Dortmund go second after 5-goal thriller
BERLIN (AFP) – Defending champions Borussia Dortmund went second in the Bundesliga on Sunday after a thrilling 3-2 victory at Bayer Leverkusen, but remain 12 points adrift of league leaders Bayern Munich.
Dortmund’s away win allowed them to claim second spot from Bayer, but it was a battle royal as the hosts came from 2-0 down to level before Poland striker Robert Lewandowski’s winner settled Borussia’s nerves.
“If ever it were true that a 2-0 lead is dangerous, then it’s now,” said relieved Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp as his side relaxed with a 2-0 lead after eight minutes.
After Bayern’s 3-0 win at Mainz 05 on Saturday, Munich are on course for the German title.
Only once, in 2008/09, has a team managed to overturn an 11-point deficit to win the league when Wolfsburg caught Hoffenheim.
Munich coach Jupp Heynckes described the win at Mainz as a “very important victory on the road to the title” while Borussia coach Jurgen Klopp has dismissed “ridiculous” thoughts of his team winning a third league title.
With Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller ruled out with an infection, Australian Mitchell Langerak made his first Bundesliga appearance since April 2012 and put in a solid display.
Dortmund needed just eight minutes to take a two-goal lead after a sublime Lewandowski pass left Marco Reus through on goal and with only Bayer goalkeeper Bernd Leno to beat.
That was in the third minute and Leno’s luck deserted him five minutes later when he made contact with Lewandowski’s foot, referee Deniz Aytekin showed him a yellow card and awarded the penalty which Poland midfielder Jakub Blaszczykowski put away.
Leverkusen roared back after the break with Langerak forced into a number of saves before midfielder Stefan Reinartz scored two goals in four minutes early in the second-half to put the home side level.
Dortmund replied immediately with Lewandowski winning the race to tap home a Leno parry and hand the visitors a winner on 63 minutes which would eventually stand up.
The champions were awarded a penalty on 70 minutes, when Blaszczykowski was fouled by Poland teammate Sebastian Boenisch, but Leno was given a simple save when Blaszczykowski mistimed his spot kick.
In a frantic final 15 minutes, Dortmund held on despite Leverkusen firing in 12 corners and 26 shots on goal over the 90 minutes.
Earlier Nuremberg coach Michael Wiesinger picked up his first win since taking charge of the struggling outfit in December, as his team enjoyed a 2-1 win at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach.