BERLIN – Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre defended goalkeeper Roman Buerki after his second-half howler saw Dortmund throw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Werder Bremen and left Bayern Munich on the brink of a seventh successive Bundesliga title.
“I am not going to talk about Roman. Whatever happens, he has had a fantastic season and has saved us a lot of points in the past,” Favre told Sky.
Buerki’s error and a goal from Claudio Pizarro all but ended Dortmund’s title challenge and sealed a perfect afternoon for Bayern, after club stalwarts Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben earlier returned from injury to help them to a 3-1 victory over bottom club Hanover.
Dortmund, who were nine points ahead of Bayern in December, must now make up a four-point deficit in the last two games of the season.
“We have to win our last home game next week, that is our only hope,” said Favre.
Christian Pulisic opened the scoring for Dortmund after just six minutes with a brilliant solo goal, before Paco Alcacer doubled the lead with a fizzing free-kick.
With Dortmund in full control on 70 minutes, Buerki allowed Bremen back into the game when he let Kevin Moehwald’s tame shot through his legs, and former Bayern star Pizarro scored a shock equaliser moments later.
“If we can help Bayern, why not?” a smiling Pizarro told Sky.
In Munich, Robben and Ribery, both of whom are set to leave Bayern at the end of the season, came off the bench to make their first appearance together in 2019.
Ribery scored what may be his last ever goal at the Allianz Arena, while Robben, who had not played since November, told Sky that his cameo appearance was not the end of his Bayern journey.
“I always said I didn’t want to come back just to wave to the fans and say goodbye. There are two games left and the German Cup final, so there is more to come,” he said.
Bayern have one hand on the Meisterschale 🔴🛡️ pic.twitter.com/ZGmSZmRN2w— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) May 4, 2019
Hanover kept Bayern at bay for nearly half an hour before Robert Lewandowski headed the hosts ahead from close range and Leon Goretzka curled the second in off the post.
The visitors hit back after half-time with a Jonathas penalty, the result of a highly controversial handball decision from VAR against Jerome Boateng. Ribery secured the win with a deflected shot six minutes from time.
Bayern now need just one win from their last two games against top four sides RB Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt.
Elsewhere, Borussia Moenchengladbach and Hoffenheim both stumbled in the race for the top four, as they shared the points in a 2-2 draw.
Matthias Ginter cancelled out Pavel Kaderabek’s opener, before Nadiem Amiri restored the lead with a fine volley. Josip Drmic saved Gladbach’s Champions League hopes with a late equaliser.
Wolfsburg also remain in the hunt for a top four place after goals from Felix Klaus and Marcel Tisserand saw them beat second-from-bottom Nuremberg 2-0.
Both Nuremberg and Hanover were spared relegation for at least another week, however, as Hertha Berlin won 3-1 at home to Stuttgart, who remain in the relegation play-off place.
Goals from Vedad Ibisevic, Ondrej Duda and Salomon Kalou sealed the win for Hertha, despite a late consolation header from Mario Gomez.AFP