Victory at Borussia Dortmund delights injury-hit Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich ground out a 1-0 win at Borussia Dortmund on Saturday to delight coach Pep Guardiola and underline their status as runaway German league leaders.sports Updated: Apr 05, 2015 14:27 IST
Bayern Munich ground out a 1-0 win at Borussia Dortmund on Saturday to delight coach Pep Guardiola and underline their status as runaway German league leaders.
Poland striker Robert Lewandowski returned to haunt his former club and his first-half header at Dortmund's Westfalenstadion gave Bayern their 21st league win of the season to stay on course for a third league title.
Despite missing injured stars David Alaba, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben and restricted to 50% possession, Bayern took the few chances that came their way to stay ten points clear at the top of the Bundesliga table.
In recent years, the tie has been dubbed Germany's 'Der Klassiker', but the defeat leaves last season's runners-up Dortmund tenth and now 15 points from a Champions League place after poor results this season.
"It was tight up until the very end," said Bayern captain Philipp Lahm.
"We defended well but we didn't do well with less possession than we are used to. It was a hard-fought win."
Guardiola pulled a surprise before kick-off by naming a three-man defence with Lewandowski up front and World Cup-winner Mario Goetze on the bench.
But the Spaniard singled out Brazil defender Dante for praise and was delighted with his side's victory after suffering a shock home defeat to third-placed Borussia Moenchengdladbach last time out.
"This game carries a lot of worth for me," said Guardiola, whose side is 34 points ahead of Dortmund in the table.
"Every match is unbelievably difficult and we have to really push ourselves.
"We held up well against a very good team and I want to dedicate the win to Dante.
"I'd like to have a thousand Dantes in the team."
Dortmund captain Mats Hummels insisted Bayern "were not the better team", but the defending champions took their chances and restricted Borussia to two clear Marco Reus second-half chances.
Hummels took responsibility for Bayern's goal as Lewandowski was left unmarked to head home on 36 minutes.
"I have no problem taking the blame for conceding the goal, but it wouldn't have stoped them scoring," said the 26-year-old, who has been linked to a move to Manchester United.
This was Dortmund's first league defeat since the start of February, but they remain 34 points behind Bayern and are six points off a Europa league place for next season.
"The second half was OK but the finishing and the decisiveness was missing," said Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp.
"We said at the break that we had to be more physical.
"Bayern hardly ever play as many long balls against other teams as they do against us."
"We didn't do that much wrong, but it wasn't enough in the end.
"Bayern's defensive set-up was sensible and it worked."