USMNT international Christian Pulisic scored his second goal in as many games as Borussia Dortmund kept the title race alive with a comfortable 3-0 win away to VfB Stuttgart.
Seven points behind leaders FC Bayern München at the start of play, Dortmund did not look like a side who had given up on the title. Thomas Tuchel’s men assumed complete control from the outset and should have taken the lead inside eight minutes, but Marco Reus skewed his effort wide. BVB got the breakthrough their dominance deserved when Shinji Kagawa guided home unmarked from Henrikh Mkhitaryan, whose vicious shot 14 minutes later paved the way for Pulisic to become the youngest player in Bundesliga history to reach two career goals at 17 years, seven months and five days, after Stuttgart goalkeeper Przymeslaw Tyton could only parry.
Stuttgart’s afternoon went from bad to worse early in the second half as Dortmund added a third. Again Tyton was unable to hold onto an initial header from Adrian Ramos, with the rebound following kindly to Mkhitaryan who made no mistake from six yards. Stuttgart did manage to make Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Bürki work in the 73rd minute, but the Switzerland international was well placed to save from Georg Niedermeier. That was about as good as it got for Die Schwaben as Jürgen Kramny’s side slipped to within two points of the relegation zone ahead of next week’s crunch clash with 16th-placed SV Werder Bremen.
Man of the match
It was another dynamic performance from Mkhitaryan, who seems to get better with each passing week. The six-time Armenian Footballer of the Year has now registered 11 Bundesliga goals and 13 assists in 2015/16.
The title chase rolls over to Matchday 32, but even if BVB win all three of their remaining fixtures, they still need Bayern to drop seven points in games against Borussia Mönchengladbach, FC Ingolstadt 04 and Hannover 96.
- Kagawa has scored four goals in his last six Bundesliga games.
- Dortmund have never lost in the 20 Bundesliga matches in which Mkhitaryan has scored.
- Stuttgart loan signing Federico Barba made his Bundesliga debut.
Stuttgart: Tyton - Klein, Schwaab, Barba (Heise 60'), Insua (Niedermeier 62') - Gentner (c) - Harnik, Rupp (Maxim 62'), Didavi, Kostic - Werner
Coach: Jürgen Kramny
Dortmund: Bürki - Piszczek, Ginter, Sokratis, Durm - Weigl (Sahin 82') - Reus (c) (Leitner 76'), Mkhitaryan, Kagawa, Pulisic (Schmelzer 76') - Ramos
Coach: Thomas Tuchel