Borussia Dortmund bounced back from their 6-0 defeat to Bayern Munich and narrowed the gap on second-placed Schalke with Christian Pulisic and Michy Batshuayi impressing in a comfortable 3-0 win over VfB Stuttgart on Sunday.
Goals: 1-0 Pulisic (39'), 2-0 Batshuayi (48'), 3-0 Philipp (59')
Dortmund had both Christian Pulisic and Marco Reus back in their starting XI, but the early action was concentrated at the other end of the field, where Stuttgart attacked with insistence – and no intimidation – towards the Yellow Wall. Erik Thommy tried his luck a few times but he, like Mario Gomez with a header, could not test Roman Bürki between the posts. Dortmund were counterattacking on their own patch, but one proved productive as Pulisic's cross looped past Ron Robert Zieler and nestled in the far corner, earning an effective Dortmund the half-time edge.
It was the hosts' turn to attack towards their own fans in the second half and it appeared to give them a boost of inspiration, with Michy Batshuayi starting and finishing the move which led to their second within 120 seconds. A fine no-look touch sent Nuri Sahin through and the Turkish midfielder returned the favour for the on-loan Chelsea forward to side-foot in. Dortmund turned the screw on the hour mark with Maximilian Philipp taking a second bite of the cherry to beat Zieler following neat work from Pulisic, while the USMNT almost got a second, Zieler diverting his shot behind. Batshuayi and Pulisic continued to run the show as the Westphalians gave the perfect response to last weekend's defeat at Bayern to edge closer to a place in next season's UEFA Champions League.
Watch: Pulisic explains whether he meant his goal or if it was a cross
- Pulisic has now scored more this season (four) than in any other season at Dortmund.
- Batshuayi now has seven goals in nine Bundesliga games, plus one assist.
- Sahin started only his second game in 2018, having last started at the end of January; he has played just 12 minutes of the past eight games.
- Stuttgart lost their first game under Korkut (five wins, three draws, one defeat).
- Dortmund's Philipp scored the last of his previous six Bundesliga goals this season in the reverse fixture on Matchday 12 - he moved on to seven for the season with today's goal.
Dortmund: Bürki – Piszczek, Toprak, Papastathopoulos, Schmelzer (c) (Toljan 63') – Dahoud, Sahin – Pulisic, Reus (Gomez 87'), Philipp (Sancho 80') - Batshuayi
Unused subs: Weidenfeller, Yarmolenko, Götze, Weigl
Absentees: Zagadou (muscular), Durm, Kagawa (both ankle), Rode (pelvis), Guerreiro (thigh)
Coach: Peter Stöger
Stuttgart: Zieler – Beck, Pavard, Badstuber, Insua – Gentner (c), Ascacibar (Mangala 88'), Aogo (Özcan 68'), Thommy (Bruun Larsen 57') - Gomez, Ginczek
Unused subs: Grahl, Donis, Akolo, Kaminski
Absentees: Baumgartl (concussion), Mane (thigh)
Coach: Tayfun Korkut