Borussia Dortmund have scraped past last-placed Braunschweig 2-1, logging their first Bundesliga win since November. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did the damage either side of half time in a shaky showing from Dortmund.
Borussia Dortmund had to sweat for only their second win in eight Bundesliga matches, the first since a November 30 fixture in Mainz. Gabonese forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang secured three crucial points for Jürgen Klopp's side.
Playing to fanatical support in the Eintracht-Stadion pressure-cooker, Braunschweig roared out of the blocks against Borussia Dortmund, logging the first three shots of the match. This was symptomatic of an opening period in which Dortmund could scarcely string six passes together. In a sign of their problems in possession, Dortmund's first notable chances hailed from set pieces.
If anything, Dortmund's opener came against the run of play after 30 minutes. Sokratis picked out Lewandowski with a sublime long ball, the departing Pole lifted what seemed like a shot over the onrushing Daniel Davari, and Aubameyang headed the ball into the empty net.
Aubameyang had a second disallowed for offside later in the opening period, again with Lewandowski the provider.
Better after the break
Klopp's crew started the second period more purposefully, with Reus forcing Davari into a splendid save shortly after the break. The chance was the result of a dream delivery from Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who was to have rather less joy when shooting himself later in the game.
But Borussia, as so often this season, looked susceptible from Braunschweig's set pieces, ultimately conceding from a corner. Defender Benjamin Kessel fired home a low corner at the near post 54 minutes into the match, Roman Weidenfeller got his gloves to the shot but couldn't redirect it.
Just over 10 minutes later, Marco Reus released Aubameyang in space down the left flank, timing his pass perfectly. Aubameyang drilled a low, left-footed shot past Davari to temporarily move joint-first in the Bundesliga's list of top scorers. Like teammate Lewandowski and Hertha Berlin's Adrian Ramos, Aubameyang has struck 11 times in the league this season, often as a second-half substitute.
Lewandowski, Reus and Mkhitaryan in particular all spurned golden chances to finish off the Bundesliga relegation candidates - leading to a tense closing period for the traveling fans. Tension morphed into terror in second-half stoppage time, when Ermin Bicakcic headed onto the inside of Weidenfeller's post from close range. However, the ball bounced obediently back into the Dortmund captain's arms off the aluminum.
The overdue league win puts Dortmund one point adrift of second-placed Bayer Leverkusen, who entertain Stuttgart on Saturday in the Bundesliga.