After losing 5-0 to Bayern Munich and claiming a nervy 2-1 win over Mainz in recent weeks, Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus says his side’s comfortable 4-0 victory in Freiburg has breathed new life into their title hopes.
Second-placed Dortmund were rarely troubled in the Black Forest on Matchday 30 as goals from Jadon Sancho, Reus, Mario Götze and Paco Alcacer enabled Lucien Favre's men to close the gap on leaders Bayern back to a point with four rounds of fixtures to go.
"We grew in confidence during the game and played good football at times," Reus told bundesliga.com after Dortmund recorded their 21st league win of the season. "All our games have been difficult, but it was definitely an improvement on our performances in the last two or three weeks."
Although a polished team display, Reus was once again the catalyst for victory in a game Dortmund could not afford to lose following Bayern’s slender 1-0 win against Werder Bremen 24 hours earlier. The BVB skipper instigated Sancho’s opener and eased the pressure with the second goal - his 16th of the campaign - early in the second half.
After sliding in Götze for Dortmund’s third, the 29-year-old had the opportunity to double his tally for the afternoon from the penalty spot, but instead handed the ball to substitute striker Paco Alcacer. The Spain international responded to his skipper’s selfless act by dispatching his 17th Bundesliga goal of the season with aplomb.
"It’s been tough for Paco sitting gone the bench, and you have to function as a team - that’s why it’s important to show some love to all the players," Reus said of his decision not to take the 87th-minute spot-kick himself. "I was always going to let him take the penalty."
Winning successive Bundesliga matches for only the second time in 2019, Reus says Dortmund can go into their final four matches of the campaign with renewed confidence. The Black Yellows host Schalke in the Revierderby next weekend, before taking on top-six hopefuls Bremen (a), already safe Fortuna Düsseldorf (h) and top-four contenders Borussia Mönchengladbach (a).
And even though they need Bayern to drop at least two points - the defending champions have a vastly superior goal difference - in order to retake top spot and claim a first Bundesliga title since 2012, Dortmund’s captain fantastic insists his side will not give up hope as long as they are mathematically in the running.
"We want to keep the pressure on Bayern right until the end, and fortunately we were able to do that today," Reus explained.
"We’ve got two days to recuperate, and then we’ll start preparing for the derby [against Schalke]. It’s not a normal game, we know that - but we’re at home, we’re full of confidence again and we want to keep fighting at the top of the table. We have to keep believing we can win the title."