Bayern Munich took a huge step toward an unprecedented fourth successive Bundesliga title with a hard-fought scoreless draw at closest rival Borussia Dortmund on Saturday. It was the first 0-0 draw in 26 competitive meetings between the rivals.
Bayern midfielder Arturo Vidal came closest to scoring for either side in the 65th minute when Dortmund ‘keeper Roman Buerki produced a fine reflex save to deflect his shot onto the crossbar.
The result leaves Bayern with a five-point gap at the top of the table with nine games remaining. If Dortmund do finish second, will manager Thomas Tuchel look back and wonder if he should have been more aggressive in this match? He used three centre-backs Sven Bender, Mats Hummels and Łukasz Piszczek plus two wingbacks and while the formation kept Bayern at bay for long period of the match, it limited his sides attacking options.
But Tuchel seemed happy with his conservative approach saying:
“I want us to pick up as many points as we possibly can. Next we face Tottenham, then Mainz. Even if we had beaten Munich today, we would still be behind them in the table, albeit by only two points, and we still have an inferior goal difference,” the Dortmund coach said.
“We must stay hungry and impassioned. We shouldn’t be disappointed with today’s 0-0.
“We played a very, very good first half, and an especially outstanding 30 minutes at the start. I enjoyed instructing the team from the side.
“A goal to take the lead would have helped us a lot, of course. I am very satisfied with the team’s performance today
Thomas Mueller missed the first big chance in the fifth minute when he fired high and wide after Buerki failed to deal properly with Costa’s cross. Neuer denied Aubameyang on a quick break at the other end minutes later and the tone was set for the game, with both sides’ high tempo creating chances at either end.
Vidal had another good chance before Erik Durm hit the side-netting with Dortmund’s next opportunity.
The outstanding Joshua Kimmich, filling in for Bayern’s defense, made a brilliant last-ditch tackle to deny Marco Reus before Buerki thwarted Costa.
Bayern grew stronger as the game progressed but Buerki shut the door with his reflex save.