bundesliga

Christian Pulisic was back among the goals as Borussia Dortmund downed VfB Stuttgart

Paco Alcacer and Christian Pulisic scored vital late goals for Borussia Dortmund as they got the better of VfB Stuttgart to stay level on points with Bayern Munich, despite slipping off the summit of the Bundesliga for the first time since late September.

Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Stuttgart

Goals: 1-0 Reus (pen. 62'), 1-1 Kempf (71'), 2-1 Alcacer (84'), 3-1 Pulisic (90'+2)

Stuttgart captain Andreas Beck fired a warning shot over Roman Bürki's goal in the very first minute of the game, but Dortmund were soon camped in the Stuttgart half, with an excellent Mario Götze pulling the strings. The Germany international put in two lovely balls for Alcacer early on, but the Spaniard was unable to convert them into genuine scoring chances. The visitors defended stoutly, with Marc-Oliver Kempf doing a brilliant job to tackle Marco Reus in the area and then block Axel Witsel's follow-up drive. With the driving rain making it difficult for Dortmund to develop their slick passing game and BVB's final ball lacking quality, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Guerreiro tried their luck from distance, but the impressive Ron-Robert Zieler was equal to both attempts. Nicolas Gonzalez had the best chance at the other end, with his scuffed effort from Steven Zuber's precise pass trickling just wide, but Stuttgart will have been satisfied to go in at the break with the scoreline still 0-0.

It took Dortmund ten minutes of the second half to carve out a meaningful chance, as Reus controlled delightfully before squaring for Guerreiro, but the Portugal winger didn't get hold of his shot. BVB had a golden opportunity to take the lead a few minutes later, though, as Sancho was clipped by former Dortmund midfielder Gonzalo Castro just inside the area, and the referee – after consulting with VAR – awarded a penalty. Reus made absolutely no mistake, drilling in his 14th goal of the season to put the hosts ahead. But the lead was short-lived – two minutes after Zieler got the better of a one-on-one with Alcacer, the unmarked Kempf headed in Castro's free-kick from close range for 1-1. Facing the prospect of falling two points behind Bayern, BVB piled on the pressure in the closing stages with Alcacer going close from a direct free-kick, and it was the Spaniard who restored their lead with six minutes to go, smashing into the roof of the net after a goal-mouth scramble. Pulisic came off the bench to add some gloss to the scoreline with a well-taken third from Götze's pass, as Lucien Favre's charges responded to Bayern's 6-0 demolition of Wolfsburg.

"Me first, Christian!" - Paco Alcacer (2nd r.) and Christian Pulisic (c.) scored potentially crucial goals in the Bundesliga title race as they saw Borussia Dortmund past a dogged VfB Stuttgart. - imago images / Focus Images

Match stats

  • Dortmund have dropped to second in the table behind Bayern for the first time since Matchday 5. They have a goal difference of +33 compared to Bayern's +35.
  • Reus is up to 14 goals for the Bundesliga season, as many as he managed in the previous two campaigns.
  • The Dortmund captain has now opened the scoring with 47 of his 113 Bundesliga goals.
  • Alcacer had the most shots on goal in the game (five) and also netted his 14th of the season.
  • Pulisic scored his second goal of the season, the first since a 1-1 draw with Hoffenheim in September.
  • Kempf also got his second goal of the campaign, matching his career-best tally with Freiburg in 2014/15.

Line-ups

Dortmund: Bürki - Wolf (Zagadou 88'), Akanji, Diallo, Hakimi - Witsel - Sancho, Reus (c), Götze, Guerreiro (Pulisic 79') - Alcacer (Delaney 90'+1)
Unused subs: Hitz, Balerdi, Schmelzer, Bruun Larsen
Out: Dahoud (ill), Philipp (knee), Piszczek (heel), Toprak (ill), Weigl (ill)
Coach: Lucien Favre

Stuttgart: Zieler - Beck (c), Pavard, Kabak, Kempf, Insua (Gomez 88') - Esswein, Ascacibar, Castro, Zuber (Donis 70') - Gonzalez (Gentner 74')
Unused subs: Grahl, Aogo, Baumgartl, Didavi
Out: Maffeo (illness), Sosa (groin)
Coach: Markus Weinzierl

Watch: Marco Reus admits Dortmund are not quite firing on all cylinders in 2019