Borussia Dortmund suffered a bitter setback in their bid to qualify for the Champions League on Matchday 27 of the Bundesliga season. The Black & Yellows were beaten 2-1 (1-1) by direct rivals SG Eintracht Frankfurt and now find themselves seven points adrift of fourth place with only seven matches of the season remaining.
Boris Rupert reporting
Mats Hummels scored on the stroke of half-time to cancel out Frankfurt's early lead (Nico Schulz own goal) in a match that was hotly contested by both sides. Andre Silva then scored the winning goal for the visitors with three minutes of normal time to go.
Fifth versus fourth: there were four points separating Borussia from Eintracht and the fourth Champions League spot. Including the 2017 DFB Cup final, BVB were unbeaten in nine games against the Eagles (W5 D4). SGE were on a longer winless streak against BVB than they were against any other current Bundesliga club. And the men from Hesse had only won once at SIGNAL IDUNA PARK in the previous 29 years – a 3-2 victory on 7 February 2010. BVB had won each of their last nine home games against Eintracht – their longest home winning streak against a current Bundesliga club.
Head coach Edin Terzic was now without Youssoufa Moukoko in addition to the injured quartet of Jadon Sancho, Marcel Schmelzer, Axel Witsel and Dan-Axel Zagadou. Captain Marco Reus and Raphael Guerreiro returned to the starting XI, while Mateu Morey started on the bench. There were four changes to the side that had drawn 2-2 in Cologne 14 days earlier. Manuel Akanji and Thomas Delaney joined Reus and Guerreiro in returning to the team, with Thomas Meunier, Mo Dahoud, Julian Brandt and Gio Reyna making way.
Terzic lined his charges up in a 4-3-3. Jude Bellingham alternated between defensive midfield (alongside Delaney) and a No. 10 role alongside Guerreiro, who was deployed in a central attacking position for the first time. Reus began on the left side of a three-pronged attack. Eintracht opted for a 3-4-1-2 system with two strikers (Jovic and Silva), a No. 10 (Younes) and an extremely attack-minded left winger in Kostic. The Eagles pressed intensely high up the pitch, which consistently presented Borussia with counter-attacking opportunities upon winning the ball back. Nico Schulz frequently pushed forward down the left. If the build-up play was slower, Hummels would be pressed by Jovic.
The match & analysis:
The bold approach adopted by the visitors from Frankfurt in the opening stages repeatedly left them with gaps at the back. In the third minute of the match, Reus played the ball in but Ilsanker cleared at the last second as Haaland prepare to shoot. Another chance followed five minutes later when Hazard's cross was blocked, but Guerreiro's volley from 18 metres flew wide.
Eintracht then took a highly fortuitous lead against the run of play in the 11th minute. Kostic crossed the ball into the centre from the left flank and it looped off the head of Schulz – who was locked in an aerial battle with Silva on the edge of the six-yard box – and over Hitz into the top corner. It was the kind of goal an attacker "would not score once in 100 attempts", as former goal-getter Norbert Dickel put it on the BVB Radio.
BVB needed some time to find their way back into the game. Guerreiro teed up Haaland in the 21st minute, who shot wide of the mark. The Norwegian was set up again by Guerreiro four minutes later but goalkeeper Trapp kept out his effort from a centre-right position with his foot. Hummels then grabbed a deserved leveller on the stroke of half-time: Can chested Reus' corner-kick into the six-yard box and Hummels pounced to fire home.
The visitors clearly dominated the opening minutes of the second period: they attacked quickly and directly, claiming for a penalty – not for the first time – following a challenge between Hummels and Durm in the 48th minute. From the next attack in the 52nd minute, Kostic shot narrowly wide of the upright from 16 metres out. Terzic then shuffled his pack, bringing on Dahoud for Bellingham. Knauff replaced Hazard on the hour mark.
BVB now had the game back under control. Guerreiro had a shot that flew straight into Trapp's arms in the 60th minute – but it was their first attempt at goal of the second period. The game increasingly took place in the Frankfurt half. And yet the men from Hesse were the ones celebrating soon afterwards when Ilsanker headed home Kostic's free-kick in the 65th minute. The video assistant referee disallowed the goal for offside, however.
But there would be more goalscoring opportunities to come for Frankfurt in this extremely intense and hard-fought encounter, with the shot count standing at 14-10 after 80 minutes.
Having brought on Reyna and Reinier for Schulz and Reus, the Black & Yellows pushed for the goal that would put them in front and secure the win in the closing stages. But instead they went 2-1 down following a counter-attack. Hummels tackled Jovic, but Kostic crossed in from the left and Silva directed his header between the keeper and the post (87).
Today's match marked the start of a run that will see BVB play seven matches in the space of 22 days. Next up is an away game against Manchester City on Wednesday, followed by a trip to VfB Stuttgart on Saturday.