Borussia have kept the race for the German title alive: BVB ran out 5-2 (4-0) winners against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 31 of the Bundesliga season and remain only one point behind FC Bayern Munich, who beat Schalke 04 in the afternoon.

Boris Rupert reporting from SIGNAL IDUNA PARK

The 81,365 spectators saw a game in which Sébastien Haller was involved in all four first-half goals, setting up Donyell Malen (5) and Jude Bellingham (18) to make it 1-0 and 2-0 before increasing the lead to 3-0 (21) and 4-0 (32) himself thanks to assists from Malen. The second period was significantly quieter to begin with and then suddenly came to life when Bensebaini (75) and Stindl (86) cut the deficit to 4-2 in the closing stages before Kobel produced a stunning save from Stindl (88) to prevent a very nervy finish. Reyna rounded off the scoring at 5-2 with the final kick of the game (90+4).

The scenario:  
Second versus 10th, the best home team by some distance against the fourth-weakest away side. BVB had taken 46 out of a possible 51 points from their previous 17 home games against Gladbach.

Personnel matters: 
Everyone was available with the exception of Bynoe-Gittens (shoulder injury). The team that started was the one that beat Wolfsburg 6-0 a week ago.

BVB lined up in their usual 4-1-2-3 formation with Can positioned centrally in front of the defence. During build-up play, Ryerson frequently pushed up into attack level with Malen, Brandt and Adeyemi, and even further than Haller. Most of the attacks came down the right flank (Malen). Gladbach lined up in a 4-4-2 off the ball and, when they had possession, switched to a 4-2-3-1 in which Hofmann drifted far into the middle and played centrally alongside Neuhaus.


The match & analysis:
Despite a cautious start, BVB scored an early goal. Haller was not closed down as ran through the midfield with the ball at his feet and unleashed the first shot of the game, which took a minor deflection off Bensebaini. Malen showed lightning reactions, ran into the six-yard box and headed the ball over the line for 1-0 (5). Kobel made a strong save to deny a possible equaliser, clawing Bensebaini’s powerful shot away from the corner (12), before Bellingham narrowly missed the target at the other end. The Englishman was slightly fortuitous to see goalkeeper Olschowsky dive over his low penalty kick five minutes later. The spot-kick had been awarded by referee Schlager because of Neuhaus’ foul on Haller (18).

The 81,365 spectators saw a stunning goal as Dortmund made it 3-0 on 20 minutes. Bellingham’s cross from the left was slightly too high and Malen gathered the ball from the opposite corner flag before combining delightfully with Brandt and passing into the middle to Haller, who scored courtesy of a flick with his back to goal. There continued to be plenty of space for the swashbuckling Black & Yellows as Gladbach only half-heartedly closed the gaps. Another example came in the 32nd minute when Can played the ball from deep in his own half towards Brandt in midfield. He found Malen, whose cross from the right flank was again converted by Haller for 4-0. It was the fourth goal involvement of the half for Haller. Olschowsky denied a fifth with a flying save to turn Malen’s precise strike from 18 metres out behind for a corner (37).


Mönchengladbach re-emerged with Itakura in place of Wolf and switched to a back three/five. Like the first half, it got off to a cautious start. It was not until the 61st minute that Dortmund again played their way through the opposition box at lightning speed. A move involving Malen and Guerreiro culminated in Adeyemi asserting himself in close confines before slipping over but still forcing Olschowsky into a save from the ground. Guerreiro and Özcan had come on a short while earlier to replace Ryerson and Hummels, who have four yellows each and are only one booking away from suspension. Can dropped back into central defence alongside Süle, who fired a shot from 30 metres narrowly over the bar (62).

A challenge between Reyna – another new arrival in the game – and Bensebaini resulted into a penalty for Gladbach that was coolly slotted home by the latter (75). Netz went clean through on Kobel seconds after the restart and dinked the ball over the keeper, but Özcan cleared off the line. Adeyemi failed to beat Olschowsky (85), then Netz teed up Stindl who scored Gladbach’s second goal from 17 metres at the other end (86). Two minutes later, Kobel made an outstanding save to thwart Stindl’s volley and spare his team from a nerve-wracking finish. Instead, Reyna rounded off the scoring and made it 5-2 by slotting the ball over the line after Olschowsky had spilled a Guerreiro free-kick into the danger zone (90+4).

BVB will visit FC Augsburg for their final away game of the season at 17:30 CET on Sunday. Bayern Munich will play against Leipzig on Saturday evening.

Teams & goals


Bundesliga Matchday 31

Bor. Dortmund: Kobel – M. Wolf, Süle, Hummels (Özcan, 59), Ryerson (Guerreiro, 59) – Can – Bellingham, Brandt (Reus, 68) – Malen (Reyna, 68), Haller (Moukoko, 79), Adeyemi
Bor. M‘gladbach: Olschowksy – Lainer, Friedrich, Elvedi (Jantschke, 82), Bensebaini – Weigl, Koné (Netz, 75) – Hofmann, Neuhaus (Kramer, 68), H. Wolf (Itakura, 46) – Ngoumou (Stindl, 75)
Substitutes: Meyer, Schlotterbeck, Modeste, Passlack – Sippel, Scally, Herrmann, Thuram
Goals: 1-0 Malen (Haller, 9), 2-0 Bellingham (penalty for foul on Haller by Neuhaus, 18), 3-0 Haller (Malen, 21), 4-0 Haller (Malen, 32), 4-1 Bensebaini (penalty for foul on Bensebaini by Reyna, 75), 4-2 Stindl (Netz, 86), 5-2 Reyna (Guerrreiro, 90+4)
Corners: 10-4 (4-1 at half-time), chance ratio: 9-6 (6-2)
Referee: Schlager (Hügelsheim), yellow cards: – Bensebaini, Kramer
Attendance: 81,365 (sold out), weather: predominantly sunny, 19 degrees