Bayern Munich took a huge step toward a Bundesliga four-peat on Saturday with a thrilling but goalless draw at Borussia Dortmund.
The result kept Bayern’s five-point lead on Dortmund intact after an electric contest that lived up to the hype, but ultimately did little to boost the home side’s hopes of pushing Bayern for the title.
Both sides offered up tantalizing, end-to-end football for most of the match. It was one of those nights Bundesliga fans long had yearned for. Coming in, Dortmund had the chance to cut the gap to two points and summon up a scintillating finish to the title race. The stakes were incredibly high, and the atmosphere at the Signal Iduna Park and intensity on the pitch matched that feeling throughout.
Bayern were up to the task, generating more chances in either half, but in the end could not deliver a knockout blow to Dortmund’s championship ambitions. Some outstanding defending from both sides and several key stops from Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki were the reasons why this phenomenal "Klassiker" did not yield a goal.
The superb Mats Hummels broke up countless attacks in the Dortmund end, while Bayern’s makeshift defense around David Alaba and Joshua Kimmich held up against the speedy Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Kimmich’s performance especially must be lauded. Pep Guardiola’s precocious emergency center back once again delivered a composed performance that belied his age and made sure Jerome Boateng’s absence proved inconsequential.
On the other end, Douglas Costa wasted the biggest chance of the match in the first half, getting denied by Burki on a 1-on-1 after Arjen Robben played him beautifully into space on a counterattack. In the second half, Burki made another pivotal stop, just getting a fingertip on Arturo Vidal’s side-footed volley from point-blank range to steer the Chilean’s effort off the crossbar.
Burki’s saves at least kept Dortmund’s minimal hopes of catching Bayern alive, but it is a huge ask of the rest of the league to take five points off of Bayern over the last nine games.