Borussia Dortmund scored a goal in each half through Raphael Guerreiro and Achraf Hakimi to beat hosts VfL Wolfsburg 2-0 on Saturday for their sixth straight Bundesliga win to stay on the heels of leaders Bayern Munich.
Portugal international Guerreiro tapped in a cutback from Thorgan Hazard after Erling Haaland had failed to connect in the 32nd minute, and Hakimi fired in from a fine Jadon Sancho assist — his 16th of the season — in the 78th to make sure of the three points.
The result lifted Dortmund to 57 points, one behind Bayern, who are in action against Eintracht Frankfurt later on Saturday. The Bundesliga resumed last week, with no fans in attendance, after being suspended for more than two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dortmund central defender Mats Hummels was taken off at halftime with a knock on the leg, although he did not appear to be seriously injured. They are already missing injured Dan Axel Zagadou and captain Marco Reus.
“I briefly spoke to the doctor,” Dortmund sports director Michael Zorc said. “Mats had problems with his heel. He has had them in training for some time. We hope that he will be able to play on Tuesday.”
The Wolves only briefly got a look-in when Renato Steffen was sent through right after the restart, but with only keeper Roman Buerki to beat his shot glanced the bar and sailed high.
They have now lost five consecutive home games to Dortmund, the first team to do that at Wolfsburg, while Dortmund have not conceded a goal in their two games since the league restart. Wolfsburg, who suffered their first defeat in eight league games, were left with 10 men when substitute Felix Klaus was sent off with 10 minutes remaining for a rough challenge.
Plucky Paderborn hold Hoffenheim to 1-1 draw
Dennis Srbeny’s equaliser helped plucky Paderborn grab a 1-1 draw in their Bundesliga clash with Hoffenheim on Saturday, their second draw in two games since league play resumed after the coronavirus outbreak.
Bottom side Paderborn, who secured a scoreless draw away to Fortuna Dusseldorf last week, got off to the worst possible start when Danish international Robert Skov netted for the visitors after four minutes. Yet a dreadful blunder by Hoffenheim defender Ermin Bicakcic five minutes later gifted the ball to Paderborn’s Srbeny, and the striker curled home for the equaliser.
The goal was Srbeny’s fifth in 10 Bundesliga outings since he joined Paderborn from Norwich City in January, with four of them coming in his last six games. Skov, who scored his first Bundesliga goal for Hoffenheim against Paderborn in November, almost had another in the 20th minute as he deftly lifted a ball over the onrushing keeper, but it was cleared off the line by Jamilu Collins.
Paderborn almost went in at the break a goal up when Sebastian Vasiliadis pressured Sebastian Rudy and almost forced him to deflect a Gerrit Holtmann cross into his own net. With Christoph Baumgartner superb in midfield for Hoffenheim, Paderborn’s energetic attacking was all too often undone by loose passing around the centre of the pitch, leading to chances on the break for the visitors.
Yet despite there being plenty of chances in an open, free-flowing game, neither side could manage another goal, and Paderborn, who are without a win in their last eight league games remain bottom of the table on 18 points, while Hoffenheim are ninth on 36.
Bittencourt goal helps Bremen overcome Freiburg
Werder Bremen midfielder Leonardo Bittencourt scored a brilliant first-half winner to seal 1-0 victory at Freiburg on Saturday that reignited their hopes of staying in the Bundesliga. The victory, at an empty Schwarzwald stadium on the second weekend of Bundesliga action since the league resumed after the COVID-19 stoppage, helped 10-man Bremen reach 21 points from 26 games, boosting their bid to avoid being relegated for the first time in 40 years.
They went ahead against the run of play in the 19th minute when Bittencourt ran on to a superb cross from fellow midfielder Davy Klaassen and finished into the bottom corner from distance for his third league goal of the season.
After Bremen midfielder Philipp Bargfrede was sent off in the 88th minute for a second yellow card, Freiburg had defender Manuel Gulde’s late equaliser disallowed by the video assistant referee (VAR) as Nils Petersen was deemed to be offside.
“We had to win… and we gave it everything. After we took the lead we didn’t play as well as we’d have liked, but we’re delighted to have won here today,” Bittencourt said.
The opener came shortly after Freiburg forward Roland Sallai missed a clear chance in the 17th minute, dragging his shot wide after Petersen chested the ball into the Hungarian’s path. Winger Vincenzo Grifo’s free kick was acrobatically kept out early in the contest by Jiri Pavlenka and the Bremen goalkeeper was called into action again after the hour-mark, as he made a fine diving save to deny Nicolas Hoefler.
The hosts grew frustrated as the match wore on, with Bremen defending deep and in numbers to ensure their fifth win of the season and first since January. Freiburg, who had a stoppage-time goal ruled out by VAR for offside in the 1-1 draw against RB Leipzig last time out, were left to rue their bad luck again. They remained on 37 points from 27 games.
Havertz brace takes impressive Leverkusen third
Kai Havertz scored a brace for the second match in a row to lead Bayer Leverkusen to a 3-1 win at Borussia Moenchengladbach as they leap-frogged their opponents to go third in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
As with all Bundesliga matches since the coronavirus outbreak, the game was played behind closed doors but the stands were brightened by around 20,000 cutouts of real Gladbach fans, who had paid 19 euros ($20.71) each to have their cardboard images placed in the stadium.
After beating Werder Bremen 4-1 in their first game back since the coronavirus stoppage, Leverkusen got off the mark in the seventh minute. Gladbach lost possession in midfield, the ball was played wide to Karim Bellarabi and he found Havertz who slotted it past Yann Sommer for his ninth league goal of the season.
The Foals levelled seven minutes after the restart when Ramy Bensebaini chipped the ball over the Leverkusen defence and Marcus Thuram waited for it to drop before firing a first-time shot past Lucas Hradecky. Six minutes later, Leverkusen regained the lead with a penalty. Bellarabi broke away down the right and fired across the face of the goal but was felled by Nico Elvedi’s sliding challenge.
The referee pointed to the spot, confirmed his decision after a long VAR review and Havertz converted despite Sommer getting a hand to the ball. Sven Bender headed in a third from a free kick in the 81st minute to leave Leverkusen third with 53 points, one ahead of Gladbach, who dropped to fourth, and four behind second-placed Dortmund.