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'Spectacle' with no goals

'We can live with a 0-0 draw'

Before Saturday evening FC Bayern and Borussia Dortmund had clocked up 118 goals in the current campaign. Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have been involved in 147 goals this season, and all of them were out on the pitch. Yet goals were the scarcest commodity in the heavyweight clash. The Bundesliga encounter between second-placed Dortmund and table-toppers Bayern ended goalless. But it was a scoreless draw of the best possible kind.

“There's a crazy tempo and incredible speed in the match,” a delighted Germany head coach Joachim Löw commented during the interval: “It's the best game I've seen this season.” Pep Guardiola spoke of “a good spectacle for Dortmund, for Bayern, for the crowd and for German football. The result is okay, the match was good.”

“It's a pity that we didn't score at least one goal,” said Lewandowski after 90 intense minutes, and he was not alone with his opinion. There were enough scoring opportunities, but Bayern did not manage to put one past Roman Bürki. The BVB netminder saved two gilt-edged chances in a stellar performance; 27 minutes into the contest he denied Costa who had broken through, and after the hour mark Bürki deflected Arturo Vidal's drive onto the crossbar with a world-class reaction. “We had enough chances to win the game,” declared Guardiola, admitting that Dortmund too had some opportunities, “but that's a matter of course, it's almost impossible to allow no counter-attacks here.”

'It continues to be exciting'

At the end of the day the Bavarians had 63 percent possession and took 17 shots on goal to Dortmund's 11. The home team proved their class especially in the first half and made it difficult for Pep Guardiola's troops with an unusual formation including a back five. “We had expected them to play differently,” admitted Philipp Lahm. Guardiola explained: “Unfortunately there's no time-out like in basketball. After 20, 25 minutes we knew what we had to do.”

FCB took over, controlled the game and penned Borussia back into their own half after the break. “Because of the second half we would have deserved to win it more than Dortmund. But a draw is absolutely okay,” declared Lahm. Müller summarised: “We can live with the 0-0 draw, but I would have liked to see our performance rewarded with a 1-0 victory.”

But the draw was enough for the Reds to consolidate their position at the top of the standings. They maintained their five-point edge over Dortmund, with nine matches still to come. “It continues to be exciting. Nothing's decided in the title race,” cautioned Müller. Matthias Sammer spoke of “a very good situation” – and swiftly went on to qualify his statement: “Provided we keep up this mode and approach every match as if it's a final.”