Borussia Dortmund overcame their precarious personnel situation to record a 4-3 (1-2) win in the big-name match-up away to Bayer 04 Leverkusen. The result means BVB have three wins from four games so far this season. The Black & Yellows showed great morale to come back from a goal down on three occasions thanks to goals from Haaland, Brandt and Guerreiro. In the end, a 77th-minute penalty from Haaland proved decisive, meaning the players could celebrate a memorable victory after six-and-a-half minutes of injury time!
Boris Rupert reporting from Leverkusen
17,605 spectators were allowed to attend, and they were once again treated to a breathtaking match between these two sides. Leverkusen took the lead in the ninth minute through Wirtz. BVB then celebrated what looked like back-to-back goals from Haaland (37) and Bellingham (39), but the young Englishman's effort was chalked off due to a foul committed by Dahoud in the build-up. Instead, the scoreboard read 2-1 in favour of the home side at half-time, as Schick finished off a counter-attack in injury time. The pace didn't let off in the second half: just six minutes separated Brandt's equaliser (49) from Diaby's goal to give Leverkusen a 3-2 lead. In the clash of the two highest-scoring teams this season, the thrill ride continued: Guerreiro found the back of the net with a 71st-minute free-kick to make it 3-3 before Haaland fired Borussia into their first lead of the game from the penalty spot in the 77th minute.
Second versus fifth. Leverkusen had kicked off the new campaign with seven points and had only lost one of their last seven Bundesliga matches across this season and last: a 3-1 defeat in Dortmund on 22 May. BVB had won nine of their last ten league matches and only lost in three of their last 12 meetings with Leverkusen (winning eight and drawing one of the remaining nine).
BVB had to make do without the injured Can, Collins, Coulibaly, Hazard, Morey, Reyna, Schulz, Tigges and Zagadou. Two weeks after the spectacular 3-2 win over Hoffenheim, there were two changes to the starting XI, with Pongracic and Brandt replacing Reyna and Malen.
As has been the case in every competitive match so far this season, BVB started with a 4-4-2 diamond formation, albeit with some adjustments: Witsel moved back to occupy the ''six'' role, Dahoud played as the left-sided midfielder, while club captain Reus shifted forward to join Haaland up front, leaving Brandt to play as the number ten. Leverkusen operated in a 4-2-3-1 formation, switching to a compact 4-4-2 without the ball. Interestingly, striker Schick dropped back into midfield, leaving Paulinho and Wirtz as the two players furthest up the pitch. Despite their tactical differences, both sides looked to play fast-paced and direct football down the middle.
The match and analysis:
Borussia seemed to have the upper-hand early on, as the home side primarily sought to play on the counter. However, a mistake in build-up play from the Black & Yellows meant it was Leverkusen who grabbed the first goal. Wirtz seized his opportunity and toe-poked the ball home to make it 1-0 in the ninth minute.
Not long afterwards, BVB had the chance to equalise: Pongragic played a ball to the centrally-positioned Reus, who let it run onto Haaland. The striker teed up Brandt on the edge of the area, whose shot soared over the bar (11). Four minutes later, Reus had a sight of goal, but the angle was too tight to get the better of Hradecky. In the 17th minute, Tah got his body in the way of a Reus shot to preserve the Leverkusen lead.
Overall, despite an impressive performance from Pongracic, Borussia looked vulnerable at the back. Too often they left the Leverkusen forwards with too much space. However, just as it looked like Bayer were going to make it 2-0, BVB managed to snatch an equaliser. Brandt switched the play over to the right, Meunier curled in a cross towards the head of Haaland, who rose up and found the back of the net to make it 1-1 (37). Two minutes later, the approximately 1,500 BVB fans were celebrating what looked like their team's second goal. Once again it was Meunier who played a cross towards Haaland. This time the Norwegian didn't make clean contact, but little did it matter, as Bellingham was on hand to nod home. But then the video assistant stepped in: referee Siebert took a closer look and duly called the play back due to a foul from Dahoud in the build-up.
Aggrieved to see his goal ruled out, Bellingham snatched possession from Bakker and drove forward into the box before being stopped in his tracks by the defence around seven metres out (44). Instead, it was Leverkusen who were celebrating a 2-1 lead before half-time. After a successful tackle from Demirbay, Wirtz carried the ball forward before slipping it to Schick near the edge of the box, who made no mistake in finding the far-corner (45+1).
The Black & Yellows came out all guns blazing from the dressing room at half-time. After two minutes, Guerreiro fired just wide of the right post. Then it was Meunier who provided the impetus for the team's second goal. On the right of the box, Brandt controlled Haaland's one-touch pass with technical deftness, took a second touch past Tah and then blasted the ball into the roof of the net from close range.
However, Leverkusen soon went in front for a third time in this spectacular afternoon of football. Haaland's clearance from a corner fell to Diaby, who controlled the ball 20 metres from goal, took a couple of steps forward and then drilled a low shot into the bottom-right corner to make it 3-2 (55).
Rose made a change: Malen came on to replace Witsel in the 65th minute, with Dahoud moving back to his usual position at the base of midfield. Not long afterwards, Bellingham was felled by Wirtz as he looked to counter - free-kick for BVB, 21 metres out, slightly to the right of goal. Reus and Guerreiro had a chat. The Portuguese stepped up and curled home a majestic effort to make it 3-3 (71). Five minutes later, a BVB attack seemed to have petered out before Kossounou, who was shielding the ball, caught Reus in the face. Penalty kick, which Haaland drilled into the bottom-left corner to give BVB a 4-3 lead.
In the six minutes of injury time, substitute Wolf failed to put the result beyond doubt as he was denied by Hradecky from close range.
On Wednesday, Borussia Dortmund will kick off their UEFA Champions League campaign away to Besiktas (kick-off 18:45 CET). The team will then pick things up in the Bundesliga with a home game against Union Berlin on Sunday (17:30 CET).