Borussia Dortmund won an entertaining encounter 3-2 (0-1) away to VfB Stuttgart but could not reduce the seven-point gap to fourth place in the table.

Boris Rupert reporting from Stuttgart

The Black & Yellows were chasing the game once again, after Sasa Kalajdzic had made it 1-0 with a 17th-minute header on one of Stuttgart's few forays forward in the first period. Jude Bellingham levelled the scores immediately after the restart, before Marco Reus made it 2-1 on the 52-minute mark. BVB took their foot off the gas slightly in the period that followed and Daniel Didavi restored parity at 2-2 following a counter in the 78th minute. Barely two minutes later, however, Ansgar Knauff netted the winner.


The scenario:   
Borussia Dortmund and VfB Stuttgart were going head to head in the Bundesliga for the 102nd time. BVB had more away wins against the Swabians than against any other club (14) and had won nine of the previous 12 league meetings in Dortmund and Stuttgart.

Personnel matters:   
The injured quintet of Youssoufa Moukoko, Jadon Sancho (fitness training), Marcel Schmelzer, Axel Witsel and Dan-Axel Zagadou were still unavailable. There were two changes to the starting XI that had lost 2-1 in Manchester four days earlier, with Thomas Delaney and Gio Reyna replacing Emre Can and Ansgar Knauff (both bench).

BVB took to the field in their usual 4-3-3 formation, with Bellingham, Dahoud and Delaney forming an almost flat bank of three in midfield. Reus started on the left side of the attacking triumvirate and was frequently supported by Guerreiro's overlapping runs deep into the opposition half. Stuttgart opted to play with a back three and left the right side of defensive midfield exposed as Coulibaly pushed far forward. Up to five attacking players were involved in the high press.

The match & analysis:
BVB were the clearly superior side but only had clear sight of the Stuttgart goal twice in the opening period. Goalkeeper Kobel kept out Dahoud's shot from long range in the 14th minute and then stopped an effort from Reus – who had been brilliantly set up by Hummels – from 14 metres out 20 minutes later. Instead, the Swabians took the lead courtesy of one of their rare attacks. The goal was set up not by the attack-minded Coulibaly, but by the much deeper-lying Sosa on the left flank. His curling cross was met by Kalajdzic, whose header wrong-footed Hitz and looped into the top corner (17).


Borussia worked hard, racked up the corner-kicks (7-0), had twice as many shots (10) as the reticent Swabians and won 56% of the challenges – yet they were 1-0 down at the break.

Mats Hummels stayed in the dressing room – "he wasn't feeling well" – and was replaced by Emre Can at the start of the second period. Only 80 seconds were on the clock before the ball was in the back of the Stuttgart net! A corner was initially cleared but Reus regained possession and Dahoud fed Reyna in the box, who teed up Bellingham and the Englishman fired home from 16 metres to make it 1-1. Reyna sprinted down the right flank five minutes later and squared the ball towards Morey, who tried to play in Haaland. But the Norwegian spotted Reus in a better position on the left of the box and let the ball run through to the captain, who placed it in the far corner. The goalscorer was forced off a short while later following a heavy challenge from Didavi and was replaced by Knauff (67).

Haaland might have made it 3-1 seconds earlier following a fast counter-attacking move involving Guerreiro and Reus (65). Coulibaly was played in unmarked by Didavi seconds later but showed his nerves (66), before Delaney thwarted the danger after Didavi's scissor kick (72).

With Bellingham receiving treatment off the field of play, the Black & Yellows were caught out following a misplaced pass and were outnumbered as Stuttgart countered and Didavi slotted home (78). But BVB were back in front two minutes later. Haaland squared to Knauff 20 metres out. His route to goal was initially blocked but he created half a yard of space for himself and curled the ball into the bottom corner from 16 metres.

Next up are three home games in a row: BVB will take on Manchester City for a place in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday (21:00 CET), before welcoming Werder Bremen (Sunday at 15:30 CET) and Union Berlin (the following Wednesday at 20:30 CET) to Signal Iduna Park.

Teams & goals