A perfectly executed gameplan allowed the Foals to race out to a two-goal lead at half-time, with Raffael and Max Kruse getting on the scoresheet and, though Havard Nordtveit’s sending off threatened to ruin Gladbach’s good work as Milos Jojic reduced the arrears, Lucien Favre’s side battled valiantly to move back within a point of the European qualification spots.
In the absence of first-team regulars Marco Reus and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Dortmund head coach Jürgen Klopp opted for youth over experience by handing Jonas Hofmann his first start of the current campaign. The youngster wasted little time in imposing himself on proceedings by forcing Marc-Andre ter Stegen to make the first save of the game, but it was as close as either side came to breaking the deadlock in the evenly-contested opening exchanges.
The hosts had established an early control of possession, but were regularly thwarted by Gladbach’s deep-lying and disciplined backline, who denied their hosts time and space on the ball. Restricted to creating chances on the counter, the Foals often sought the most direct route to goal and twice managed to carve out goalscoring chances only for Patrick Herrmann to fire off target on both occasions.
Reacting to the early warnings, Dortmund pushed forward in search of an opener, but to no avail as Mats Hummels was denied by ter Stegen, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rattled the woodwork with a ferocious effort. However, the visitors’ threat on the break never diminished and soon produced the opener when Raffael bundled Herrmann’s cut-back in at the front post shortly after the half-hour mark.
Dortmund looked visibly shocked to have fallen behind, but had salt rubbed in their wounds shortly afterwards. After conceding possession in the final third, Gladbach were able to break forward with numbers and Juan Arango fed the unmarked Kruse, who demonstrated great composure to shift the ball beyond Roman Weidenfeller and Lukasz Piszczek, firing into the empty net and ending a run of 870 minutes without a goal.
Dortmund hadn’t overturned a two-goal half-time deficit since May 1982, but came out after the restart determined to fly in the face of the statistics as Robert Lewandowski sent an early snap-shot just past the near post. With BVB taking more risks and the game subsequently becoming an increasingly open affair, neither side were afforded the opportunity to catch their breath. Lewandowski was denied by ter Stegen at full stretch, but with 20 minutes remaining the hosts were handed a lifeline when Nordtveit picked up two bookings within two minutes to reduce the visitors to ten men.
Dortmund piled forward in an attempt to capitalise on Gladbach’s vulnerability and Klopp was rewarded for throwing on Marvin Duksch and Jojic, when the Serbian’s deflected volley found the back of the net in the 77th minute. It was a backs-to-the-wall ending for the visitors, but after Duksch had a goal ruled out with time winding down, the Foals managed to hang on to pick up a hard-earned three points.
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