three moments to forget from Arjen Robben, three points further away from Dortmund, hopes for a treble all but diminished and for only the third time in their history, Bayern Munich will have been leaders at half way and not gone on to win the title. That will hurt the Bavarians.

Borussia Dortmund now need seven points from their remaining four games to clinch back-to-back titles for the first time since 1996. Jürgen Klopp’s side are now 24 games unbeaten in the Bundesliga – they’re Champions for a reason, you know.

By Archie Rhind-Tutt. For more on the Bundesliga on Twitter, follow @archiert1

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