Jadon Sancho put the seal on Borussia Dortmund's first win of 2021 as he showed great composure to take his first goal of the season and see off Wolfsburg, after Manuel Akanji had put the Westphalians in front.
Wolfsburg had only lost once all season and they made an appropriately confident start. After a skirmish in the Dortmund penalty area, the ball fell for Xaver Schlager, but he dragged his shot wide with several Dortmund players nevertheless back covering their goal. Schlager then pulled a cross back for Yannick Gerhardt to take aim from an even better position, but a deflection took his effort onto the left-hand post. Marco Reus squandered Dortmund's first chance of the game at the other end, with Gio Reyna teeing him up superbly for a shot that Koen Casteels turned behind, and it was Casteels who became the protagonist towards the end of the half too, parrying an Erling Haaland shot which Sancho scuffed wide with the best opening of the first 45 minutes. Casteels had the final touch of the half too, pushing a Reus free-kick wide and landing badly on his left hand.
The Belgian custodian left the field wincing, but when he returned for the second half, he allayed any injury fears with a remarkable one-handed save to deny Haaland. Thomas Delaney headed a Reus free-kick just wide before another set-piece, this time a Sancho corner, set up Akanji to head in for the hosts. Akanji went close to an almost carbon-copy second goal, heading just inches wide of the right-hand post from another Sancho corner, and the let-off sparked Wolfsburg back into life with Weghorst uncharacteristically scooping the ball over from close range. Steffen Tigges replaced Haaland to make his Bundesliga debut and the forward very nearly marked it with a goal within moments of taking to the turf, but for a goalline clearance from John Brooks. Wolfsburg coach Oliver Glasner then gambled with Daniel Ginczek and Bartosz Bialek both sent on for the final minutes, but as they pushed for an equaliser, Dortmund raced to the other end following a Wolfsburg corner with Sancho showing sublime composure to finish past Casteels and seal victory with his first goal of the season.
- Sancho scored his first goal of the campaign with his 26th shot on goal of the season. He scored 17 times from 53 shots on goal last season.
- Akanji's goal was his second of 2020/21. The defender has now scored twice as often this season as in the last three campaigns combined.
- Two of Akanji's four shots this season have been scored, and this was his first headed goal in the Bundesliga.
- Haaland returned to the Dortmund starting XI after missing seven games through injury; his last appearance came on 28 November in a 2-1 defeat at home to Cologne.
- 22-year-old forward Tigges made his Bundesliga debut for BVB.
- BVB are unbeaten in their last 11 Bundesliga matches against Wolfsburg, winning 10.
Watch: Delaney: "Sancho is working hard to rediscover his form"
Dortmund: Bürki - Meunier, Akanji, Hummels, Guerreiro - Witsel, Delaney - Sancho, Reus (c) (Can 85'), Reyna (Zagadou 90'+2) - Haaland (Tigges 81')
Unused subs: Hitz, Morey, Dahoud, Schulz, Brandt, Piszczek
Out: Bellingham (knock), Hazard (muscular), Moukoko (knee), Schmelzer (knee)
Coach: Edin Terzic
Wolfsburg: Casteels (c) - Baku, Brooks, Pongracic (Lacroix 78'), Otavio - Gerhardt (Mehmedi 71'), Arnold - Steffen (Ginczek 86'), Schlager (Bialek 86'), Brekalo (Victor 71') - Weghorst
Unused subs: Kasten, William, Mbabu, Guilavogui
Out: Pervan (not included), Philipp (not included), Roussillon (not included)
Coach: Oliver Glasner