Stuttgart - Borussia Dortmund moved further clear of the relegation zone courtesy of a comfortable 3-2 win on the road against bottom-of-the-table VfB Stuttgart in the opening game of Matchday 22.
Aubameyang nets ninth of the season
With Shinji Kagawa back to his string-pulling best, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ilkay Gündogan both found the net either side of Florian Klein’s spot kick. Marco Reus struck late, before Georg Niedermeier's consolation goal made the result look more respectable, but failed to prevent Dortmund from clinching three consecutive wins for the first time in the current campaign.
Borussia head coach Jürgen Klopp kept faith with the line-up that clinched a 4-2 victory over 1. FSV Mainz 05 last Friday, while his counterpart Huub Stevens made three changes, handing Geoffroy Serey Die his first start as a Stuttgart player. Time and space was at a premium during the opening exchanges, but the visitors wasted little time in asserting their authority on proceedings as a Kevin Kampl’s curler and a rare headed effort from Nuri Sahin forced Sven Ulreich to produce two strong saves early on.
Aubameyang thought he had broken the deadlock on the quarter-hour mark in tapping home the rebound after Ulreich denied Gündogan’s first-time strike, but was adjudged to be in an offside position. Less than ten minutes later though and the Gabonese international struck with an ice-cold finish from eight yards, profiting from Marco Reus’ threatening run to grab his fourth goal in three games and hand BVB a lead that was more than justified by their early endeavours.
Gündogan cancels out Klein's equaliser
Hopeful long balls forward appeared to be Stuttgart’s only release from Dortmund’s relentless pressure, and they were gifted a chance to equalise when Nuri Sahin felled Georg Niedermeier inside the box in the midst of a goal-mouth scramble. Klein stepped up to place his penalty beyond the outstretched hands of Roman Weidenfeller, temporarily stunning the visitors into submission with their first shot on target.
However, Dortmund soon found their feet again, combining the devastating effect to restore their one-goal lead before the break as Kagawa’s back-heeled pass released Gündogan, who took one touch before toe-poking the ball into the bottom corner. There was little change to the pace of proceedings after the restart as the five-time champions remained the dominant side, despite Klopp being forced to replace the injured Kampl with Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Stuttgart show no signs of recovery
The Armenian saw an early attempt blocked before Neven Subotic headed just wide from the resulting corner less than five minutes into the second half. Though Stuttgart continued to offer little in terms of an attacking threat, there remained a hint of nervousness about the visitors’ performance with just one goal separating the sides. Ulreich had to be alert to deny Kagawa from a tight angle in the 53rd-minute, but it was a rare foray into the final third for BVB against their deep-lying hosts.
Huub Stevens’ side had failed to register a shot on goal after the break before Gotoku Sakai’s rash effort from range had to be rescued in front of the corner flag by Martin Harnik. Instead it was Reus, who capitalised on an errant back pass from Timo Baumgartl to round Ulreich and tap into an empty net, before Niedermeier headed home a late consolation, as Dortmund collected another morale-boosting victory ahead of their midweek UEFA Champions League clash with Juventus FC.
Line-ups and statistics