Football

Joshua Kimmich hails ‘most beautiful goal’ as Bayern close in on title

Bayern close in on record-extending eighth straight title after his lob against Dortmund

Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich called his sumptuous winner in the 1-0 triumph at rivals Borussia Dortmund yesterday morning (Singapore time) his most beautiful goal and added it was also the most important of the season as it put them within reach of the Bundesliga title.

Kimmich sent a perfectly weighted chip over stranded goalkeeper Roman Buerki in the 43rd minute as the champions landed a big win at an empty Signal Iduna Park, which normally seats 80,000 fans, in their quest for a record-extending eighth straight league crown.

The Bundesliga restarted two weeks ago after a break of more than two months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"It is not that I wanted to do this," said utility man Kimmich, 25. "I did not see him off his line but we were told before the game that Buerki stands a bit off his line, so I went for it and with a bit of luck, it went in.

"It was maybe the most beautiful goal of my life and also very important."

Teammate Thomas Mueller described Kimmich's game-winning lob as "having a long hang time" while miming watching the ball pass over his head.

"I had a good feeling," he said.

"Roman Buerki is a great goalkeeper but one of his strengths is that he is maybe one or two steps outside his goal because maybe he has not got the longest arms."

It had all started so well for hosts Dortmund with teenage sensation Erling Haaland almost scoring in the opening seconds as Bayern's Jerome Boateng had to clear the ball off the line.

The visitors then had their own effort cleared off the line when Lukasz Piszczek denied Serge Gnabry from five metres.

Haaland, who had another attempt that was deflected wide by Boateng's elbow, left due to injury with 18 minutes left.

Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski also came close, hitting the post in the 83rd minute.

Dortmund coach Lucien Favre conceded that bridging a seven-point gap in the remaining games would be tough.

"It will be very, very difficult, Seven points in six games. It will be brutally difficult," he said.

Defender Mats Hummels agreed, adding: "I think that now it is only up to Bayern to decide the title... We have to hope they slip up three times."

After the match, Favre hinted he might leave Dortmund at the end of the season.

According to German daily Bild, Dortmund's bosses made contact with Niko Kovac in the past few months. The Croat was sacked by Bayern last November.

After Favre said he will make a future announcement, Germany legend and Sky pundit Lothar Matthaeus commented "as soon as I heard that, I thought 'Favre will leave and Kovac will come'."

But Favre, whose contract ends next year, later insisted that he is "not thinking of giving up", as Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke told the Funke media group that there is no need for a "coach discussion".

In yesterday's other key matches, Bayer Leverkusen's Champions League hopes took a hit after a 4-1 loss to Wolfsburg as their five-match winning run came to an end.

But Borussia Moenchengladbach could not capitalise on it, drawing 0-0 with second-from-bottom Werder Bremen. - AFP, REUTERS

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