Credit: Dirk Vorderstraße
After Bayern Munich’s shock capitulation away at Borussia Monchengladbach on Friday night, Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund met in what was a must win for both sides. Monchengladbach came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at home against Bayern, and this meant if Leipzig could win at home then they would go above Bavarians into top spot in the Bundesliga. If Dortmund were to get a massive away win, then they would close the gap on Bayern to five points and that would have also leave them just three points behind their opponents.
Yussuf Poulsen came into the Leipzig starting XI as Kevin Kampl was out injured, meaning Emil Forsberg dropped deeper back into his natural midfield position, as he had been playing as a false 9 recently. Dortmund were unchanged from the side who beat Wolfsburg 2-0.
Leipzig started the game brighter without making any real clear-cut chances. They frequently got the ball wide to Angelino on their left as it was evident their game plan was to attack Thomas Meunier, but Dortmund dealt quite easily with his crosses. Ironically in the 26th minute the closest Leipzig came in the first half was an attack on the right side. Forsberg fed Tyler Adams but his cross near the penalty spot was blocked. Dortmund’s Axel Witsel pulled up with an injury and was replaced by Emre Can after half an hour.
Dortmund had been very sloppy in possession in the first period, but started the second half with real intent. Just three minutes into the half Marco Reus had a shot deflected into the side netting, and from the resulting corner Can headed over onto the roof of the net. The urgency from the away side was really showing and they broke the deadlock in the 55th minute. Reus’ executed a smart flick after good work by Erling Haaland on the counter attack, and Jadon Sancho buried the ball in the bottom corner.
Haaland continued to cause Leipzig problems with his movement and guile and he hit the bar in the 65th minute after being fed by Sancho. Dani Olmo almost drew things level in the 67th minute with a great solo effort but he could only hit the post. Four minutes later Dortmund were to add to their lead. Haaland was again causing havoc. Swift football from Dortmund saw the Norwegian find Sancho, who played it to Raphael Guerrero, Guerrero gave it back to Sancho and his cross was headed in by Haaland. The second half onslaught should have been no surprise for Julian Nagelsmann’s men as 23 of Dortmund’s 28 league goals before Saturday had been in the second half.
More misery was to be piled on the home side six minutes from time. Reus played a fine pass, and Haaland showed elite composure as he rounded Peter Gulacsi to make it 3-0. Substitute Alexander Sorloth grabbed a late consolation for Leipzig, smashing the ball into the roof of the net after Roman Burki saved his initial header.
So Leipzig missed their opportunity to go on top of the league and Bayern have been let off of the hook after their lapse on Friday night. Dortmund have built a reputation of slipping up at key moments, so it will be interesting to see if they can gain any more ground on Munich and Leipzig. It will be a real test for the Dortmund caretaker manager Edin Terzic to balance what could be a possible title push and Champions League football when it returns next month. If he can go on a run then he will really be staking his claim for the job permanently. Dortmund have bottom club Mainz next, whereas Leipzig have a tough game away at Wolfsburg, both sides have to get three points.