It was a hard-fought victory. Spurred on by their fans, Borussia Dortmund ground out a highly deserved home win over VfB Stuttgart at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday afternoon. The Black & Yellows have now taken 35 out of a possible 39 points on home turf this season, meaning they have the best home record in the division by some distance.
Nonetheless, BVB were still displaced at the summit for the first time since the opening weeks of the season. The Black & Yellows now share top spot in the table with Bayern Munich (both sides have 57 points), although the Bavarians possess the marginally better goal difference. It still remains the second-highest point tally (after 2010/11, 61 points) the Black & Yellows have amassed at this stage of a season. Even in the record-breaking 2011/12 campaign, which they finished with 81 points on the board, they had a point fewer (56) after 25 rounds of matches.
The team might not have applied as much pressure and played with as much purpose as they did in the 1-0 defeat to Tottenham on Tuesday, but this time they got their just reward. "We dominated the match and ended up with 75 percent possession. That's an incredible amount. We managed to create a few chances in the first half," said Lucien Favre, who lauded his players for their reaction after had Stuttgart levelled the score at 1-1. "After taking a 1-0 lead, we conceded an unnecessary goal. The team reacted really well though, they 100 percent wanted to get the win. It was an important win, and a deserved one overall, although the opposition played very well and were very well organised."
Marco Reus' opener – a penalty converted following a foul on Jadon Sancho – and Marc-Oliver Kempf's equaliser were followed by a classic striker's goal. Having seen Reus' effort blocked, Christian Pulisic attempted to work the ball into a shooting position. Paco Alcácer, however, was impatient. Without hesitation, the Spaniard smashed the loose ball high into the net. "He has a feeling for it. His goal was very, very important. That's a typical striker's goal," said Favre in tribute to his centre-forward. Pulisic eventually got the chance to get his name on the scoresheet, making the score 3-1 in stoppage time following link-up play from Axel Witsel and Mario Götze.
For Borussia Dortmund, the game brought an intense run of fixtures to an end. The team now has a full six days to prepare themselves for their next opponents – capital club Hertha Berlin on Saturday.