Borussia Dortmund tightened their grip on second place and edged closer to qualifying for the UEFA Champions League next season with Emre Can earning them a 1-0 win over Hertha Berlin, who lost for the first time under Bruno Labbadia.
With Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen both losing, and RB Leipzig dropping points this weekend, Dortmund had an opportunity to all but mathematically secure their place in the UEFA Champions League next season with a win, but as we have seen since the Bundesliga restart, Hertha are no pushovers under Labbadia. And so it was that the Old Lady did their renewed reputation, with three clean sheets in four games, further justice with a solid defensive display. Thorgan Hazard sliced a shot wide right of goal, with Julian Brandt screwing an effort past the very same post as Dortmund built a familiar amount of attacks, but without finding the time or space to bring any to a successful conclusion in the first 45 minutes.
Dortmund did find a key to unlock the Hertha defence five minutes into the second half, but Jadon Sancho uncharacteristically placed his shot wide of the left-hand upright from Achraf Hakimi's pass. It was the moment which prised the game open, however, with Hertha realising they should not rely on defending alone, and Alexander Esswein duly sent their first dangerous shot just inches wide of the far post. That, in turn, convinced Dortmund to up the ante: Jadon Sancho's cross was headed down masterfully by Brandt for Can to supply a side-footed finish to a sublime move. Another fluid move almost saw Sancho put the icing on the cake, but the England international's shot was blocked as the game entered into stoppage time.
- Dortmund have won 30 out of 66 Bundesliga meetings with Hertha, who have won none of the last six (D2, L4).
- Can scored his second goal for Dortmund, and his first at the Signal Iduna Park.
- Favre was Hertha coach from 2007 to September 2009, leading the capital club to fourth place in the 2008/09 season.
- Vedad Ibisevic made his 336th Bundesliga appearance, taking him level with Ze Roberto and behind only Claudio Pizarro, Naldo, Halil Altintop and Levan Kobiashvili as foreign players with the most league appearances.
- Vladimir Darida covered 14.7km in today's game, the most in any Bundesliga game since data collection began.
- Labbadia has never won in Dortmund in eight attempts (four defeats).
Watch: Can: "It wasn't my best shot"
Dortmund: Bürki - Piszczek (c), Can, Akanji - Hakimi, Witsel (Balerdi 80'), Delaney, Guerreiro (Schmelzer 90') - Sancho, Hazard (Morey 79'), Brandt (Reyna 68')
Unused subs: Hitz, Rente, Pherai, Führich, Rashcl
Out: Dahoud (knee), Haaland (knee), Hummels (suspended), Reus (thigh), Schulz (muscular), Zagadou (knee)
Coach: Lucien Favre
Hertha: Jarstein - Pekarik, Boyata, Torunarigha, Mittelstädt - Skjelbred (Piatek 62'), Grujic (Maier 88') - Lukebakio (Ngankam 46'), Darida, Dilrosun (Esswein 30', Samardzic 88') - Ibisevic (c)
Unused subs: Smarsch, Stark, Klünter, Dardai
Out: Ascacibar (foot), Cunha (concussion), Kalou (not included), Kraft (knock), Plattenhardt (concussion), Wolf (match fitness)
Coach: Bruno Labbadia
Watch: Brandt: "We want to make sure of second place"