Bayern's Bundesliga title celebrations put on ice after draw
ABS-CBN Sports on May 01, 2016 08:47 AM
Bayern's Thomas Mueller, foreground, and Moenchengladbach's Havard Nordtveit challenge for the ball during the German Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Moenchengladbach at the Allianz Arena stadium in Munich, Germany, Saturday, April 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
CIARAN FAHEY, Associated Press
BERLIN (AP) — Bayern Munich was held 1-1 at home by Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday as Borussia Dortmund kept the Bundesliga title race alive with a 5-1 rout of Wolfsburg.
Bayern, which would have claimed its 26th German championship with a win, got off to a great start when Thomas Mueller scored in the sixth minute. But the defending champions were made to pay for a lackluster performance when Andre Hahn deservedly equalized in the 72nd.
Dortmund closed the gap to five points with two rounds remaining, thanks to two goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and one each from Shinji Kagawa, Adrian Ramos and Marco Reus.
But few expect the title race to go to the wire.
"I don't think Bayern will let it out of their hands, that they'll lose two games," Dortmund midfielder Gonzalo Castro said.
Bayer Leverkusen secured direct qualification for the Champions League with a 2-1 win at home over Hertha Berlin to guarantee third place. It was Leverkusen's seventh successive victory.
"We're more than happy. To settle it with two games to go is a very good performance," said 19-year-old Julian Brandt, who scored for the sixth straight game.
Brandt and Lars Bender fired Leverkusen into an early lead before Vedad Ibisevic pulled one back in the 21st to give Hertha hope.
Hertha dropped to fifth, behind 'Gladbach on goal difference. Both are assured of at least Europa League football next season.
Eintracht Frankfurt boosted its hopes of avoiding the drop with a come-from-behind 2-1 win at local rival Darmstadt, as did Hoffenheim at home against already safe Ingolstadt.
Schalke defeated already-relegated Hannover 3-1, and Hamburger SV and Mainz played out a goalless draw.
With one eye on Tuesday's Champions League semifinal against Atletico Madrid, Bayern coach Pep Guardiola had Philipp Lahm, Arturo Vidal, Robert Lewandowski, David Alaba, Douglas Costa and Thiago Alcantara on the bench. Bayern lost the first leg 1-0 in Madrid.
Jerome Boateng started to make his comeback from injury against Hamburg on Jan. 22.
Bayern was looking good for an unprecedented fourth straight Bundesliga title when Mueller scored Bayern's quickest league goal of the season — his 20th.
Mahmoud Dahoud tried his luck from distance and Andre Hahn called Manuel Neuer into action as 'Gladbach sought a response.
Bayern was passive after the break and Hahn finally equalized when he was sent through by Dahoud and fired inside the right post.
"We would have liked to be champions today — I won't lie — but we'll try to seal the deal against Ingolstadt next weekend," Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.
Most of the attention in Dortmund was on captain Mats Hummels, who has expressed his wish to join Bayern next season. He was whistled by fans, some of whom held a banner asking him to go straight away. He responded with a commendable performance, though it didn't spare some supporters' anger after the game.
Kagawa fired Dortmund ahead in the seventh with his ninth goal of the season and the Japan star set up Ramos to make it 2-0 two minutes later.
Reus settled it at the third attempt in the 59th, after Diego Benaglio had saved from Sven Bender and then Kagawa.
Two goals in two minutes from Aubameyang wrapped it up, the Gabon forward heading in crosses from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcel Schmelzer to take his tally to 25 for the season.
Andre Schuerrle's late goal was just a consolation for Wolfsburg, which won't be playing any European football next season.
Dortmund's tally of 77 points is already the best for any second-placed team in the Bundesliga.
Schalke boosted its Champions League qualification hopes by climbing sixth thanks to goals from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Alessandro Schoepf. Schalke, a point behind 'Gladbach and Hertha, is assured of Europa League football.
Darmstadt's Mario Vrancic scored early in the Hessen derby, but Makoto Hasebe equalized and Stefan Aigner scored late for Frankfurt, which moved two points above Werder Bremen (31) into the relegation playoff place. Bremen hosts Stuttgart, which is level with Frankfurt on 33 points, on Monday.
Frankfurt fans were prohibited from Darmstadt's stadium but police were still forced to intervene among rival supporters after full time. There were also clashes outside the stadium before the game, when 12 arrests were made.
Darmstadt (35), Hoffenheim (37) and Augsburg (37) can still be dragged into the relegation zone.