Friday 18 August 2017 / 03:07 PM

Champ League Final Dress Rehearsal

Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich fought out an intriguing 1-1 draw in their Champions League final dress rehearsal at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday evening keeping watchers guessing as to which side will come out on top at Wembley Stadium in May.

With the Bundesliga already a foregone conclusion after Bayern wrapped up their 22nd domestic league title a fortnight ago, it seemed apt that the fixture list threw up a clash between the two sides just days on from their respective last four European triumphs against the best that Spain had to offer in Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Bayern will be favourites to reign over the continent in a few weeks time however they were more than matched by Dortmund on this occasion and it was the home team who took the lead just ten minutes in when midfield anchorman Kevin Grosskreutz lashed in a volley from close range.

Munich were level nevertheless just eleven minutes later through Mario Gomez who superbly headed in a perfect Rafinha cross past Dortmund keeper Wiedenfeller.

Neither side managed to find a winner for the remainder and earn an all important psychological advantage ahead of their major showdown, yet the Black Yellows blew a big chance when Robert Lewandowski fluffed a penalty on the stroke of half time.

They will be pleased nonetheless to halt Bayern’s hot 14 game winning streak and the draw will give Jurgen Klopp’s men further confidence that they can cause an upset in London when the likes of Mats Hummels and Marco Reus return to the starting eleven.

In La Liga, Barca and Real both gained slight compensation for their Champions League disappointment however they were made to work hard for victories at home to Betis and Valladolid.

 

Barcelona, so brutally beaten by Bayern in midweek, were 1-2 behind at the break but fired back in the second half after David Villa’s goal and a brace from Lionel Messi added to Alexis Sanchez early opener.

The Catalans now require just a point from their final four fixtures to be crowned champions and maintain their eleven point buffer over rivals Real who won 4-3 thanks to goals from Angel Di Maria, Kaka and a Cristiano Ronaldo double.

Atletico Madrid remain firmly in contention for third after a battling 0-0 draw against Deportivo at the Riazor, a result which simultaneously kept the hosts narrowly above the drop zone.

Juventus clinched their 29th Serie A title on Sunday afternoon following a tight 1-0 success against relegation threatened Palermo in Turin.

The Bianconeri didn’t play like champions for the majority of the match but in the end, Arturo Vidal’s 59th minute penalty was enough to see off the struggling Sicilian outfit and eradicate any mathematical possibility of second placed Napoli achieving the impossible.

 

Elsewhere, Ajax also celebrated after sealing their third consecutive Eredivisie title following a 5-0 thrashing of Willem II; however PSG will have to wait for their equivalent title honours in Ligue 1 after being held 1-1 by Valenciennes – their lead at the top now reduced to six points following Marseille’s 2-1 win over Bastia.

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Chris Kisby

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