bundesliga

Claudio Pizarro delivers hammer blow to Borussia Dortmund's title hopes in thrilling Werder Bremen fightback

Borussia Dortmund’s title hopes hang in the balance after Claudio Pizarro helped Werder Bremen fight back from 2-0 down to rescue a draw that leaves BVB four points behind Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich with only two games to go.

Werder Bremen 2-2 Borussia Dortmund
Goals: 0-1
Pulisic (6’), 0-2 Alcacer (41’), 1-2 Möhwald (70’), 2-2 Pizarro (75’)

Beginning the match five points adrift of Bayern following the defending champions’ 3-1 win over Hannover, Dortmund got off to a dream start. There didn’t appear to be much on for Christian Pulisic when he collected the ball some 40 yards from goal, but the USA international only had one thing on his mind as he drove forwards before coolly side-footing past the advancing Jiri Pavlenka. Mario Götze forced a strong save from Pavlenka and Pulisic headed over before Paco Alcacer added a second. The Spain striker dispatched a stunning free-kick following a Marco Friedl foul on Pulisic, breaking the Bundesliga’s goals-per-minute record in the process.

Dortmund had dropped points from similar positions in the past, but there were no obvious signs of any nerves as Raphael Guerreiro threatened a third soon after the restart. Pulisic glanced a Götze cross wide and Thomas Delaney forced a finger-stop save out of Pavlenka, before Alcacer had an effort ruled out for offside. It was one-way traffic as Pavlenka denied Alcacer his second of the night, but a Roman Bürki fumble allowed substitute Kevin Möhwald’s harmless-looking strike to reduce the arrears. Werder were level five minutes later, with fellow substitute Pizarro doing former club Bayern a huge favour with an emphatic finish following a mistake by Manuel Akanji. Milot Rashica tested Bürki as Dortmund played out the remainder with only one recognised defender on the pitch, acutely aware their title dreams will be over if Bayern win in Leipzig next weekend.

Christian Pulisic's stunning early goal set the tone for an enthralling contest in Bremen. - imago images / Team 2

Match stats

  • Bremen have failed to score just once in the Bundesliga this season, in their 1-0 Matchday 30 defeat to Bayern Munich.
  • Alcacer scored his 18th Bundesliga goal of the season. He has the best goals-per-minutes ratio in Bundesliga history (one every 59 minutes).
  • Alcacer has scored a league-high five long-range goals this season, as well as a joint-best three direct free-kicks - more than Dortmund manages in their previous four campaigns combined.
  • Pulisic scored his third Bundesliga goal of the season, and first since Matchday 25.
  • Pizarro has scored 20 Bundesliga goals as a substitute. Only Nils Petersen has netted more from the bench (21).

Line-ups

Bremen: Pavlenka - Friedl, Veljkovic, Langkamp, Augustinsson - M. Eggestein, Sahin (Möhwald 60'), Klaassen - Osako (Pizarro 60'), Kruse (c), Rashica
Unused subs: Kapino, Bejimo, Harnik, Sargent
Out: Bargfrede (thigh), Bartels (thigh), Moisander (suspended),
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt

Dortmund: Bürki – Akanji, Weigl, Diallo (Philipp 90'), Guerreiro - Witsel, Delaney (Dahoud 83') - Sancho, Götze (c) (Bruun Larsen 82'), Pulisic - Alcacer
Unused subs: Hitz, Piszczek, Schmelzer, Toprak
Out: Hakimi (metatarsal), Reus (suspended), Wolf (suspended), Zagadou (knee)
Coach: Lucien Favre

Watch: Christian Pulisic vows not to give up in title race