Dortmund, Germany, May 26 (efe-epa).- A sublime goal by Joshua Kimmich shortly before the end of the first half gave league-leading Bayern Munich the only score they would need in a 1-0 road victory here Tuesday over second-place Borussia Dortmund.
The win at Signal Iduna Park, which was devoid of fans due to the coronavirus pandemic, was the Bavarian giants’ seventh straight in the Bundesliga and a crucial one in their quest for a record-extending eighth consecutive league crown.
Both squads showcased outstanding team defense in keeping the game scoreless for most of the first half, but Kimmich stunned Dortmund’s Roman Burki in the 43rd minute by softly chipping a shot from outside the penalty area that tipped off of the net minder’s outstretched arm before crossing the line.
Early in the half, Dortmund came out aggressively in their bid to cut Bayern’s Bundesliga lead down to one point.
Their first opportunity came on a pass from superstar Erling Haaland to Thorgan Hazard just seconds into the game, but Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer came off his line to break up the play.
The hosts, however, nearly scored once again on the continuation of that same play, when an on-target shot by Haaland traveled between Neuer’s legs. Jerome Boateng, however, was backing up the play and cleared the ball away at the goal line.
After weathering that initial storm, Bayern then gradually started seizing control of the action.
Serge Gnabry had an excellent chance to score off a pass from Kingsley Coman in the 19th minute, but Lukasz Piszczek cleared the shot off the line after it had gotten past Burki.
The visitors then had the slight edge over the next stretch of the game leading up to Kimmich’s wondrous strike, with Dortmund leveraging Haaland’s skill to penetrate into the final third but not producing any chances of note.
In the second half, Bayern clamped down defensively while also creating a handful of opportunities in attack.
One of those came on a blast off the foot of Leon Goretzka that Burki batted away in the 54th minute, although the best chance came on a shot by Polish star striker Robert Lewandowski that clanked off the woodwork in minute 83.
Afterward, Kimmich attributed his score to some pre-match scouting.
“We were told before the game that Burki often stands off his line. That was the best goal of my career – it was so important!” he was quoted as saying on Bayern’s Twitter account.
The loss was a devastating blow for Dortmund (57 points), who entered the match dreaming of cutting Bayern’s lead to one but instead find themselves seven points back with just six weeks remaining in the coronavirus-interrupted 2019-2020 Bundesliga season.
The Black and Yellows could even drop to third place on goal differential if Leipzig top Hertha Berlin on Wednesday.
In other Bundesliga action Tuesday, Borussia Monchengladbach stumbled to a scoreless draw against Werder Bremen yet still moved up to fourth in the standings due to Bayer Leverkusen’s 4-1 loss at home to sixth-place Wolfsburg.
In one other German-league game Tuesday, Freiburg played to an action-packed 3-3 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt.
0: Borussia Dortmund: Roman Burki; Lukasz Piszczek (Mario Gotze, m. 80), Mats Hummels, Manuel Akanji; Achraf Hakimi, Mahmoud Dahoud (Axel Witsel, m. 85), Thomas Delaney (Emre Can, m. 46), Raphael Guerreiro; Thorgan Hazard, Julian Brandt (Jadon Sancho, m. 46); and Erling Haaland (Giovanni Reyna, m. 72).
1: Bayern Munich: Manuel Neuer; Benjamin Pavard, Jerome Boateng (Lucas Hernandez, m. 85), David Alaba, Alphonso Davies; Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka; Kingsley Coman (Ivan Perisic, m. 73), Thomas Muller, Serge Gnabry (Javi Martinez, m. 87); and Robert Lewandowski.