The goalkeepers in the all-German Champions League final took center stage in the first half, keeping the match between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund scoreless at the break. Despite a high-tempo, decidedly non-cagey start, the first 45 minutes didn’t produce any goals thanks mainly to the efforts of Manuel Neuer and Roman Weidenfeller. This was one of those soccer games, that despite the scoreline, was actually full of incident and entertaining — though all the misses and saves left FOX announcer Gus Johnson with a massive set of blue balls.
Each keeper made a couple point blank saves. Weidenfeller tipped a header from close range by Mario Mandžukić off a corner kick — Bayern’s first shot on target. The Dortmund keeper also stoned Arjen Robben in a 1-on-1, although he gets less points for the fact the Dutch winger’s right foot is as worthless as a stack of Enron stock. (If you watch the replay, Robben basically kicked the ball straight into Weidenfeller’s face.)
As good as Weidenfeller was, Neuer — Germany’s No.1 — was even better, making numerous important stops in the first 25 minutes when Dortmund pressed and had most of the possession of the ball. Neuer’s kick-save on Jakub Błaszczykowski in the 15th minute was the highlight. He also made two fine saves to deny Robert Lewandowski.
Although it’s scoreless, the traveling Dortmund fans are certainly having a good time.
Makes you wish the Super Bowl and other big-time American sporting events at neutral sites distributed tickets to, you know, actual fans instead of corporate gladhanders and celebrities. Just a thought.
[GIF via 101GG]