"It was breathtaking excitement," said Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp after his side edged closer to retaining their German crown with a 1-0 home win against FC Bayern München on Wednesday night. "The closing stages were incredible."
Sure enough, the game that may have decided the Bundesliga title ended in high drama. Striker Robert Lewandowski back-heeled Dortmund ahead after 77 minutes but their work seemed to have been undone when goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller fouled Arjen Robben in the box four minutes from time. The Dutchman, however, produced a weak spot kick which Weidenfeller saved comfortably.
Then, in added time, Dortmund defender Neven Subotić headed against his own bar, with Robben skying the rebound from close range. Seconds later Lewandowski, who had hit the post with a first-half header, rattled the woodwork again. Robben found his misses harder to forget, though. "
This is extremely disappointing as I had scored the last 10 or 11 penalties," the winger said. "Now they are almost champions."
Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes was quick to spring to Robben's defence. "We cannot start blaming individuals – sometimes in football you miss a penalty or a big opportunity to score," he said, adding: "Now Dortmund have every chance of winning the title. It is a pity. If it had been 1-1, we would have had more of a chance, but nevertheless we will keep fighting until matchday 34."
Dortmund are now six points clear of second-placed Bayern at the top of the table with four games to play, yet with a Ruhr derby at FC Schalke 04 looming on Saturday, Klopp is not cracking open the champagne just yet. "Unfortunately, a lot can still happen," he said. "
Now we have three days to celebrate and enjoy this win, but our friends in Gelsenkirchen will do everything to make things more difficult for us."
With a crowd of more than 80,000 having witnessed one of his finest moments, penalty-saver Wiedenfeller had reason to be cheerful. "It was a nice feeling as I am not an absolute penalty killer, but I save the important ones and that is what matters," he said. "We played a really good game. We know how strong Bayern are, which is why we can be really happy."
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