1-0 - Dembélé crosses in, Aubameyang nods home
Borussia Dortmund have gained revenge for their unlucky last-minute defeat by Rasenballsport Leipzig on Matchday 2 of the Bundesliga campaign by claiming a fully deserved 1-0 (1-0) victory over the Saxony-based side in the return fixture on Matchday 19. The win moves the Black and Yellows up to third – for the time being at least – and cuts the gap to second-placed Leipzig to eight points.
A sell-out crowd of 81,360 – including 8,000 travelling fans from Leipzig – at SIGNAL IDUNA PARK witnessed a strong display from BVB, whose solid defending at the back and high-tempo approach in attack was reminiscent of their victory over FC Bayern in November. Aubameyang's 35th minute opener secured a deserved lead for Thomas Tuchel's charges, who continued to look comfortable defensively after the interval but spurned several opportunities to wrap up all three points. Leipzig almost found a route back into the game when they scored in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time, but the goal was correctly ruled out for offside.
Dennis-Julian Gottschlich reporting
Fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund could cut the gap to second-placed Rasenballsport Leipzig to eight points with a victory in Matchday 19's 'top match'. The Black and Yellows trailed third-placed Eintracht Frankfurt by a solitary point.
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Bartra, Durm und Dembélé came into the starting XI in place of Schürrle, Ginter and Castro, who was omitted from the squad with an infection. Bender (torn lateral collateral ligament) and Sahin (fitness) were also missing for BVB, while the men from Saxony were without Klostermann (torn cruciate ligament), Forsberg (suspended) and Gipson (fitness), as well as Demme, Sabitzer and Werner (all flu).
Following much deliberation, Thomas Tuchel opted to counter Leipzig's 4-4-2 formation with a 3-1-4-2 system featuring a two-man strike-force of Aubameyang and Reus. Behind them, Durm, Dembélé, Guerreiro and Schmelzer (from left to right) formed the offensive midfield quartet when the hosts had the ball. At times, Durm and/or Schmelzer dropped back and expanded the back three of Piszczek, Sokratis and Bartra into a four or even five-man rearguard. Weigl sat in a central position in front of the defence and bridged the gap to the midfield. During the course of the match Borussia switched to a 3-4-3 formation with Dembélé (then Pulisic later on), Aubameyang and Reus in attack.
The match & analysis:
It quickly developed into a highly intense encounter between two evenly matched teams as the rain fell at Signal Iduna Park, but it was the hosts who posed the greater threat as Leipzig got to grips with the heated atmosphere generated by over 80,000 fans. Borussia looked extremely solid at the back, while the attacking triumvirate of Aubameyang, Reus and Dembélé tried to hurt the visitors with their pace and created the first good chance for the Black and Yellows in the 13th minute when Dembélé missed at the far post following Aubameyang's cross.
There was limited goalmouth action and hardly any shots in the period that followed, as the game developed into a highly tactical affair characterised by errors in the middle of the park. The Westphalians' pass completion rate after half an hour stood at 70 percent, but still surpassed Leipzig's significantly lower rate of 52 percent. The next dangerous opportunity did not come until the 33rd minute, when Durm found Dembélé down the right, but Aubameyang headed the Frenchman's cross over.
Dembélé with the turbo charge, "Auba" with the goal
An almost identical situation unfolded two minutes later but this time there was a positive outcome. Once again Dembélé accelerated down the right, outmanoeuvring Compper and Orban before sending an inch-perfect cross into the six-yard box, where Aubameyang had sprinted into an unmarked position and nodded home the opener (35). There was elation among the SIGNAL IDUNA PARK faithful, while Thomas Tuchel's relief was palpable as he sprinted onto the pitch in celebration. The statistics certainly made for pleasant reading: almost 60 percent possession and five shots to Leipzig's two – Borussia's lead at the break was highly deserved.
BVB continued the second period in much the same vein as they finished the first, and carved out their first clear chance following a Leipzig corner kick. Weigl picked out Aubameyang in midfield, and the Gabon international accelerated away before squaring to Reus in the penalty area, but the latter dragged his shot wide (51). Seven minutes later Aubameyang rounded Compper but failed to generate enough power behind the shot, which was comfortably saved by 'keeper Gulacsi (58). Then, with 64 minutes on the clock, Pulisic, who had replaced Dembélé, crossed from the right, but this time Compper denied Aubameyang at the last second.
BVB's lead not in danger
Borussia Dortmund were clearly the dominant side but could not get that all-important second goal. With 25 minutes remaining and Khedira now on in place of Upamecano, the men from Leipzig went up a gear, tried to take more risks going forward and soon forced Bürki into his first save of the match following a Selke cross (67). But they did not put Thomas Tuchel's charges under real pressure at any point. The BVB rearguard continued to look solid; then, suddenly, the match sprang into life: Reus spurned two opportunities to seal the victory (83, 89) before Upamecano denied Ginter on the line (90+2), then Leipzig scored a goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time. But the equaliser was disallowed for offside, and the match ended in a 1-0 win for the Black and Yellows.
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Wednesday evening (20:45 CET) sees BVB play host to Hertha BSC in the last 16 of the DFB Cup, before travelling away to SV Darmstadt 98 in the Bundesliga next Saturday, (11/2, 15:30 CET).