Borussia Dortmund 1-1 Bayern Munich: Lewandowski fails to penalise 10-man Bavarians

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.

Watzke: We want Lewandowski for one more year

The Borussia Dortmund chief executive is hopeful the striker will see out his contract at Signal Iduna Park, while stressing that no more players will be offered release clauses

Borussia Dortmund are eager for Robert Lewandowski to see out his contract at the club, according to chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke.

Lewandowski has long been courted by the likes of Bayern Munich and Manchester United after another impressive season with the Champions League finalists, but despite the risk of losing him on a free transfer, Watzke is keen to keep the Poland star until his current deal expires in 2014.

“Our desire is still that he will play for us at least one more year until his contract runs out [on June 30, 2014],” he told Suddeutsche Zeitung.

Dortmund have already lost star playmaker Mario Gotze to Bundesliga champions Bayern after they matched his €37 million release clause, and Watzke has made it clear they will not offer players the same such deal in contracts in future.

He added: “After winning two championships and going through to the Champions League finals, we have reached a status where we expect every player to unconditionally commit to the club.”

Shaqiri: Bayern want to become as dominant as Barcelona

The Switzerland star dreams of being considered the best in European for years and believes Pep Guardiola has big boots to fill when he takes Jupp Heynckes’ place

Xherdan Shaqiri has stressed that Bayern Munich will not rest on their laurels if they were to win the treble this term as they aim to become as dominant as Barcelona have been in the past few seasons.

The Bavarians were already crowned Bundesliga champions last month and take on Borussia Dortmund and Stuttgart in the Champions League and DFB Pokal finals respectively as they have set their sights on winning a historic treble.

“I believe that everybody at Bayern wants to win a lot of trophies,” Shaqiri was quoted as saying by Bild.

“Nobody will sit back and relax if we were to win the treble. I dream of becoming as dominant as Barcelona have been over the years – that should be Bayern’s goal.”

The Switzerland international then went on to discuss the arrival of Pep Guardiola this summer and he stressed that the Spaniard faces a tough task to outdo Jupp Heynckes.

“It would be hard for any coach to follow in the footsteps of Jupp Heynckes next season. It will be a hugely [daunting] inheritance,” he added.

“We did what we did against Barcelona thanks to Heynckes. We are having a sensational season that could become historic.”

Heynckes has been linked with a number of clubs in the past few months but he has hinted at retiring at the end of this season.

Muller swoons over 'super transfer' Gotze

The versatile attacker has hailed the signing of his Germany team-mate and believes the deal will prove to be good business for the Bavarians

Thomas Muller has voiced his delight with the signing of Mario Gotze from Borussia Dortmund and believes the capture of the attacking midfielder is further proof that Bayern Munich can compete with the big guns in Europe on the transfer market.

The Bavarians announced last month that they have agreed personal terms with the 20-year-old and will meet his €37 million buy-out clause to complete the deal.

“It’s a super transfer for Bayern. When you have the chance to sign a player like Gotze, you have to jump at it,” Muller told TZ.

“It came as quiet a surprise to me as I was not aware of his exit clause. I was very pleased with the transfer, though. I know Mario from the national team.

“This shows yet again that Bayern are a pretty attractive option. Mario has not made the move to Barcelona, Real Madrid or England, but has decided to join Bayern instead.

“We have earned a lot of sympathy and play some excellent football. That’s made Bayern a very interesting option.”

Gotze is currently recovering from injury and is doubtful for the Champions League final between Bayern and BVB on May 25, meaning he may not play another game for the 2011-12 Bundesliga winners.

Macho men: Guardiola must not take the beast out of Bayern

Axing Jupp Heynckes in the summer may prove to be a poor choice and a German philosopher – who was mocked for criticising the appointment – may have a valid point

By Akarsh Sharma

It is inherently enjoyable to witness or speculate on the rise of one empire at the expense of another, especially if it involves the demise of Barcelona whose dominance, albeit stuttering of late, had become too monotonous for many neutrals to enjoy.

Up stepped Bayern Munich to deliver the wishes of many across the world. Pundits, journalists, ex-players, supporters and the ever so prominent Twitterati were truly overawed by the Germans’ display in the Champions League semi-finals. The Bavarians’ 7-0 demolition of the Catalans over two legs was not only an emphatic statement of superiority and intent but was also hard to ignore as a landmark moment.

Barcelona are accustomed to such momentous performances that upset the hierarchy – beating the Galacticos of Real Madrid at Camp Nou in 2004 announced their return as title contenders and repeating the same at the Bernabeu five years later cemented their position as the best in Europe.

Bayern may have signalled the beginning of something similar but the coaching discontinuity at the club could be a major hurdle to overcome. This summer, Jupp Heynckes gives way to Pep Guardiola – the same man who laid the foundations of the very team Bayern annihilated this week.

In the shadows | Guardiola will take over from Heynckes in the summer

The German philosopher and writer Wolfram Eilenberger recently argued that Guardiola was responsible for a feminisation of football. Pep’s approach to the game had removed ‘manly’ attributes such as “physique, aggression, ego and rank” in favour of more ‘feminine’ traits like “communication, collectiveness and creativity”. German tabloid Bild mocked him as a ‘philostupider’ for his remarks, but Eilenberger may have had a point.

The Bayern side of today is a different beast compared to the Barcelona of recent years.

It is a mean machine, an on-field barbarian, a congregation of top notch, high-profile individuals from front to back. It is a truly German outfit with balanced amounts of steel and swagger giving rise to an efficient and ruthless output. It’s a side that gets the job done, not with the use of underhand tactics, but with a combination of physicality, aggression and flair.

It is a team that Guardiola will enjoy taking over but also one he may have to tame, perhaps for the worse, before implementing his style.

History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. The Bavarians have been hardened through suffering excessive disappointment last season, when they finished runners-up in three major competitions.

Their versatility and tactical intelligence is what separates them from the rest and also what caught the eye against Barcelona.

Before the first leg, they were statistically closest to competing with the Catalans in manner and dominance; ranked second only to Barcelona in terms of both possession and pass-completion rate across Europe’s top leagues. The ‘Pep derby’, as some called it, was supposedly between one Barcelona and the ‘other’ Barcelona.

But one major difference between the mentalities of the two sides is that Bayern aren’t stuck up on a particular philosophy yet, which makes them even harder to beat. They can instantly transform themselves from a brilliant possession-hogging side into an exceptional counterattacking one, or even find the right balance in the middle.

In the build-up to the first leg, Xavi re-emphasised the importance of possession. That, he said, will be the key to winning the game. At Barcelona, possession is a matter of pride, of superiority.

Bayern, though, had other ideas. A mere 34 per cent possession spoke more about the Germans on the day than their opponents. They were happy to concede the ball; relying instead on high pressing, clever counterattacking and directness to exploit the opponent’s weakness on the wings and in the air. More importantly, not for a minute did Bayern look out of control and less than exhilarating.

Like they’ve done throughout the campaign, FCB have proven that they have the quality and the all-round personnel to implement different plans for different games with equally positive effect.

Arsenal were crushed by a professional and dominant display of counterattacking, while Juventus were dispatched by clever usage of possession – first, to increase the tempo in the home tie and later, to kill the pace of the match in the away leg.

Come next season, though, will they have a coach who likes to do the same?

This is not to question the undoubted brilliance of one of the best coaches in the world. But in Guardiola’s last season at Barcelona, there was a distinct stubbornness to move away from the usual plan and try a different approach to counter teams.

Take, for instance, the defeat in a do-or-die clash against Madrid at Camp Nou. Alexis Sanchez was introduced far too late as a forward to occupy the centre-backs and allow Messi more space, when it was clear not only in the entire game but in a series of matches prior that another forward was virtually a pre-requisite.

Bayern’s first two goals in the first leg were not from Guardiola’s book of goals, but aerial threat and the deployment of a proper centre-forward has been a key factor in Bayern’s dominance. Eilenberger, the German philosopher, had also argued that the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Samuel Eto’o, who were physically imposing and single-minded strikers, did not stand a chance under Guardiola. So, will a strong centre-forward be done away with again?

There are plenty of other factors – such as the lack of a La Masia style academy in Munich – that suggest Guardiola cannot abruptly change Bayern’s style of play. But with the signing of Mario Gotze and the rumoured departure of Arjen Robben, he does seem to be moulding the squad to suit his style.

For a man who preaches idealism, he will be inheriting a team that is dominating Europe with more than a touch of pragmatism. Some claimed that by taking on the Bayern challenge, Guardiola isn’t taking on a challenge at all.

And yet, this could be his greatest test – to inculcate artistry without compromising on the savagery and success of this potentially treble-winning German beast.