Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund to go seven points clear

Mahmoud Dahoud (L) of Borussia Dortmund is challenged by Joshua Kimmich (R) of Bayern Muenchen during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Muenchen at Signal Iduna Park on May 26, 2020 in Dortmund, Germany.

Just as quick as the Bundesliga title race revved back into action two weeks ago, the Bayern Munich domestic juggernaut have strode clear once again. 

In the unusual but now normalised empty surroundings of the Westfalenstadion, the reigning champions took a seven-point march on Borussia Dortmund, with six matches remaining, after a high-quality Der Klassiker contest.

In the end, it took something special to separate the sides. Amid the intense pace in which the game was played at for its entirety, a moment of calmness and confidence personified by Joshua Kimmich, on the stroke of half-time, was the difference.

His imputent chip into the far corner, past a despairing Roman Burki dive, has sent Bayern firmly on their way to an eighth consecutive Bundesliga title.     

Dortmund had their moments. Erling Haaland had countless chances before he was substituted with an injury in the second-half, while Neuer had to be on red-alert as the hosts chased a season-saving equaliser.

But as has been the case in recent years, Bayern's mentality of champions was the difference, even in a game that, for the most experienced of pros, must have been surreal as they entered Signal Iduna Park amid a sunny silence.

And yet just 20 seconds in, the hosts were close to a dream start in a frantically ferocious start.

After Manuel Neuer - in his classic sweeper-keeper mantra - strode out to intercept a defence-splitting pass, Haaland latched on to the loose ball but his weak shot was cleared off the line comfortably by Jerome Boateng, whose experience showed to be there in the first place.  

That immediately set the tone, with both sides forming piercing attacks throughout the first-half. Bayern themselves had a shot saved off the line, as Dortmund skipper Lukasz Piszczek nonchalantly cleared from Serge Gnabry, while Haaland had two more half-openings. 
First, a left-foot shot screwed wide, before a more promising opportunity was snuffed out by the sheer pace of the covering defender, fellow 19-year-old Alphonso Davies, who was excellent throughout. 

Yet as the half wore on, Bayern's dominance slowly but surely came to pass. Dortmund looked to tire in the sunset, and as the opening period entered its final minutes, BVB were camped on the edge of their own box. That wave of pressure is what led to Kimmich's moment of magic. 

With the ball breaking to the German outside the box, no immediate threat to goal seemed likely. But a beautiful caress of the right-foot sailed the ball over Burki, who got the faintest of touches as the ball rippled into the far corner. A brilliant breakthrough - only Kimmich's third Bundesliga goal of the season - though in a match of such high quality, the Swiss goalkeeper backtracking should have tipped it wide having made his ground.

Dortmund boss Lucien Favre had to act at the break, and did so boldly. A double switch: Jadon Sancho and Emre Can on for chief playmaker Julian Brandt and Thomas Delaney. 

And though Bayern started proceedings brightly again, Dortmund came the closest, with Haaland's goalbound shot deflected just wide by Boateng's upper-arm. Bayern fans would say shoulder, Dortmund supporters would say arm. Yet fascinatingly, the most surprising aspect was that the game quickly went on uninterrupted, with no delay for any referral to the Video Assistant Referee. 

Not long after, Haaland hobbled off yet if anything, the introduction of Giovanni Reyna and then Mario Gotze, formerly of Bayern of course, burst the Dortmund attack into life. With 10 minutes left on the clock, Manuel Neuer saved superbly from a fierce effort by Mahmoud Dahoud.

The closing stages, with the title on the line, was frenetic. Robert Lewandowski hit the post, and possibly should have had a penalty in stoppage-time but regardless, Bayern played out the closing minutes in the knowledge that they would not be denied. Once again, Bayern had the edge. As they have done in every year since Jurgen Klopp's 2012 winners. An eighth straight title looms large for the Bavarians. 

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