The Bundesliga title race remains more exciting than it has been for a long time. In the long-distance duel with FC Bayern, Borussia Dortmund once again kept their nerve. Thanks to the 5-2 (4-0) victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach, the gap between the second in the table and the leaders from Munich is still only one point.
As on the previous matchday in the 6-0 victory over Wolfsburg, the team of coach Edin Terzic was not impressed by a victory of the Munich a few hours earlier. In front of 81,365 spectators at the sold-out Signal Iduna Park, BVB played big at times on Saturday evening and came to a deserved victory thanks to goals from Donyell Malen (5th), Jude Bellingham (12th/foul penalty), Sébastien Haller (20th/32nd) and Giovanni Reyna (90th+4). The late Gladbach goals were scored by Rami Bensebaini (75th/foul penalty) and Lars Stindl (85th).
Although Dortmund's hopes of support from arch-rivals FC Schalke 04 in the 0-6 defeat in Munich a few hours earlier proved to be wishful thinking, the reaction was positive. The starting eleven, unchanged from the Wolfsburg game, in which captain Marco Reus was again absent, got off to a lightning start. The first scoring chance gave them the lead: a blocked shot by Jude Bellingham pushed attacker Malen over the line with his head from close range.
BVB with astonishing effectiveness
The Dutchman's eighth goal in the last eight games took the pressure off Dortmund. Even the great chance to equalise seven minutes later by Gladbach's full-back and alleged BVB newcomer Bensebaini, which was defused by goalkeeper Gregor Kobel, could not stop Dortmund's offensive urge.
With astonishing effectiveness and great enthusiasm for playing, the Bayern pursuer – as he did against Wolfsburg – ensured clear conditions early on. A foul by Florian Neuhaus on Haller was punished by referee Daniel Schlager with a penalty, which Bellingham converted with a bit of luck.
Haller's dream goal caused further frustration among the completely overwhelmed guests. Standing with his back to goal, Haller sent Malen's cross pass into the far corner in a remarkable manner and gave his team a decisive 3-0 lead. Haller's second goal required less art: once again, Malen served the Dortmund newcomer, who converted directly in the style of a goalscorer.
With the 0:4 at half-time, the Gladbachers were still well served. Although there were promising approaches in the forward game, there were astonishing gaps in the cover.
Even after the restart, Borussia Dortmund remained the better team, but were not as effective in taking advantage of scoring chances as they had been in the first half. In addition, the team took it easy with games in Augsburg and against Mainz in the feeling of certain victory and with a view to the rest of the program. A foul by substitute Giovanni Reyna on Bensebaini set up Gladbach's first goal. The fouled man safely converted the penalty kick that was due, and substitute Stindl then brought Gladbach even closer. In the end, however, Reyna made the decision.