Düsseldorf - Fortuna Düsseldorf dropped right into the thick of the relegation dogfight after going down 2-1 at home to Borussia Dortmund in Matchday 31's late Saturday game.
All change for Dortmund
The win, earned with a goal in each half from Nuri Sahin and Jakub Blaszczykowski, was Dortmund's sixth on the trot in the Bundesliga and keeps the UEFA Champions League semi-finalists well on course for a second-place finish. Düsseldorf, who pulled one back late on through Adam Bodzek, have now gone nine games without a win and are ahead of relegation play-off candidates FC Augsburg on goal difference alone, and just three points clear of second-bottom Hoffenheim.
Head coach Jürgen Klopp made no less than ten changes to the side which started in the 4-1 midweek win against Real Madrid, with Mats Hummels the only player keeping his place. The defensive coordinator had to be on his toes from the off as Fortuna made a lively start, Axel Bellinghausen wasting an early opportunity to put them in front after being teed up by Dani Schahin. Bellinghausen returned the favour in the tenth minute, playing in Schahin for an effort that the forward could only plant wide of the post from close range.
By the quarter-hour mark, the much-reshuffled visitors were showing signs of starting to hit their stride and with 20 minutes played, and right on the back of Julian Schieber hitting the post following a corner, they went in front. Sahin picked up a pass from Moritz Leitner, spotted home keeper Fabian Giefer off his line and unleashed an incredible finish from more than 30 metres out.
In front, BVB continued to stroke the ball around with their habitual confidence, although Hummels had to make a decisive intervention to deflect Fortuna frontman Ken Ilsö's shot over the bar after half an hour. The remainder of the half petered out somewhat as the visitors took their foot off the gas and the hosts struggled to get their own forward game going.
The second 45 began in a similar vein, with Dortmund youngsters Leitner, Jonas Hofmann and Leonardo Bittencourt also continuing to show flashes of their potential, such as when the first two combined to almost set up the latter for number two in the 57th minute. Bellinghausen then powered though at the other end to get off a shot from a difficult angle which Langerak could only bat out to Andreas Lambertz, the Fortuna stalwart's effort drifting wide of the post however.
Game over? Not yet...
With 21 minutes remaining, Klopp brought Polish duo Robert Lewandowski - on a twelve-game Bundesliga scoring run - and Blaszczykowski into the fray and the national team skipper wasted no time making his mark, latching onto a fine through-ball from Sahin and slipping it past Giefer to put the Yellow-Blacks two to the good. The Düsseldorf custodian then twice prevented his side falling further behind with fine stops to close-range efforts from Julian Schieber and Marco Reus.
Those saves took on a whole new significance when Adam Bodzek headed home Bellinghausen's free kick in the 88th minute and in added time the drama increased as Hummels got a vital touch to an effort from Bellinghausen, before Langerak somehow scraped Martin Latka's header off the line to keep Dortmund in front.
Line-ups and statistics