Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund restored their lead over Bayern Munich to six points with a hard-earned 1-0 win at RB Leipzig on Saturday.
RB Leipzig 0-1 Borussia Dortmund
Goals: 0-1 Witsel (19')
The onus was on Dortmund after Bayern closed the gap to the top to three points with victory over Hoffenheim in Friday night’s game. Captain Marco Reus’ injury-enforced absence rocked the boat, but BVB delivered the necessary response. After dominating for long periods, Lucien Favre’s men went ahead in the 19th minute when Axel Witsel, who had already tested Peter Gulacsi from range, thundered in off the underside of the crossbar following a Raphael Guerreiro corner. Dortmund had the chance to double their advantage late in the first half, but centre-back Abdou Diallo sent his header from Guerreiro’s free-kick narrowly wide.
Leipzig emerged after the restart with renewed purpose as Marcel Sabitzer forced Roman Bürki into the first of a string of important saves. Dortmund’s Swiss stopper was almost caught out attempting to clear a Thomas Delaney back-pass, but recovered to disposes Timo Werner and clear the danger. Dortmund’s only chance of note had fallen moments earlier to Maximilian Philipp, who was denied by Gulacsi’s outstretched boot. The action was otherwise largely centred on Bürki’s goal, with Yussuf Poulsen and Sabitzer thwarted by a quite brilliant individual display. Paco Alcacer could have put the result beyond any doubt in the 90th minute, but crashed his effort from fellow substitute Christian Pulisic's pass against the crossbar. The league leaders were almost made to pay in added time, but Matheus Cunha headed into the side-netting.
- Leipzig were defeated 4-1 in Dortmund on the opening day. Witsel scored his first Bundesliga goal in that game.
- Ralf Rangnick's side suffered their first home defeat of the Bundesliga season.
- Reus missed a Bundesliga match for the first time in 2018/19.
- BVB have only lost once this season. They are the division's top scorers with 45 goals and boast the joint-meanest defence with only 18 conceded.
- Dortmund's Real Madrid loanee Achraf Hakimi is yet to lose in 13 matches in the Bundesliga.
- Dortmund had a 12-point lead over second place after 18 matches when they won the league in 2010/11. They were level with Bayern on 37 points at the same juncture the following season, but finished as champions, some eight points ahead of their nearest rivals.
Leipzig: Gulacsi – Klostermann, Konate, Upamecano, Halstenberg – Laimer (Augustin 88'), Demme (Cunha 81'), Kampl (c) – Sabitzer, Poulsen, Werner
Unused subs: Mvogo, Saracchi, Orban, Adams, Mukiele
Out: Haidara (knee), Forsberg (fitness), Bruma (ankle), Ilsanker (suspended)
Coach: Ralf Rangnick
Dortmund: Bürki – Piszczek (c), Weigl, Diallo, Hakimi – Witsel, Delaney – Sancho (Wolf 88'), Philipp (Alcacer 79'), Guerreiro (Pulisic 76') – Götze
Unused subs: Hitz, Dahoud, Schmelzer, Bruun Larsen
Out: Reus (ankle), Akanji (hip), Balerdi (U20 South American Championship), Zagadou (fitness), Toprak (muscle injury)
Coach: Lucien Favre
Watch: Witsel preaches patience after Leipzig victory