Wolfsburg 0-2 Borussia Dortmund: Goals from Raphael Guerreiro and Achraf Hakimi throw down the gauntlet to Bayern Munich ahead of top-two showdown on Tuesday
- Dortmund wing back Raphael Guerreiro gave his side the lead after 32 minutes
- Wolfsburg’s Renato Steffen missed a good opportunity early in the second-half
- Achraf Hakimi doubled Dortmund’s lead with a cool finish in the 78th minute
- Felix Klaus was sent off for the hosts for a late tackle after a VAR referral
Borussia Dortmund carved out a dogged two-goal victory at Wolfsburg to go within one point of Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga table.
Portuguese wing back Raphael Guerreiro scored his third goal in two games post-lockdown to give Dortmund the lead in an otherwise uneventful first-half in the empty Volkswagen Arena.
Yet despite the hosts improving after the break, Achraf Hakimi put the result beyond all doubt 12 minutes from time, slotting into the corner after being fed in by substitute Jadon Sancho.
Raphael Guerreiro (L) opened the scoring after Erling Haaland missed his kick at the near post
The Dortmund players celebrate their opener, which set them on their way to three points
Achraf Hakimi made it 2-0 12 minutes from time to narrow the gap at the top of the Bundesliga
Wolfsburg: Casteels, Mbabu, Pongracic, Brooks, Roussillon (Klaus 64), Steffen, Arnold, Schlager, Mehmedi (Victor 85), Ginczek (Brekalo 64), Weghorst
Substitutes not used: Pervan, Horn, Marmmoush, Knoche, Tisserand, Santos Sa, Justvan
Bookings: Brooks, Arnold
Red card: Klaus
Borussia Dortmund: Burki, Akanji, Hummels (Can 45), Piszczek, Hakimi, Delaney (Balerdi 83), Dahoud, Guerreiro (Schmelzer 83), Brandt (Sancho 65), Hazard (Reyna 79), Haaland
Substitutes not used: Götzi, Balerdi, Morey, Hitz, Rasch
Goals: Guerreiro 32, Hakimi 78
Bookings: Delaney, Hazard
The victory puts Dortmund one point behind Bayern Munich, ahead of the leaders hosting Eintracht Frankfurt in the evening kick-off on Saturday and subsequently, the tantalising meeting of the top-two in Der Klassiker on Tuesday night.
An afternoon which started with a minute’s silence, in an already silent stadium, for victims of the coronavirus crisis also saw the trial of formulaic crowd noise in the Volkswagen Arena.
But no mechanical decibels could account for the the opening quarter of the game, which was decidedly dull.
Dortmund dominated the ball, but were curiously lacklustre in the final third with Erling Haaland increasingly exasperated and isolated up front.
Credit to Wolfsburg early on, who were resilient and dogged, epitomising why they have the joint-third best defensive record in the division.
However, what felt like a classic training drill of attack vs defence burst into life after half-an-hour, as Dortmund scored from their first unlocking of the hosts in behind.
Julian Brandt’s neat touch inside from the right caught out three Wolfsburg players, and the space opened up.
Hakimi played in Thorgan Hazard and after his pull-back from the byline was uncharacteristically missed by Haaland, Guerreiro’s gamble paid off at the back post, tapping cooly into the empty net for his eighth goal of the season.
A minute’s silence was held before the game for the victims of the coronavirus outbreak
Haaland was quiet throughout most of the first-half as Wolfsburg frustrated Dortmund early on
No repeat of the socially distanced celebrations of last week as Dortmund players elbow-tap
Suddenly, the hosts – who had not had a sniff on their own turf – needed half-time and crept to the interval just one down, after Hazard pulled a clear sight of goal wide as Favre’s team of emboldened youngsters threatened a second.
But after an odd half-time substitution from Favre, with Emre Can replacing Mats Hummels at centre back, Wolfsburg should have been level three minutes into the second-half.
Renato Steffen – clean through on goal with Can suspiciously absent – blazed over with his left-foot as he bared down on Roman Bürki. You suspected the favourites would not get a better opportunity all afternoon.
Wolfsburg had their chances early in the second-half but couldn’t capitalise to score
Yet Wolfsburg continued on the front-foot. Steffen, who scored last week, this time worked Burki from 25 yards, connecting with a sweetly struck volley, parried clear by the Swiss goalkeeper.
But Dortmund survived the onslaught and after England international Sancho was introduced on the 65-minute mark, his impact soon put the game to bed.
Bearing down on two exposed Wolfsburg defenders, Sancho fed in Hakimi to finish with composure into the corner past Koen Casteels.
Hakimi scored Dortmund’s second after being set up by substitute Jadon Sancho
There was still time for the Video Assistant Referee to get involved, as a late challenge on Manuel Akanji by Wolfsburg’s Felix Klaus resulted in a straight red for the midfielder.
But after a five-star performance against rivals Schalke, this was much more professional from Dortmund, despite not hitting last week’s heights. Even Haaland failed to score, and was largely anonymous.
An all-important win it may be, yet the bigger – or the biggest – challenge comes in the title showdown on Tuesday back at the Westfalenstadion.
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