Borussia Dortmund consolidated second place in the Bundesliga on Saturday with a convincing 3-1 win at Borussia Moenchengladbach to trim Bayern Munich’s runaway lead in the table.
Goals by Dortmund’s Marco Reus, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ilkay Gundogan, with a consolation from Gladbach’s Raffael, sealed the win which left Dortmund both eight points behind Bayern and eight points ahead of third-placed Hertha Berlin.
“It’s a very good feeling to have won and it’s impossible to control Gladbach for 90 minutes. After all, they managed to beat Bayern,” said Germany midfielder Gundogan, refering to Gladbach’s 3-1 home win over Munich last month.
“I’m happy that we have kept Bayern’s lead to eight points. Hopefully we can keep increasing the gap between us and Hertha, so that we secure second place at least.”
Dortmund took the lead at Moenchengladbach’s Borussia Park when Gundogan’s superb pass in behind the hosts’ defence allowed Reus to rifle his shot across the face of the goal into the far corner on 41 minutes.
It could have been 2-0 at the break when Mkhitaryan fired wide with the goal at his mercy.
With 50 minutes on the clock, Reus turned goal provider by picking out Mkhitaryan unmarked inside the area to fire home.
Brazilian striker Raffael trimmed the lead by pulling one back for Gladbach seven minutes later before Mkhitaryan’s pass found Gundogan in space to flicked his deft shot into the net with 15 minutes left.
“It was a very complicated game, but we were well prepared, and deserved to win 3-1,” said Reus.
“Gladbach attack hard to begin with and they risked a lot.”
This was only Gladbach’s second league defeat since Andre Schubert took charge last September with the team bottom of the table. They stay fourth.
On Friday, Bayern kicked-off the second half of the season with a 2-1 win at Hamburg thanks to Robert Lewandowski’s two goals.
At the other end of the table on Saturday, veteran Portugal striker Hugo Almeida marked his debut for relegation-threatened Hanover 96 with a goal.
But he was unable to prevent their 2-1 defeat at home to Darmstadt as Sandro Wagner scored both of the visitors’ goals.
The defeat left Hanover bottom as ex-Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf took charge of his first game since replacing Michael Frontzeck over the winter break while Darmstadt are 12th.
– Hertha waste chance –
Third-placed Hertha missed their chance to close the gap behind Dortmund with a goalless draw at home to mid-table Augsburg at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium in wintry conditions.
Stuttgart pulled themselves away from the relegation places with a 3-1 win at Cologne to move up to 14th as Jurgen Kramny picked up his second straight win having been given the head coach role full-time.
Stuttgart finished 2015 with a shock win over Wolfsburg and backed it up by bouncing back despite Anthony Modeste converting an early penalty for Cologne.
Stuttgart roared back with goals from Daniel Didavi, Timo Werner and Christian Gentner.
Bayer Leverkusen stay fifth after their 1-1 draw at Hoffenheim as Jiloan Hamad’s goal for the hosts was cancelled out by Leverkusen captain Omer Toprak’s late strike to rescue a point for the visitors as the hosts climbed off the bottom.
Ingolstadt, who are in their first season in Germany’s top flight, earned a 1-0 win at home to Mainz through a Moritz Hartmann penalty to go tenth in the table.
Champions League side Wolfsburg, who have drawn Ghent in the last 16, are at Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday, while Schalke are at home in the evening against strugglers Werder Bremen.
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