An early dress rehearsal for the Uefa Champions League final ended in deadlock for Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, as Robert Lewandowski’s missed penalty in the second half saw BVB miss the chance to beat their rivals on the way to a 1-1 draw. Mario Gomez had cancelled out Kevin Grosskreutz’s early goal in the first half, and despite having the chance to net from the spot and playing with an extra man for the last 25 minutes, Dortmund could find no way past the Bundesliga champions.
Meeting just days after downing Real Madrid and Barcelona to seal the first all-German Champions League final, both Dortmund and Bayern took the opportunity to rest several key starters as they looked ahead to May 25’s next meeting. This had no effect on the intensity of the match, however, as both teams demonstrated from the beginning that they were keen to hurt their rivals.
With just 10 minutes played of the first half, BVB took the lead in sublime fashion. Jakub Blaszczykowski surged down the left, and waited before floating in a cross to the far post. Kevin Grosskreutz was there to meet it, and the converted right-back showed his scoring abiity by netting a brilliant volley past Manuel Neuer to put the Bundesliga runners-up into the lead early on.
The home fans were delighted with the opener, and a capacity crowd cheered on their heroes as they sought a second. However, the mood soon turned to worry. Ilkay Gundogan’s burst into the box was cut short by a shove from Diego Contento, which failed to draw a penalty despite Dortmund protests. Worst, the midfielder took a knock during the play and was taken off, creating a potential Champions League headache for Jurgen Klopp.
A reserve Bayern side had struggled in the opening exchanges, but soon showed why they have romped to the title and European final in 2013. Rafinha’s cross into the danger zone caught BVB unawares, and Mario Gomez was the man to take advantage as he stole in between the defence to head perfectly home. Gomez later forced a wonderful save from Roman Weidenfeller who denied him a second with his foot, while at the other end Neuer had to fend off Robert Lewandowski one-on-one, to ensure the game would be tied at the break.
Having relinquished their previous lead, Dortmund were given the chance to restore superiority just before the hour mark. A stinging shot from outside the area blasted by … struck Jerome Boateng on the hand, and there was no hesitation from the official as he pointed to the penalty spot. Lewandowski stood up to take the kick, but saw his effort brilliantly saved by Neuer. Felipe Santana also went close, heading over from the resulting corner, but Bayern were pardoned and stayed in the match.
Die Roten were hanging on in a way they have rarely had to during 2012-13, and things only got harder when Rafinha saw red for a second booking. The full-back earned a yellow just minutes earlier for a brutal tackle, and an elbow on Grosskreutz left little doubt that he would be receiving his marching orders, leaving Bayern to negotiate the final 25 minutes a man down.
Dortmund looked to press home the numerical advantage by throwing Marco Reus into the action, but despite dominating the final exchanges they struggled to break down a determined Bavarian side who were committed to avoiding defeat. There were few clear chances in the rest of a bad-tempered fixture, and BVB eventually had to settle for a point that on reflection was most likely the fairest result.
The draw means that the Bundesliga’s top two maintain their positions, Bayern as already-crowned champions and BVB just one point shy of confirming their runner-up spot. The pair will meet again in the Champions League showpiece, in Wembley on May 25.