Borussia Dortmund has sprinted out of the gate to start the second half of the Bundesliga season, beating Leverkusen 3-1 and strengthening their position at the top of the table.
The second half resumed with a hard-fought match
It was billed as a clash of two of the league's best teams, but in the first game of the second half of the season, Borussia Dortmund left no doubt about who was currently king of the Bundesliga, beating Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 on their own patch in a rainy contest.
The game was decided in a six-minute period at the start of the second half, with Dortmund blitzing three goals.
"We dominated and deserved to win against a strong opponent" said Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp. "We know this was a big point."
Großkreutz, right, scored two of Dortmund's goals
Both teams showed some signs of rust from the winter break in the first half with a few sloppy passes here and there, but there was no question that this was a meeting of two of the Bundesliga's best teams.
Dortmund had the first chance after just three minutes off a free kick by Nuri Sahin. Sven Bender - playing against his twin brother Lars - managed to get his head on the ball, but it bounced off the post.
Stefan Kießling, who missed a large part of the first half for Leverkusen due to injury, had both of Leverkusen's big first half chances. In the 12th minute, Kießling waited just a bit too long before shooting in a one-one-one with Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller, and the ball was cleared by a sprinting Neven Subotic from Dortmund's defense. Kießling also missed a chance at a header in the 40th minute after a nice cross from Renato Augusto.
Quick out of the blocks
In the second half, however, Dortmund removed all doubt that they were the better team on the field.
Just four minutes after play resumed, Dortmund's Lukasz Pisczek launched a long throw-in into the area. Leverkusen defender Manuel Friedrich tried to head the ball away but missed, deflecting the ball unintentionally with his arm instead. No whistle was blown, but the ball landed right in front of Kevin Großkreutz, who easily fired past Leverkusen keeper Rene Adler.
Four minutes later, it was Großkreutz again, this time taking a pass from Kevin Lewandowski all the way to the goal and shooting uncontested from distance to make the score 2-0.
Dortmund fans are flying high on their team's domination of the league
There was no respite for Leverkusen, as Dortmund slammed the door shut on the game just two minutes later. Großkreutz won a duel with Freidrich and managed to put the ball in front of 18-year-old Mario Götze, who coolly slotted past Adler.
"Dortmund dominated us in all aspects," Adler said. "It hurts badly."
Stefan Kießling pulled one back for Leverkusen in the 80th minute, nearly injuring himself in the process. But it was too little, too late as Dortmund withstood some late pressure to claim the points.
The first match day of the second half of the Bundesliga season continues Saturday, with second place Mainz playing on the road against bottom-dwellers Stuttgart, and Wolfsburg hosting defending champs Bayern Munich.
Author: Matt Zuvela, Andrew Bowen
Editor: Rob Turner