Leverkusen and Dortmund draw, falling yet further adrift | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 24.02.2013
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Leverkusen and Dortmund draw, falling yet further adrift

Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen could only draw matches they dominated, meaning they drop further behind runaway leaders Bayern Munich. Gladbach spoiled Dortmund's day, while Greuther Fürth held Leverkusen out.

Dortmund were in complete control against Borussia Mönchengladbach in the first half, outshooting them by a score of nine to zero before the break. Despite a quiet day for Marco Reus and an abject lack of strikers, Mario Götze - playing out of position up front - put Dortmund ahead after half an hour.

Götze rounded Gladbach keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and was brought down. The German international got up to take his own penalty; not only did he smash it into the top corner, he sent ter Stegen the wrong way. The entire half was a similarly emphatic display, as Gladbach struggled to keep possession even at home.

After the break, however, the "Foals" began to show signs of life, just as the incisiveness went out of Dortmund's game with both Robert Lewandowski and Julian Schieber unavailable at the sharp end of the attack.

Amin Younes, replacing Patrick Herrmann up front for a similarly depleted Gladbach, was probably the player of the game. The few Foals attacks tended to run through him and when the equalizer came, it was Younes who found the net in the 67th minute. Dortmund's Neven Subotic could only half-clear an Oscar Wendt cross, Younes followed in and his deflected shot beat Roman Weidenfeller in the Dortmund goal.

Sitters squandered in final seconds

Despite Dortmund's overall dominance, the game ended 1-1 - the same result Gladbach surprisingly secured in Munich in December, the last time Bayern Munich dropped league points. Both sides spurned huge late chances for the win though. Gladbach substitute Peniel Mlapa rounded Weidenfeller when clean through on goal, but he could only hit the side-netting from a tight angle.

Moments later, in the last additional minute, Mario Götze brilliantly kept a ball in play on the touch line and crossed to captain Sebastian Kehl, who was distraught to sky his shot over the bar.

"We really should have won today, at the end I had a chance to decide the outcome - and that was particularly bitter," captain Sebastian Kehl told Sky Germany after the game when watching a replay of a shot he'd probably prefer to forget. "Yes, obviously, I should have buried it, that's my bad."

Goalkeeping masterclass stops Leverkusen

With Dortmund's draw, Bayer Leverkusen had the chance to go second with an away win against bottom of the table side Greuther Fürth. Fürth, in their first game under interim coach Ludwig Preis, played a disciplined match - looking especially strong early in the game.

Fürth goalie Wolfgang Hesl (r) palms a ball away from Leverkusen striker Stefan Kiessling's head (Photo: David Ebener/dpa)

Fürth keeper Wolfgang Hesl handled Kiessling and co.

Leverkusen put a total of 11 shots on target, but keeper Wolfgang Hesl was equal to all of them in another impressive performance between the Fürth sticks. Late in the first half, probably Leverkusen's strongest phase of the entire match, Hesl made a spectacular double-save to deny Stefan Kiessling in a one-on-one, before getting his fingertips even to a third Leverkusen shot after that. Defensive midfielder Johannes Geis, who owed his goalie a favor after all these heroics, finished the job and cleared the deflected third shot off the line.

Leverkusen were unsurprisingly superior throughout, but couldn't continue their strong pre-half time form after the break. The Pharmaceuticals created several second half chances, though the majority were either from distance or from set pieces.

Andre Schürrle was Leverkusen's most active attacker, firing off a total of 10 shots and frequently testing Hesl from distance. He also missed a good chance from close in late in the game, and looked disgusted with himself.

After Bayern Munich steamrolled Werder Bremen 6-1 on Saturday, Dortmund now trail the league leaders by 17 points, while Leverkusen are 18 points adrift.