Borussia Dortmund kept the title race alive with a 3-2 win over SV Werder Bremen on Saturday. Thomas Tuchel's late substitutes Shinji Kagawa and Adrian Ramos turned the tide with a goal each in the final 15 minutes at SIGNAL IDUNA PARK.
Just one point above the relegation zone at kick-off, Werder Bremen lined up in a 4-5-1 with Anthony Ujah as their lone striker. The Nigeria international could have opened the scoring with the first attack of the game but he failed to connect with Zlatko Junuzovic's cross. Dortmund piled the pressure on from there, though. Erik Durm was denied his third goal of the season after a point-blank save from Felix Wiedwald before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saw a pair of chances go begging. Durm then flashed an effort over the crossbar before Aubameyang missed with an overhead-kick as Viktor Skripnik's side held on.
Dortmund began the second half as they ended the first, in charge of possession with some 60 percent of the ball. Werder still managed to threaten on the counter, and Junuzovic might have opened the scoring if he had managed to get his toe on the end of Clemens Fritz's cross. Aubameyang sprung the offside trap, and then the deadlock, soon after though, chipping the ball over Wiedwald for his 23rd Bundesliga goal of the 2015/16 campaign. BVB's lead did not last long, with Alejandro Galvez's shot deflecting in off Gonzalo Castro before Junuzovic steered home from close range.
Sensing the game was slipping away, Tuchel brought Kagawa, Ramos and Christian Pulisic on for the final 15 minutes, and the substitutes changed the face of the game. Kagawa made it 2-2 from point-blank range three minutes after his introduction, and Ramos headed home Henrikh Mkhitaryan's ball into the box to score his sixth goal of the season to return FC Bayern München’s lead at the top to five points.
Man of the match
Durm. Normally a left-back, the former 1. FSV Mainz 05 youth team striker spent the 74 minutes he played camped out in Dortmund's final third. Aubameyang and Ramos might grab the headlines, but Durm's 69 fast runs kept Bremen on the back foot and afforded his teammates space to shine.
Dortmund remain a threat to FC Bayern with six games left to overhaul a five-point deficit on the leaders. The key now will be managing the squad. With Durm in midfield and Sven Bender at centre-back, Die Schwarzgelben pulled it off against Bremen, but a UEFA Europa League quarter-final against Liverpool FC on Thursday promises to be less forgiving, whilst a tricky Revierderby against FC Schalke 04 awaits Tuchel's men next weekend.
- It was Kagawa’s 100th Bundesliga game. Each of those appearances have been for Die Schwarzgelben.
- Aubameyang had been due a goal. The African Player of the Year had not found the target since Matchday 23. Now on 23 strikes, he trails Bayern's Robert Lewandowski by two.
- Dortmund now have 67 points on the board; in 2001, FC Bayern won the Bundesliga title with a total of 63.
- Tuchel's men are unbeaten in their 17 competitive games in 2016, winning 15 and drawing two.
- BVB have been the best team in the second half of the season, earning 29 of a possible 33 points.
- Mkhitaryan's assists for Aubameyang and Ramos brought him up to 12 for the season. With ten goals also to his name, the Armenia star is one of only two players (alongside Borussia Mönchengladbach's Raffael) to reach double figures in both goals and assists this term.
Dortmund: Bürki - Piszczek, S. Bender, Ginter, Schmelzer (Ramos 80') - Weigl - Castro, Durm (Kagawa 74') - Mkhitaryan, Reus (c) (Pulisic 80') - Aubameyang
Bremen: Wiedwald - Gebre Selassie, Galvez, Vestergaard, Garcia (Öztunali 65') - Grillitsch - Yatabaré (Lorenzen 85'), Fritz (c), Junuzovic, Sternberg - Ujah (Fröde 86')