Dortmund too good for Nürnberg

Dortmund - Borussia Dortmund returned to winning ways in the Bundesliga with a comfortable 3-0 win at home to 1. FC Nürnberg.

Schäfer on form

After a first half in which they were repeatedly frustrated by Nürnberg’s Raphael Schäfer, Mats Hummels marked only his second appearance in three months to put BVB in front, before a Robert Lewandowski strike and Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s late effort ensured Dortmund responded in the best way possible to last week’s shock 3-0 loss at Hamburger SV.

Fresh from their brilliant away win at FC Zenit in the Champions League, Borussia began the game with an obvious spring in their step, as Nürnberg keeper Schäfer, who saved two penalties against Eintracht Braunschweig last weekend, had to dive at the feet of the onrushing Mkhitaryan in only the third minute. A flowing move then released Marcel Schmelzer down the left, but Kevin Großkreutz took the ball off Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s toes and Lukasz Piszczek could only send the follow up wide.

The hosts were without the suspended Marco Reus and his absence was perhaps telling as the chances continued to come, only to be wasted. Lewandowski thumped an indirect free-kick into a wall of Nürnberg players after Martin Angha’s back-pass, before Schäfer parried clear a drive from Schmelzer and Mkhitaryan drove an angled shot across the face of goal.

Pekhart off target, Hummels strikes

The hosts were enjoying total domination, but they came within a whisker of gifting der Club the lead on the half-hour mark, as Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ error freed Tomas Pekhart, only for the Czech international to strike the post with Roman Weidenfeller beaten. Pekhart’s effort was the 19th time that the Franconians had struck the woodwork this season.

The first half had been a story of frustration for the hosts, but they were in front six minutes after the break. Schäfer did superbly to beat clear Lewandowski’s header, but Hummels was on hand to tap in the rebound for his first league goal since September 2012. It was harsh on Schäfer, who distinguished himself yet again moments later with a brilliant stop to push Nuri Sahin’s header over the bar.

Lewandowski show

Dortmund’s tails were now up, while Nürnberg’s concentration showed signs of lapsing, and Lewandowski’s goal just after the hour-mark - a well-placed shot from Mkhitaryan’s pass - put the hosts well and truly in the driving seat. BVB were beginning to find space and create chances at will - Schäfer foiled Mkhitaryan yet again, before Jonas Hofmann’s cross was just too high for the onrushing Lewandowski.

A third goal did duly follow, however, and it was one worth the wait from Mkhitaryan’s point of view, as he darted onto Hofmann’s delightfully cute pass to prod past Schäfer. Dortmund now move up to second in the table above Bayer 04 Leverkusen, while Nürnberg stay 12th - albeit temporarily - after only their second defeat of 2014.

Line-ups and statistics

Bernie Reeves