Breaking: Haaland fails to score as Bayern pip Dortmund, near 8th straight Bundesliga title

In Bundesliga, Bayern took a decisive step towards an eighth straight German title, as victory at the home of their closest rivals left them seven points clear with six games to play.

But this was the evening when we realised that behind-closed-doors football can still possess high quality, intensity and tempo.

After two rounds of largely uninspiring ‘ghost games’ since the Germans led football out of its coronavirus lockdown, this was a proper heavyweight clash between two of Europe’s finest.

And it certainly gave us hope that the Premier League’s restart might not be as sterile as we’d feared in the absence of supporters.

Josh Kimmich’s gorgeous 43rd-minute lob embarrassed Dortmund keeper Roman Burki to clinch the points, while the extreme pace of Bayern’s Canadian full-back Alphonso Davies also lit up the contest.

And while it was played out in front of an empty ‘Yellow Wall’ at Dortmund’s deserted 80,000-capacity Westfalenstadion, the most important match to be played in Europe since March turned out to be a proper game of big boys’ football.

It was Dortmund, though, who were rapid out of the traps – within 30 seconds a Julian Brandt through-ball forced Manuel Neuer off his line and Jerome Boateng needed to make a goal-line clearance from Erling Haaland.

The hosts dominated early on but then Kingsley Coman made space for Serge Gnabry to beat keeper Roman Burki, only for Lukasz Piszczek to back-heel off the line.

Coman, who’d forced Mats Hummels to commit a yellow-card offence, had a shot pushed out by Burki.

But Haaland, with a clear sight of goal, was denied by the lightning-fast Davies appearing from nowhere to make a crucial tackle.

For all Dortmund’s pressure there was a sense that the champions were finding their stride – and two minutes before half-time the breakthrough arrived.

Bayern’s passing was slick and Kimmich’s imagination was vivid, as he spotted Burki off his line and lobbed the Dortmund keeper, who could only help his effort into the net.

England’s Jadon Sancho arrived as a half-time sub, along with Emre Can, but it was Bayern who restarted stronger – Leon Goretzka’s shot pushed away at full-stretch by Burki.

Haaland, not at his sharpest, had a shot deflected wide by the arm of the floored Boateng – a good penalty shout, yet VAR did not intervene.

After Haaland was forced to limp off, Dahoud’s thumping effort demanded a decent save from Neuer – but Robert Lewandowski crashed a shot against the post late on as Bayern continued to look the more potent.

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