Mission catch-up continued on Bundesliga Matchday 15 as Borussia Dortmund beat second-placed Rasenballsport Leipzig 3-1 (0-0) away from home in the match of the round to move within three points of their Saxon opponents.
Boris Rupert reporting from Leipzig
In ice-cold temperatures bordering on freezing, both teams cancelled each other out in the opening half. With Borussia looking increasingly dangerous going forward, Jadon Sancho broke the deadlock in the 55th minute – and there were further chances in the minutes that followed to extend the lead. Haaland sealed the away win with goals in the 71st and 84th minutes, before Sörloth reduced the deficit to 3-1 in the 89th minute.
Second-placed Rasenballsport Leipzig went into this game on an eight-match unbeaten streak, achieved in large part thanks to their defensive record of nine goals conceded in 14 matches. Fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund had not lost any of their previous five meetings with Julian Nagelsmann's side and had even won on their last two visits to Saxony.
For the first time this season, BVB stuck with the same XI from the previous week. That said, it was one of the few weeks without midweek matches in a compressed campaign that is a month shorter than usual. Moukoko was back in the squad after recovering from injury, while U23 forward Tigges was involved again. Bellingham remained sidelined with injury.
Leipzig took to the field in a 3-4-3 formation in which left winger Angelino was positioned considerably further forward than Adams, who occupied the same role on the right. As a result, attacking midfielder Forsberg tucked in to make space for the Spaniard to overlap into. Whenever the home side had possession, Haidara would push forward from his role in central midfield. As for Borussia, both their 4-2-3-1 formation and structure remained the same. The Black & Yellows played with great discipline and hardly left any gaps for the opposition.
The match & analysis:
The respect both sides had for each other was clear for all to see, as avoiding mistakes took precedence above taking risk. The vast majority of the first-half play took place between the two penalty areas, although Leipzig had the edge with 54% possession. BVB, however, won more of the challenges (54%).
There was a stroke of misfortune for Borussia in the 28th minute when Witsel caught his left foot in the turf on the edge of the Leipzig box and had to make way for Can.
Though Leipzig attacked with five players – Angelino and Haidara pushed up high and were at times even level with the front three – they could not manage to find a way through. In other words, the Black & Yellows were on high alert in defence and increasingly looked for opportunities to get forward in the final 15 minutes of the first period.
The first "real" attempt on goal of the entire game fell to Reus – who had previously contributed two goals and two assists in two BVB wins and two draws against Leipzig – at the beginning of the second period. Hummels intercepted an opposition attack and played the ball towards Sancho, who picked out the captain on the edge of the box. Gulacsi turned Reus' effort behind for a corner, which was headed over by Can (49).
Shortly afterwards, Haaland and Reus linked up brilliantly in attack with a one-two. Haaland could not be stopped on the right flank and fizzed a square ball in towards Reus, who cleverly flicked the ball behind him and into the path of Sancho on the left of the box. The Englishman slotted an unstoppable first-time finish into the bottom corner from close range (55). Three minutes later, Haaland's shot was blocked for a corner-kick and Guerreiro fired narrowly wide. Sancho then missed the target from a similar position to the one from which he had scored the opening goal. On 65 minutes, Haaland received the ball from Sancho and went for goal but his effort was turned onto the bar by Gulacsi.
With Dortmund looking likely to double their lead, Leipzig switched their system and brought on fresh legs in a bid to regain some control over the game – and might have scored themselves when Olmo struck the post (67).
Delaney, who had played well but was on a booking, made way for Zagadou on 69 minutes. Now playing with a back three, BVB added a second two minutes later. Haaland went past four opponents in the 71st minute before laying the ball out to Sancho on the left. The Englishman exchanged passes with Guerreiro and Can before curling a cross towards the back post, where Haaland won the aerial battle on the edge of the six-yard box and headed home from close range.
BVB not only saw out the win comfortably, but extended their lead with a third goal in the closing stages. Reus played a sensational pass into the path of Haaland from an inside left channel and the Norwegian had no problems rounding Gulacsi before tapping into an empty net (84). Sörloth made it 3-1 in the dying seconds, following up from close range after Bürki had made a spectacular save to keep out his initial effort (89).
BVB will enjoy home advantage next Saturday when they take on 1. FSV Mainz 05. Kick-off at Signal Iduna Park is at 15:30 CET.