VfL Wolfsburg took the spoils in a five-goal thriller at Borussia Dortmund, edging a 3-2 victory to record their first success in four outings and confirm the general upward trend under caretaker coach Lorenz-Günther Köstner.
The defeat leaves Dortmund now 14 points adrift of league leaders FC Bayern, who simultaneously won at Augsburg – and with a veritable mountain to climb if they are to successfully defend their Bundesliga title for the second time. In a topsy-turvy encounter, Marco Reus put BVB in front early on before Marcel Schmelzer was erroneously red-carded prior to Diego levelling from the penalty spot. Naldo then put the visitors in the lead and while Jakub Blaszczykowski restored parity in the second half, also from the spot, Bas Dost earned VfL the points with a 73rd-minute strike.
On the back of their 1-0 Champions League success against Manchester City, with Mario Götze and Polish trio Lukasz Piszczek, Blaszczykowski and Robert Lewandowski restored to the starting line-up, Dortmund hit the ground running in front of a packed-out Signal Iduna Park. With five minutes on the clock, Götze skipped past Makoto Hasebe on the edge of the area, enticing the midfielder into a foul.
Reus swung the resultant free kick past friend and foe alike, guest custodian Diego Benaglio included, and the champs were in front with their summer signing's sixth goal of the campaign. They sought to press home their advantage straight away, and a shaky-looking Wolves defence had a few close calls in the phase that followed, not least when Hasebe pulled out a last-ditch clearance to foil Lewandowski on the quarter-hour mark.
Not long after that, Reus swung in another dangerous free kick which Benaglio this time managed to intercept just ahead of Lewandowski and on 25 minutes the Wolves keeper came out on top in another duel with the Polish frontman as BVB continued to push for number two. Ten minutes before the break though, Wolfsburg were given the opportunity to restore parity in controversial circumstances.
Diego and Vierinha combined well to set up Bas Dost, and his shot from a few metres out was blocked on the line by Marcel Schmelzer - with his hand, according to Wolfgang Stark, who gave him a straight red card. Ás it transpired, the full back had cleared the ball with his knee, as the referee later acknowledged.
As it was, Diego coolly slotted home the resultant penalty and Wolfsburg were right back in it. If that turn of events was unexpected, there was more to come minutes later. A Mats Hummels handball earned Wolfsburg a free kick on the right which Diego swung in behind the home defence for Naldo to plant artistically into the bottom corner and all of a sudden, the Wolves were in front.
So it remained through to the interval and the pattern was unchanged after the restart, Dortmund pressing and VfL holding out and looking to hit them on the break – Ilkay Gündogan stopping one such attempt with a great tackle on Dost ten minutes in with the Dutch striker bearing down on goal. The pressure was mounting on the visitors though and just shy of the hour mark it took its toll, Simon Kjaer hauling Lewandowski down inside the box. Blaszczykowski did the honours from the spot and it was even stevens once again.
Borussia pushed on in search of the winner but the Wolves stuck resolutely to their gameplan and continued to threaten on their occasional forays forward. Diego fired wide when clean through in the 73rd minute, but immediately on the back of that the Brazilian playmaker made amends by sending Dost away and this time the striker made no mistake, planting his seventh goal of the campaign past Roman Weidenfeller.
BVB still had the best part of 20 minutes to salvage the contest, but with the midweek exertions perhaps taking their toll, there was no grand final offensive on this occasion, and Wolfsburg defended their lead astutely through to the finish – Dost even passing up the chance to make it 4-2 in added time.
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