Dortmund - Borussia Dortmund remain hot on the heels of defending champions FC Bayern München at the top of the standings after a workmanlike 1-0 victory over Hannover 96 at the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday afternoon.
Perfect start for Dortmund
Marco Reus scored what proved to be the winner from the penalty spot in the opening minutes of the contest. The result leaves BVB on 22 points from nine games, one behind Bayern and just ahead of third-place Bayer Leverkusen on goal difference. For Hannover, it was their fourth defeat in four away games this season although they can take some heart from a gutsy second-half display in particular.
The hosts were in full flight from the word go, with 96ers central defender Christian Schulz forced into a sliding tackle to foil Henrikh Mkhitaryan with all of 15 seconds on the clock. Only three minutes in, Hiroki Sakai was less successful with his attempt to stop Erik Durm, hauling down the young left back inside the box to earn himself a booking and hand Dortmund the chance to go in front from the spot. Reus clinically obliged, slotting away his fifth goal of the season.
Jürgen Klopp's men kept their foot on the gas in the search for a quick follow-up, before Hannover showed first signs of life as an attacking entity with a couple of half-chances on the break just shy of the quarter-hour mark. After that, though, it was die Schwarz-Gelben on the front foot for the most part, albeit lacking in their usual precision with the final ball. As a result, for all the hosts' optical dominance, 96ers keeper Ron-Robert Zieler had little further serious work to do before the interval.
Hannover turn up the heat
The goalmouth action hotted up with a vengeance after the restart, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired an angled drive wide of the post at one end of the pitch and Hannover frontman Artur Sobiech promptly drilled a shot on the full over the bar at the other. Home keeper Roman Weidenfeller jut beat Sobiech to a Leon Andreasen cross soon after that before the action switched back upfield, Zieler clawing Mkhitaryan's effort from the edge of the box away for a corner. Then it was Weidenfeller's turn again, pulling off a great reflex save from an Edgar Prib thunderbolt.
The men from Lower Saxony were definitively in the ascendancy now, with Dortmund left in the unaccustomed role of having to backpedal time and again on home turf. Just inside the final ten minutes Weidenfeller again came to his team's rescue, beating away a ferocious drive from Deniz Kadah. BVB then nearly sewed things up with a classic counter, Hannover's Brazilian centre back Marcelo intercepting a great pass from Jonas Hofmann with Aubameyang bearing down on him. As it turned out, Reus's early penalty was enough in the end.
Line-ups and statistics
Take a look at ' top five goals on the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: