Jürgen Klopp savored victory in his final battle with Bayern Munich, leading his Borussia Dortmund side to a 2-0 victory on penalties in their DFB-Pokal semifinal after a 1-1 draw at the Allianz Arena. Klopp will step away at the end of the season, having seen the team he built stripped of key players by their biggest foes. But it is the charismatic Dortmund coach who leaves with a small manner of revenge, having derailed Bayern’s attempts to win the treble this season.
It was one of the players poached from Dortmund by Bayern, Robert Lewandowski, who opened the scoring in the first half to reflect the home side's superiority. But late in the second period Dortmund finally found some life and pulled level through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. After extra-time produced nothing but a red card for Dortmund substitute Kevin Kampl, penalties were set. There it all went wrong for a Bayern team that clinched its third straight Bundesliga title at the weekend. Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso both slipped before sending their penalties high over the bar before another former Dortmund man, Mario Götze, had his saved. And while Mats Hummels was denied by Manuel Neuer after Ilkay Gundogan and Sebastian Kehl had scored, Mitchell Langerak repelled Neuer's effort to hand victory to Dortmund.
Bayern’s night had stated well, with Mehdi Benatia back in the starting lineup after injury and Arjen Robben returning on the bench. But, ahead of their mammoth Champions League semifinal first leg against Barcelona next week, not only has Pep Guardiola’s side suffered a bitter blow after 120 minutes plus of exertion, but Robben was forced off with what appeared a calf injury just 15 minutes into his comeback.
For much of the evening anything other than further Bayern celebrations appeared an unlikely prospect. From early on, it was the Bavarians making the running. The hosts were denied an appeal for a penalty 20 minutes in when 21-year-old Mitchell Weiser went down in the box, before the returning Mehdi Benatia headed wide from a cross following the breakdown of a corner. On the stroke of 30 minutes, Bayern did get the breakthrough. Dortmund’s defense was horribly exposed as Xabi Alonso looked up and struck a long pass over the opposition defense, catching out the slow to get across Sokratis to find the run of Lewandowski down the left. While the former Dortmund striker’s initial dink came back off the post, he reacted with the utmost composure to take the rebound and slide it home from a tight angle.
There could have soon been more joy for Bayern and Lewandowski. With an audacious effort from distance, the Poland international caught Dortmund’s backup goalkeeper Langerak off his line, only to see the ball drop wide of the upright. And early in the second half, Lewandowski tested the frame of the goal for the second time, this time when striking the crossbar after good work from Juan Bernat.
There was little to suggest that Dortmund were capable of getting back into the contest, before they caught Bayern cold with 15 minutes of regulation time remaining. Only five minutes after being brought on in place of Shinji Kagawa, Henrikh Mkhitaryan received Jakub Blaszczykowski’s chipped pass and sent a first-time ball across the box that Aubameyang stretched for at the back post to turn toward goal. Although Manuel Neuer tried to scoop it away, the officials correctly adjudged that the ball had already crossed the line.
Having got level, Dortmund suddenly attacked Bayern with the verve they lacked for much of the contest. Neuer had to save from Mkhitaryan and Reus to ensure that there were an added 30 minutes. By extra-time it was all Bayern once again. Thomas Müller headed over, while Bastian Schweinsteiger was somehow denied by the left leg of Langerak. There was controversy, too. Kampl was shown a second yellow card after bringing down Schweinsteiger, while Guardiola had much to say about a penalty not been awarded when Lewandowski was taken out by Langerak as the Dortmund goalkeeper punched away both the ball and his opponent.
There was to be no seperating the sides until penalties arrived and Bayern spectacularly slipped up, while Dortmund kept their nerve to book a place against either Wolfsburg or Arminia Bielefeld in next month's final in Berlin.