Bayern Munich held champions Borussia Dortmund to a 1-1 draw in the Bundesliga on Saturday to maintain their cushion atop the league table.
Mario Goetze struck a brilliant equaliser for Dortmund after Toni Kroos put Bayern ahead in the second half, but despite maintaining their 11-point lead over Juergen Klopp’s side, the match was soured by a serious knee injury to Holger Badstuber.
Having defeated Bayern on all five occasions last season on their way to back-to-back titles, Dortmund again started at a frantic pace, but it was the home side who registered the first chance.
Franck Ribery’s volley came close but a suicidal Badstuber back-pass almost put Marco Reus in for the opener.
Badstuber soon came off with what is believed to be an anterior cruciate ligament injury that could see the German international miss six months.
A double chance for Dortmund either side of half-time saw Reus’ ferocious volley parried away by Manuel Neuer ,while former Bayern defender Mats Hummels was denied shortly after the interval from close range.
Dortmund began to seize the initiative with Goetze and Reus particularly prominent but Bayern would go ahead shortly after Thomas Mueller was denied a penalty appeal.
It was the 23-year-old who fed Kroos with the playmaker side-stepping both Hummels and Nevan Subotic to fire a crisp strike past Roman Weidenfeller into the bottom right corner.
The lead did not last long with Goetze neatly taking down Jakub Blaszczykowski’s corner delivery and volleying past Neuer and a sea of Bayern bodies to make it 1-1 in the 74th minute.
Bayern had the better of the final exchanges with Mueller almost finding the net on two occasions but Dortmund, for all their invention, will feel they dropped two crucial points after an intriguing battle.
Earlier, Bayer Leverkusen took advantage of Bayern’s draw to move within eight points of the leaders with a 1-0 triumph over Nuremburg, their third successive Bundesliga victory.
Andre Schurrle created the only goal of the game, setting up Stefan Kiessling in the 37th minute as Bayer moved to 30 points.
Mainz survived a 49th-minute red card to goalkeeper Christian Wetklo to defeat Hannover 2-1.
Having trailed 1-0 through Nicolai Muller’s 10th-minute strike for Mainz, Hannover ensured the scores were level at half-time thanks to Christian Schulz’s goal in the 28th minute.
Just four minutes into the second half, Mainz’s hopes of victory were dealt a severe blow when Wetklo handled the ball outside the box to receive his second yellow card of the match.
But despite having more shots on goal, Hannover failed to score again and it was Mainz’s Hungarian striker Adam Szalai who made the difference, hitting the back of the net in the 89th minute to clinch an impressive victory.
In other results, Schalke needed an 85th-minute goal from Julian Draxler to earn a 1-1 draw at home against Borussia Moenchengladbach, Stuttgart defeated Greuther Furth 1-0 and Augsburg versus Freiburg finished 1-1.