Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick said they took “a big step” towards an eighth straight Bundesliga title on Tuesday as their 1-0 win at Borussia Dortmund opened a seven-point lead with six games left.
Midfielder Joshua Kimmich settled an edgy affair with a deft chip over home goalkeeper Roman Buerki just before half-time at Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park stadium behind closed doors.
“It was an important win, we took a big step forward,” said Flick, who only stepped into the head coach role when Niko Kovac was sacked in November.
Flick was assistant when Germany won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but the 55-year-old is on the verge of his first club title as a head coach.
“Will I win my first coaching title? I’m not a man who reads too much into the future,” said Flick bashfully.
“I’m very happy with the team’s performance, they were focused, attentive, bold.”
Match-winner Kimmich revealed that his chip over Buerki was the product of pre-match analysis.
“We knew that Buerki always stands well in front of his goal,” said the Germany international.
“It’s the best goal of my career and a very important one.
“Everyone knew how important those three points were, and now we have a comfortable lead.
“It’s going to be mentally difficult for Dortmund, although we still have to confirm things in the next few games too.”
Bayern must still clear two tricky hurdles in the coming weeks, against Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Moenchengladbach who have already beaten the Bavarians in the league this season.
Dortmund captain Mats Hummels acknowledged they have to win all their remaining matches and hope Bayern slip up.
“We now have to try and win the six remaining games, but from now on, Bayern have their fate in their own hands, whether they win or lose,” admitted Hummels, who left Bayern last June.
Dortmund coach Lucien Favre fended off questions about whether he is the reason why his side is on the verge of falling short in the title race for the second successive season.
Under Favre, Dortmund squandered a nine-point lead in 2018/19 as Bayern finished up winning the league with a cushion of two points.
Dortmund striker Erling Braut Haaland had a shot cleared off the line in the opening minute, but the teenager could not add to his ten goals in as many games and limped off twenty minutes from time.
“Over 90 minutes we did really well, but we should have done more with the ball,” said Favre.
“There was a lack of precision and a little more movement.
“We had too few shots on goal.
“Of course, everyone knows that we miss the fans,” Favre added as Dortmund missed the chance to turn up the heat on the Bavarians without the backing of their huge support.