Bundesliga tie provides exciting foreshadow to Champions League final
With an all-German Champions League final set, it was only fitting Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund met in the league prior to the big match.
Neither side could secure a victory as the game finished 1-1, but there was plenty of excitement - and tension - to go around at Westfalenstadion.
Kevin Grosskreutz and Mario Gomez both found the back of the net, and there was a nasty edge to the match as 7 yellow cards were shown between the two sides.
Midfielder Anatoliy Tymoschuk picked up the game’s first yellow and first of 6 for Bayern as he scythed down Robert Lewandowski in the 10th minute, a contentious moment for both sides.
Two of the yellows found Bayern defender Rafinha, the second of which he received for a vicious elbow to Grosskreutz that caught the ire of Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp and sent the Brazilian defender to an early shower.
Ultimately, the Bundesliga runners up will be kicking themselves for not leaving their fortress with 3 points, as Lewandowski had a penalty saved by Manuel Neuer after Jerome Boateng’s questionable handball saw the referee point to the spot.
Both managers will be happy they kept some star players out of harm’s way for the combative match. Bayern manager Jupp Heynckes deemed Mario Mandzukic, Arjen Robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Franck Ribery, and Dante too important to risk in the match. On the other end, Marco Reus was relegated to a 71st minute bench replacement, and Mats Hummels and Lukasz Piszczek were both kept off the pitch altogether.
Despite the use of backups, Klopp will have a headache as he adds Ilkay Gundogan to his injury list after colliding with Diego Contenato. Mario Gotze has already found that list, and the jury is still out on whether his torn thigh muscle will heal in time for the final at Wembley.
Obviously, that match will need a winner to complete.