Borussia Dortmund kept themselves in the Bundesliga title race by claiming a 3-2 (1-0) victory at home to Fortuna Düsseldorf on Matchday 33, while rivals Bayern Munich were held to a goalless draw away to RB Leipzig. The results mean the Black & Yellows trail the league leaders by two points heading into the final round.
Boris Rupert reporting
The 81,365 spectators, including 8,000 away fans, at a sold-out Signal Iduna Park saw the Black & Yellows claim a hard-fought victory in their final home game of the season. Pulisic's opener (41) was cancelled out by Fink (47), only for subsequent strikes by Delaney (53) and Götze (90+2) to put the hosts in a commanding position. But Kownacki pulled another goal back deep into stopping time (90+5) and BVB only just managed to hang on.
The Black & Yellows had not lost any of their previous seven home games against Fortuna Düsseldorf (W5 D2) and had never failed to score against them at home. That means the two teams had never played out a goalless draw at the Strobelallee.
BVB were without the suspended duo of Reus and Wolf, plus the injured trio of Bürki, Diallo (both muscular problems) and Hakimi. Sancho started on the bench, while Hitz, Piszczek and Bruun Larsen were drafted into the starting XI.
While Dortmund lined up in a 4-2-3-1 system, Düsseldorf opted for a highly flexible 4-5-1 formation. Fink, who had been given free rein in the supporting role behind lone frontman Lukebakio, dropped back to create a five-man midfield whenever the hosts had the ball. Gießelmann and Stöger continuously changed positions on the left side of the Fortuna defence.
The match & analysis:
Borussia Dortmund suffered from a lack of tempo and passing precision in the opening half, while Düsseldorf's clever positional play for the most part prevented the Black & Yellows from getting any sight of goal. Only Pulisic and Guerreiro threatened, the American going close with a shot on the turn in the 13th minute and the Portugal international having his shot beaten away by Rensing eight minutes later. The loose ball was subsequently cleared by Zimmerman with Pulisic lurking. Meanwhile, BVB could count themselves hugely fortunate that Düsseldorf, a constant threat on the counter, had a goal disallowed for offside. Lukebakio had been narrowly off in the build-up to his 19th-minute goal.
The breakthrough eventually came for the home side in the 41st minute, when Weigl played a long ball to the left flank to Bruun Larsen. The Dane laid it back to Guerreiro, whose cross into the centre was headed back across goal by Delaney and into the net by Pulisic on his final home appearance for the club.
But Dortmund were caught napping early in the second half when Düsseldorf dispossessed their opponents down the left flank. Suttner crossed into the centre and Hitz misjudged Fink's header, allowing it to slip through his legs and over the line (47). But BVB re-established their lead only six minutes later when Weigl floated a through-ball to Alcácer. The Spanish striker drew Rensing off his line and, realising he was not in a position to shoot, quickly squared the ball into the path of Pulisic. The American picked out Götze on the penalty spot and he teed up Delaney, whose first-time shot was blocked. But the Dane was the first to react and he fired the rebound into the bottom corner (53).
10-man Fortuna dig deep
But the visitors were soon presented with a golden chance to equalise when Hitz was adjudged to have felled Lukebakio − whose raised knee on the BVB goalkeeper went unpunished − in the box. Referee Stieler opted to point to the penalty spot and stuck with his decision even after consulting the video assistant referee. Fortunately, though, Lukebakio's spot-kick sailed wide of the mark (59). At the other end, Piszczek was pushed over in the Düsseldorf penalty area but appeals for a spot-kick were waved away (65).
The next moment of drama came as Bodzek was shown a straight red card for a horror tackle on Sancho with eight minutes to go. BVB appeared to have struck the killer blow when Götze put the hosts 3-1 ahead in stoppage time, but 10-man Düsseldorf dug deep and pulled a goal back when Kownacki slotted home Ayhan's well-timed pass in the 95th minute. The visitors subsequently had two chances to level, but Hoffmann (90+6) and Karaman (90+8) spurned them and the Black & Yellows held on to secure a narrow win. Then came an added bonus when Nobby Dickel announced over the loudspeaker: "Leipzig 0-0 Bayern – it's not over until it's over!"
Borussia Dortmund will travel away to Borussia Mönchengladbach for the 34th and final round of the 2018/19 season next Saturday. Kick-off will be at 15:30 CET.