Borussia Dortmund are not giving up in the fight for a UEFA Champions League place; six points in the last nine days mean their competitors are being made to feel the pressure.
The 3-2 win away to VfB Stuttgart and the 4-1 win at home to Werder Bremen mean BVB are firmly back in the top-four race with five matchdays remaining. The gap between third-placed VfL Wolfsburg and Borussia has been more than halved - from 11 points to five - in the space of two matchdays. Fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt are also in touching distance with just a four-point advantage over the Black & Yellows.
''We've got a second chance to qualify for the Champions League after all,'' said Marco Reus, adding: ''We want to put on the pressure and we have to keep up our momentum. We're only four and five points behind. Now it's all to play for again.''
Edin Terzic was asked on Sunday whether Saturday's results, with Frankfurt and Wolfsburg both losing, would give his side extra motivation: ''Of course we were aware of what happened in the Bundesliga yesterday, but that wouldn't count for anything if we hadn't picked up the three points here today,'' responded the coach: ''If we want to influence the league table, then the only way to do that is by picking up points ourselves.''
It was a tactical adjustment - Mo Dahoud played in a deeper role where he could help prevent Bremer counter-attacks through the midfield - that allowed Borussia to take control of the game. The visitors didn't have a single shot on goal between the 29th and 63rd minutes and BVB were able to come back from 1-0 down to go 3-1 ahead thanks to goals from Giovanni Reyna and Erling Haaland, who grabbed his ninth brace of the Bundesliga season - more than any other Dortmund player since the establishment of the Bundesliga in 1963. Although the Black & Yellows had to weather a few tricky moments, the result was never really in any doubt.
This was due in no small part to the excellent Gio Reyna, who posed a constant headache for the Bremen defence. The playmaker finished the game with a goal and an assist to his name, while also creating big chances for Jude Bellingham in the first half and Erling Haaland in the second which Bremen goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka did exceptionally well to save. ''Gio is still a teenager,'' said Terzic about the young Reyna, who ended a cold streak of 15 games without a goal: ''It's completely normal to have phases in which things aren't running so smoothly. We've always placed our trust in him and we've worked hard to help him feel confident taking on players one-on-one again.''
''We're not taking our foot off the pedal. We want to press down even harder so that we can perform even better in three days' time,'' said Terzic on Sunday evening in reference to Wednesday night's encounter with Union Berlin. At the same time, competitors VfL Wolfsburg will be in action away to VfB Stuttgart. Then, on Saturday, the two teams go head-to-head.
''We're back in there,'' says Marco Reus. The team's success and the opposition's failings have ''lifted our belief somewhat,'' says Terzic, adding: ''Things were looking different 14 days ago. Six points and defeats elsewhere on Saturday meant everything is a lot closer now.'' The head coach was also cautiously pleased with ''the performances over the last seven days, even if not everything has been perfect.''