Hosts Dortmund hold Bayern to put heat on German leaders

Polish national team-mates, Dortmund defender Lukasz Piszczek (left) and Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski, arguing with a decision in their 0-0 Bundesliga draw, which kept the Bavarians five points ahead.
Polish national team-mates, Dortmund defender Lukasz Piszczek (left) and Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski, arguing with a decision in their 0-0 Bundesliga draw, which kept the Bavarians five points ahead.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BERLIN • With his Bayern Munich team chasing a historic fourth straight Bundesliga title, Pep Guardiola is feeling the pressure from nearest rivals Borussia Dortmund in the wake of Saturday's goal-less draw.

Although Bayern (63 points) remain five points clear of Dortmund, Guardiola's team have taken just a point from their last two games after Wednesday's shock 2-1 defeat at home by Mainz. Despite the still healthy lead, he clearly sees Dortmund as a threat to his plans.

He wants to sign off on his three years with Bayern by seeing the club become the first to win four straight German league titles.

"For us, every game is a final now, we want to win (the title). So it goes on," said the Spaniard, who will be Manchester City's manager next season. "The second half was good, we had enough goal chances to win the game, but Dortmund are a strong team. They are the second- best team of all time in Germany."

The result in front of 81,359 fans at Signal Park Arena offers the hosts hope.

"We must stay hungry and impassioned. We shouldn't be disappointed with today's 0-0," Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel said.

"We played a very, very good first half, and an especially outstanding 30 minutes at the start.

"It is very difficult to endure a period of sustained pressure from Bayern. It was important to remain disciplined in defence today."

The game's best chance came on 64 minutes, when midfielder Arturo Vidal's shot was palmed onto the bar by a reflex save from Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Buerki.

Buerki also came up with a huge save in the first half, when Douglas Costa raced clear with only the Swiss to beat. But Buerki stood his ground to deny the Brazil winger.

Bayern captain Philipp Lahm said he was pleased to be leaving Dortmund with a point, having said a week ago that he hoped to depart the Ruhr with an 11-point lead.

"It could have been 2-2 at the end of the first half. I think we had the better of the chances overall, but the draw is fair," he said. "We are five points clear with nine games left, so there is still a long way to go and everything is in our hands."

Bayern striker Thomas Mueller echoed Guardiola's sentiments that each league game is now a "mini" final for the Bavarians.

"It remains exciting and we're under pressure now for every Bundesliga game, which is how we must go into each league match," he said. "The rest of our Bundesliga matches will be like mini finals now."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2016, with the headline 'Hosts Dortmund hold Bayern to put heat on German leaders'. Print Edition | Subscribe