Borussia Dortmund kept up their push for a UEFA Champions League place by winning their fifth game in a row on Matchday 32 of the Bundesliga season. Despite having had their 2-0 lead cancelled out, the Black & Yellows ultimately beat second-placed Rasenballsport Leipzig 3-2 (1-0) thanks to a late winner.
Boris Rupert reporting
Marco Reus fired his team into the lead on the seven-minute mark. BVB then doubled their lead early in the second half through Jadon Sancho's 51st-minute strike. Leipzig fought back and restored parity at 2-2 through Lukas Klostermann and Dani Olmo's goals in the 63rd and 77th minutes respectively, but it was Borussia who had the last laugh as Sancho scored his second goal late on to seal three important points (87).
Fifth versus second. Nine points separated the clubs. The Black & Yellows were unbeaten in six Bundesliga matches against the men from Saxony (W4 D2). There had been 17 goals in their last four meetings at Signal Iduna Park, equating to around four per game.
Borussia were without Bellingham, who had been red-carded in Wolfsburg, and the injured Morey, Moukoko, Schmelzer, Witsel and Zagadou. Haaland was not yet ready to return either. Head coach Edin Terzic made one change to the starting XI that had beaten Kiel 5-0 in the cup semi-final a week earlier, Dahoud returning from suspension in place of the suspended Bellingham.
Like in Wolfsburg, BVB took to the field in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Can partnering Dahoud in central defensive midfield. That gave Reus more freedom in his central attacking role, which he made clever use of. Borussia played one-twos to pull their opponents out of position. Leipzig played in a flexible 3-4-3. Forwards Hwang, Forsberg and Olmo switched positions and roles. When the visitors had possession of the ball, their full-backs pushed high up the pitch.
The match & analysis:
Leipzig made the better start, and Hitz did well to clear the danger as Hummels was put under pressure by Hwang in the third minute. BVB were the better team overall in the first half, however. Their first chance fell to Reus in the fourth minute, whose effort was turned behind for a corner. But a brilliant attack brought about the opener three minutes later: Reus let Piszczek's pass run through to Hazard, who flicked the ball back to Reus. The captain turned on the afterburners and cut into the box from the right, before firing home emphatically from close range.
The Black & Yellows allowed Leipzig to link up at will until they approached the halfway line, but then showed consistency and concentration in the challenges and created a number of dangerous moments on the counter-attack. The best chance to make it 2-0 fell to Hazard, who was played through in the centre-right channel but was denied by Gulacsi's foot (32). Sancho hit the side-netting on the counter four minutes later (36).
Injury forced BVB into making a change at the interval. Hitz, who had required lengthy treatment on the stroke of half-time after his knee had been caught by Akanji, stayed in the changing rooms and was replaced by Bürki, who was soon called into action to keep out Sabitzer (47). At the other end Can switched the play to Guerreiro, who quickly picked out Sancho. The Englishman dribbled into the box from the left and cutely curled the ball low into the far corner from the edge of the six-yard box. 2-0, 51 minutes played!
BVB continued to look lively, but a short while later Leipzig seized control and posed a constant goal threat, eventually scoring when Klostermann headed home Forsberg's corner (63). Borussia got lucky a short while later when Hwang was blocked (66) and Olmo struck the side-netting from close range (68). The visitors pressed and found the net again in the 77th minute when Haidara picked out Hwang, who held off his opponent on the left of the box and spotted Olmo making the run. The Spaniard easily slotted home for 2-2.
The game was end to end in the closing stages. The Black & Yellows became more attacking and Reus could have made it 3-2, but Upamecano cleared for a corner (83). The all-important goal came four minutes later, however. Brandt found Sancho, who backheeled the ball into Guerreiro's path and then slotted home the Portuguese's return pass to make it 3-2 on 87 minutes.
The clubs will go head to head again next Thursday (20:45 CET) in the 78th edition of the DFB Cup final. The Black & Yellows have two more league games on the agenda after that – against FSV Mainz 05 (Sunday 16 May, 18:00 CET) and Bayer 04 Leverkusen (Saturday 22 May, 15:30 CET).