Bayern refuse to concede title race to Dortmund
Despite his side lagging seven points behind leaders Dortmund, Bayern Munich director of sport Christian Nerlinger is not writing off the German league title, but admits the race is out of their hands.sports Updated: Mar 04, 2012 08:37 IST
Despite his side lagging seven points behind leaders Dortmund, Bayern Munich director of sport Christian Nerlinger is not writing off the German league title, but admits the race is out of their hands.
Bayern suffered a 2-0 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, their sixth reversal of the season, as Dortmund claimed their eight straight win to set a new club record.
Goals by Bayer's ex-Germany striker Stefan Kiessling and midfielder midfielder Karim Bellarabi in Leverkusen caught the Bayern defence cold on the counter-attack.
It also gave Leverkusen a confidence boost ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash with Barcelona.
Munich face a make-or-break few weeks and must overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg of their last-16 tie against FC Basel on March 13 in the Champions League at home before a German Cup semi-final at Gladbach on March 21.
The Bavarians are bidding to avoid a repeat of last season, when they finished in the rare position of having won no silverware.
Worringly for Nerlinger, there is clear evidence of disharmony in the team as defender Jerome Boateng and midfielder Thomas Mueller engaged in a second-half shouting match on the pitch.
"We won't be talking about winning the league," said Nerlinger, after his side were punished for failing to convert a string of first-half chances.
"I'm not writing off the title, but it's not something which need concern us now. Somehow, we have to get a grip on our weakness away from home.
"We're deeply disappointed. In the first half, we made enough chances for three games.
"We have to take one of those chances, it would have completely changed the course of the match.
"We were too impatient in the second half, we lost our shape and gave Leverkusen space to counter attack - which they did twice."
In contrast, Dortmnd are flying high as Japan winger Shinji Kagawa scored the late winner in their 2-1 victory over Mainz.
Kagawa's 77th-minute strike capped a fine display after he had also set up Dortmund's first goal for Poland captain Jakub Blaszczykowski on 26 minutes.
"After a brief period when we didn't play so well, we are now as good as we were last year," insisted Dortmund defender Mats Hummels.
Mainz striker Mohamed Zidan, who only left Dortmund in January, scored in his fifth consecutive game for his new club when he found the net from a tight angle on 74 minutes to beat Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller.
"When they play like this, they are almost impossible to stop," said Zidan, who admitted only celebrating quietly against his former club out of respect.
Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp was refusing to get carried away by the seven-point lead with two months of the season still to play.
"I haven't really thought about what the seven points mean, so I could only babble some rubbish about it," he said.
"What impressed me was that we reacted quickly after they equalised, even if we hadn't taken the chances we had already created earlier."