Borussia Dortmund beat RB Leipzig at home on Friday to go top of the Bundesliga table. The hosts entered the match as one of the hottest teams in Europe. After all, the Germans had won all nine of their games since the Bundesliga resumed in January. That includes victories over Freiburg and Chelsea during this stretch.
Dortmund’s Julian Brandt thought that he put his team ahead in the 13th minute on Dortmund’s first shot on goal. Jude Bellingham initially played a beautiful ball over the top of Leipzig’s defense. The German got a bit lucky with a loose touch, but he collected the ball and slotted passed Janis Blaswich. Bellingham raised his arms in celebration before Brandt even took the shot. However, the score was chalked off upon a VAR replay for handball by Brandt.
Reus provides lead with perfectly placed penalty
The hosts were awarded a penalty seven minutes later when Blaswich clipped Marco Reus inside the box. Reus attempted a shot during the incident but was bumped into by the goalkeeper. The midfielder would go on to take the penalty himself and eventually give his club the lead. Reus found the side netting, narrowly beating a diving Blaswich.
Leipzig nearly leveled the score in the 35th minute. Marcel Halstenberg found himself wide open just a yard or two in front of Dortmund’s goal. Emil Forsberg whipped in a cross that fell straight to Halstenberg. The defender, however, somehow missed the glorious chance to tie the game.
Dortmund would take advantage of the major miss and double their lead just three minutes later. The visitors headed the ball away from a dangerous free kick into the area. Emre Can waited patiently for the ball to arrive at his feet just outside of the box and struck a low shot into the back of the net. There were plenty of Leipzig defenders in front of the Blaswich’s goal, but the ball somehow found its way all the way through.
Leipzig fight back to make things interesting in Dortmund
Reus nearly added a third for the hosts in the 67th minute of the match. The midfielder struck a dangerous curling effort towards goal, but Blaswich made the sprawling save. However, Leipzig would go on to attack Dortmund’s goal for much of the remainder of the second half.
The visitors grabbed a goal back in the 74th minute. Substitute David Raum found space inside the box and sent in a low pass across the front of goal. Forsberg latched onto the pass at the far post and put the ball into the net. It was the Swede’s fifth goal in the current Bundesliga campaign.
Despite the late onslaught, time ran out on Leipzig and the match finished 2-1 to the hosts. The victory puts Dortmund three points ahead of rivals Bayern Munich in the standings. However, the reigning German champions play Stuttgart on Saturday in a chance to go back on top. Dortmund and Leipzig will face off again in the DFB-Pokal quarterfinals in April.
PHOTO: IMAGO / kolbert-press