In a thrilling and dramatic final ten minutes, Bayern mounted a furious onslaught on the Dortmund goal on Wednesday night, but aside from Neven Subotic’s header against his own crossbar in stoppage time, the men in red could not fashion a clear enough chance to level the scores. At the end of the day, a deserved draw was not to be.
“We simply have to accept that the fates were definitely not on Bayern Munich's side this evening," chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge summarised following the unlucky 1–0 defeat in front of a raucous 80,720 full house at Signal Iduna Park, in which BVB striker Robert Lewandowski back-heeled the only goal of the game after 77 minutes. “At the end of the day, we lacked the little bit of luck you need," coach Jupp Heynckes reflected.
The Bundesliga showdown began at a cracking pace. Within the first minute, Mario Gomez had the first chance of the game, but the home team dominated the rest of the first half and never let Bayern settle. “They applied enormous pressure and created a number of chances, which Manuel Neuer saved," Heynckes said. Munich were also fortunate when Lewandowski's 37th minute header came back off the post.
The roles were reversed after half-time, as Bayern battened down the hatches in defence and showed far greater determination in attack. “It was advantage Dortmund in the first half, and advantage us in the second," commented Rummenigge. Club captain Philipp Lahm ruefully reflected on three situations with the score still goalless “when the final ball didn't arrive. Otherwise we'd have had only the keeper to beat. Little things like that can settle a match."
Just as Bayern seemed certain to capitalise on their ascendancy, Lewandowski struck at the other end. “It's a shame we conceded such an odd goal," said Heynckes. Neuer reckoned the opener came “at just the wrong time. We were caught on the back foot and it was a real blow." However, the visitors roused themselves and pounded the home goal right to the end, but the deserved equaliser simply refused to arrive.
The unluckiest man of all was Arjen Robben, who won a penalty with six minutes remaining, but then saw his spot-kick saved by BVB keeper Roman Weidenfeller. Anguish was written all over Robben's features, as he surveyed the scene in disbelief. His previous ten penalties had all gone in. Despite his deep disappointment, the Dutch international bravely faced the press afterwards. “It has to go in. I'm so sorry for the team and our fans," he said.
Bitter and painful defeat
Dortmund rode their luck and walked off the field as winners. “It's a very bitter defeat," acknowledged Robben. Neuer confessed to “frustration", while Toni Kroos made no secret of his annoyance: “It hurts, because it was avoidable." With four games to go, Bayern are now six points behind leaders BVB. “You don't congratulate a rival until they're mathematically confirmed as champions, but I fear we can no longer prevent Borussia Dortmund winning the title," said Rummenigge.
However, the four matches in question still have to be played, “and for as long as we still have a theoretical chance, we'll focus on winning our remaining games," declared director of sport Christian Nerlinger. There is no option but to look to the future. “We have huge challenges still ahead of us," the official stated. Neuer called for renewed effort: “We mustn't lose the plot now, so our heads have to stay up," the keeper commented.
Mainz on Saturday
There is little time to lick wounds, as Mainz visit the Allianz Arena in the Bundesliga on Saturday. “We'll probably need two days to get over this, but after that, we'll go for it again in style," said Heynckes. Hopefully, the little bit of luck that was lacking on Wednesday evening will return to the FCB fold.