BERLIN (AFP) – An inspired performance by Thorgan Hazard against his former club helped Borussia Dortmund claim a crucial three points in the title race with a 2-1 win away at Borussia Moenchengladbach early yesterday.
The match was tense throughout and featured a Bundesliga season-high 10 yellow cards, with players from both teams needing to be pulled away from each other by Dortmund coach Lucien Favre at full-time.
“It was a difficult game. Gladbach are efficient and our first half wasn’t great,” said Favre. “But after it was 1-1, we played well – and that was good, very good.”
Dortmund took the lead inside 10 minutes when ex-Gladbach midfielder Hazard took a pass from Erling Braut Haaland and shrugged off three defenders to curl a floating shot into the top left-hand corner of the net.
Gladbach equalised in the 50th minute when Lars Stindl tapped in a shot from Alassane Plea to score his fifth goal from his past four games.
The turning point for Dortmund came in the 66th minute when Jadon Sancho – who started on the bench ahead of Dortmund’s crucial trip to Paris Saint-German in midweek – was introduced.
Sancho’s assist, his 15th of the season, put Achraf Hakimi in acres of space on the right wing, with the Real Madrid loanee beating Yann Sommer through his legs.
The win saw Dortmund leapfrog Leipzig into second place, trailing leaders Bayern Munich by a point.
After the match, Hazard praised Haaland’s efforts in letting other Dortmund players get on the scoresheet.
“I think he needs to give more assists, because he scores too much. I gave him one last time and now he’s given me one – we’re 1-1 – but next time it’s my turn to give him an assist again,” said Hazard.
Dortmund captain Mats Hummels said the recent additions of Haaland and Emre Can had helped them find the right balance.
“Right now we’ve got the perfect mix between artists and workers – or folks that can do both,” said Hummels.
RB Leipzig dropped points for the second weekend running after labouring to a 0-0 draw at Wolfsburg.