Hanover - Borussia Dortmund bounced back from their disappointing UEFA Champions League exit at the hands of Juventus FC with a narrow 3-2 win away to ten-man Hannover 96.
Dortmund strike first
It should never have been such a close-run affair after Hannover had Leonardo Bittencourt sent off, but Dortmund just about got their noses over the line thanks to a brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and a Shinji Kagawa strike, with Lars Stindl replying twice for the hosts.
Determined to make up for lost time on his first Bundesliga start since 25 January 2014, Dortmund’s Jakub Blaszczykowski forced a fine low save out of Ron-Robert Zieler inside the opening minute. The Polish international showcased his defensive talents shortly after, preventing BVB loanee Bittencourt from getting something on Jimmy Briand’s right-wing cross.
Hannover’s five-man midfield weren’t giving much away, but they were undone in one fell swoop in the 19th minute when Blaszczykowski sent Marco Reus racing through the centre of the park. The Germany international looked for all the world like going it alone, only to play a brilliantly disguised pass into the path of Aubameyang to sink his 11th league goal of the campaign.
Bittencourt sees red
To their credit, Hannover didn’t crumble and deservedly levelled thanks to Bittencourt’s driving run and a fine finish from Stindl. The Reds should have gone ahead when Briand fed Bittencourt moments later, but the Leipzig-born midfielder sliced wide when it looked easier to score.
Bittencourt had arguably been the best player on the pitch in the first half and he was heavily involved again early in the second, albeit for all the wrong reasons. Two quick-fire bookings for fouls on Blaszczykowski and Sebastian Kehl saw Hannover reduced to ten men, and Dortmund took full advantage.
A fine finish from Kagawa put BVB back in the driving sit barely two minutes after Bittencourt’s sending off following another clever Blaszczykowski pass. The Japanese international then turned provider in the 61st minute, bending a stunning ball with the outside of his boot onto the head of the stooping Aubameyang to all but seal the win.
It looked like being an exercise in damage limitation for Tayfun Korkut’s men as Zieler foiled Reus one-on-one, but Stindl had other ideas, his second of the afternoon setting up a grandstand finish. Sokratis wasted a glorious opportunity to kill off any lingering resistance, before Roman Weidenfeller was called on to snuff out Miiko Albornoz's probing cross at the feet of Joselu and deny Hannover the unlikeliest of points.
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