Erling Haaland scored his ninth goal in six Bundesliga outings as Borussia Dortmund saw off struggling Werder Bremen on Saturday, with an earlier strike from Dan-Axel Zagadou helping BVB stay four points behind leaders Bayern Munich at the top of the table.
Dortmund coach Lucien Favre kept faith with the same starting XI who got the better of Paris Saint-Germain in midweek, but it was Bremen who made the brighter start, winning a couple of quick corners and controlling the early exchanges. BVB grew into the game, but the expected fireworks between the Bundesliga's best attack and worst defence failed to materialise in a scrappy first half, with the driving rain at the Weser-Stadion doing little to help matters. Dortmund loanee Ömer Toprak had perhaps the best chance for Bremen, clipping just wide from a free-kick, but clear-cut opportunities were at a premium as the two sides cancelled each other out before the interval.
Milot Rashica dragged a shot wide for Bremen shortly after the restart, but it was Dortmund who finally broke the deadlock on 52 minutes. Just after teeing up Haaland for a deflected effort, Zagadou volleyed in a Jadon Sancho corner to open his account for 2019/20. Haaland almost doubled the visitors' advantage immediately, but home keeper Jiri Pavlenka raced off his line to make a key intervention. The Norwegian was not to be denied, though, and got his 12th goal in BVB colours midway through the half, after fine work from Sancho and Achraf Hakimi. Favre's men could have added gloss to the scoreline, with Sancho, Haaland and Hakimi all going close to a third, but they got the job done and kept pace with Bayern at the top. Bremen, 17th, are still without a home league win since September.
- Haaland is the first player to net nine goals in his first six Bundesliga outings. He is now up to 12 goals in eight games for BVB in all competitions, and 40 in total for Red Bull Salzburg and Dortmund in 2019/20.
- Zagadou scored his first Bundesliga goal since 16 March 2019, when he also netted from a Sancho corner in a 3-2 win at Hertha Berlin.
- Sancho has 13 goals and 14 assists to his name in the 2019/20 Bundesliga. Barcelona's Lionel Messi is the only other player in Europe’s top five leagues with double figures for both (18 goals and 12 assists).
- Dortmund are the Bundesliga’s joint-top scorers (alongside Bayern) with 65 goals, which have been spread around a league-high 16 players. Of those 65 goals, 44 have come in the second half, with 17 of them in 2020 alone.
- Bremen have now failed to win any of their last nine Bundesliga home games (D2, L7), stretching back to a 3-2 victory over Augsburg on 1 September 2019. They have also failed to score a league goal at the Weser-Stadion since November.
- The Green-Whites have conceded a league-high 16 goals from set pieces this term, including 11 from corners.
Watch: Axel Witsel: "Erling Haaland is the type of striker we really needed"
Bremen: Pavlenka - Toprak, Moisander (c), Veljkovic (Sargent 82') - Gebre Selassie, Klaassen, Bittencourt (J. Eggestein 67'), Augustinsson - Osako (Woltemade 90'), Selke, Rashica
Unused subs: Kapino, Lang, Pizarro, Langkamp, Sahin, Friedl
Out: Bargfrede (calf), Bartels (groin), M. Eggestein (suspended), Füllkrug (torn ACL), Groß (ill), Möhwald (knee), Vogt (knee)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt
Dortmund: Bürki - Piszczek (c), Hummels, Zagadou - Hakimi (Akanji 90'+3), Can, Witsel, Guerreiro - Sancho (Reyna 77'), Haaland, Hazard (Brandt 90')
Unused subs: Hitz, Dahoud, Götze, Schulz, Balerdi, Schmelzer
Out: Delaney (knee), Reus (groin)
Coach: Lucien Favre
Watch: Emre Can: "It's a lot of fun to play for Dortmund"