Borussia Dortmund squeeze past Bayer Leverkusen to extend their unbeaten run and edge closer to league leaders Bayern Munich.
Arguably the fixture of the weekend saw Bayer Leverkusen host Borussia Dortmund, the pair have been in tremendous form going into the game and the battle between them would be very beneficial to the team that came out on top.
Leverkusen started the weekend in third place, however they find themselves in fourth ahead of the Dortmund game due to Hertha BSC’s draw to Wolfsburg. The hosts haven’t tasted defeat in the Bundesliga for six matches and at the start of February they managed to earn a goalless draw against Bayern Munich. Leverkusen would’ve fancied their chances today with their home form that has seen them lose just twice this season.
After Bayern’s win over Darmstadt they’re now eleven points ahead of Dortmund in second. The away side have been in brilliant form all season, unfortunately for them they’ve been overshadowed by Bayern.
Dortmund will look to extend their unbeaten run of four games and in doing so extending their unbeaten run away at Leverkusen, they haven’t loss to Leverkusen away from home since 2007 where they lost 2-1.
A tightly fought first half lacked a attacking threat
The hosts were almost forced into making an early change just a few minutes into the game, a clash of heads between Seven Bender and Stefan Kießling left the former dazed on the floor. After some treatment and slowly getting up the striker was able to run the knock off.
The opening stages of the match didn’t provide much entertainment in front of goal, the tightly fought battle in midfield was an interesting watch as both teams looked to come out on top.
Despite Dortmund having slightly more possession it was Leverkusen that had the first chance, a corner in saw Jonathan Tah raise the highest and his header from seven yards out forced Roman Bürki into a save.
Dortmund had a golden chance in injury time and it was by far the best chance of the first half. An effort from the edge of the area deflected to American youngster Christian Pulisic and the 17-year-old managed to find Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang wide open, sadly for Dortmund he couldn’t find the target as he fired wide of the goal.
Drama, Drama and more drama in the second half
The second half was much better within the first few minutes, Marco Reus caused problems straight away after coming on at half time. The first real save of the half saw Karim Bellarabi come inside playing the ball to Javier Hernández, the striker pulled off a great back heel back to Bellarabi and the winger’s effort saw Bürki save, despite it going wide.
Tempers went over the end just before the hour mark as frustrations started to get the better of some players. Bellarabi charged into a tackle on Sokratis and then afterwards leaned his head into the defender before pushing him away in the face. The Leverkusen man was correctly booked for his actions.
Finally there was a breakthrough just after the hour mark. The breakthrough went in favour of the away side and it was Aubameyang that gave his side the lead and in the process scoring his 21st of the season. After a quick freekick which Leverkusen felt it wasn’t, Dortmund broke quickly, Eric Durm was slipped through and he showed great composure to pull the ball across to Aubameyang for an easy tap in.
The home side were very angry with the goal and after a few complaints the referee Felix Zwayer told Roger Schmidt to go to the stands. The Leverkusen head coach refused to leave the pitch and as a result Zwayer walked off and headed down the tunnel along with his staff.
After some waiting around the players also left the pitch and play would only resume after Schmidt takes his seat in the stands.
The drama continued when the game resumed as Leverkusen weren’t given a penalty, Hernández’s header struck the outstretched arm of Sokratis. Zwayer awarded a corner instead, Tah won a header from that corner and Hernández couldn’t get on the end of it at the back post.
Dortmund had a fantastic chance to seal the win, Reus was excellently played through on goal by Matthias Ginter, however he wasn’t able to put his effort past Bernd Leno who made a important save.
In injury time Leverkusen managed to create a golden chance, the ball was played back to Hernández and after getting the space he needed the Mexican fired wide of the post. The forward was the man the home side would’ve wanted the chance to fall to but he couldn’t make the most of it.
That was the last of the action and in a drama filled second half it was Dortmund that edged away and grabbed the three points. Leverkusen will be unhappy with the loss and will have plenty of complaints. They stay in fourth place while Dortmund close the gap on Bayern Munich.