Borussia Dortmund kept the pressure up at the top ahead of Der Klassiker with a hard-fought but ultimately comfortable victory away to SV Darmstadt 98.
With Der Klassiker against FC Bayern München just days away, Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel made eight changes to the side that beat Hoffenheim last week. There was no Marco Reus, Henrikh Mkhitaryan or Shinji Kagawa and BVB struggled to create any meaningful chances in the opening stages against a spirited and well-organized Darmstadt side. They did eventually break the deadlock in the 38th minute when Adrian Ramos prodded home the rebound after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s header was saved by Christian Mathenia. It was the Colombian striker’s second goal in consecutive games and separated the teams at the break.
Dortmund started the second half in determined fashion and should have doubled their lead after Ramos squared for Aubameyang, but the ball seemed to get bogged down in the six-yard area and the Gabon couldn’t make a proper connection with the goal at his mercy. Just minutes later however, Erik Durm finished a flowing move with aplomb to register his first of the season and put BVB two-nil up. Despite the home side’s best efforts, Dortmund’s lead was never really threatened and they could have added even more.
Man of the Match
After recovering from a virus, Ilkay Gündogan is back to full fitness and pulled the strings in Dortmund’s midfield. The German international on top form adds an added creative edge and composure to Dortmund’s game.
The games are coming thick and fast for Borussia Dortmund as they continue their hunt for glory on three fronts. Thomas Tuchel needs to make full use of his squad to cope with the demands and handed 17 year-old Felix Passlack his full debut. The promising midfielder has enjoyed great success at youth level and didn’t look out of his depth at senior level.
- Durm got off the mark for the season with his second goal in 42 Bundesliga appearances
- Darmstadt are without a win in eight home games and have now suffered a club record four straight defeats in the Bundesliga on home soil
- Dortmund remain unbeaten in 2016, having picked up 19 of 21 possible points
- Ramos scored in successive games for the first time in one-and-a-half years
- Roman Weidenfeller made his first Bundesliga appearance of the season and only faced one shot on target
Darmstadt: Mathenia - Caldirola, Rajkovic, Sulu (c), Jungwirth - Gondorf, Niemeyer (Platte 83')- Rausch, Vrancic (Kempe 63’), Heller (Sirigu 85') - Wagner
Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Durm, Hummels (c), Subotic, Ginter - Castro, Weigl, Gündogan (Leitner 83') - Ramos, Passlack (Mkhitaryan 70'), Aubameyang