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Sports

Steely Dortmund close gap to five

In a rematch of last year's German Cup Final, Borussia Dortmund got their revenge after a dramatic finish. The result means that Dortmund won on a weekend when Bayern Munich could not.

Wolfsburg 1-2 Dortmund
(Rodriguez pen. 90' - Reus 32', Kagawa 90+2')

The last time Bayern lost and Dortmund won on the same weekend was matchday 32 of last season. Back then, the title had long been in the bag for Bayern and Dortmund were an enormous 33 points behind their Munich rivals. This weekend, with 19 games left in the season Dortmund managed what they could not last season. The difference now, is the gap at the top is just five points.

On the whole, winning when Bayern don't is not something Dortmund have found easy in recent years. In the opening 10 minutes against Wolfsburg though, there was ample evidence to suggest Dortmund were going to be fine. Ilkay Gündogan hammered a free kick off the bar, Sven Bender then did the same from inside the box. Naldo then stopped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang getting to a ball at the back post. It was all Dortmund. Wolfsburg were not in the game.

Slowly that changed, but it was Dortmund who took the lead. Josuha Guilavogui's lack of awareness was capitalized upon by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marco Reus pounced. The lead was deserved, but it kicked the hosts into life. Naldo turned his defensive duties into attack, but Mkhitaryan had done the same and was well-placed to head off the line.

Bundesliga 15. Spieltag VfL Wolfsburg Borussia Dortmund

Many believe Kagawa's goal keeps the title race alive

Penalty pain, then late gain

Max Kruse was noticeable in his absence, as the Wolves looked as tepid as their recent form had suggested. Julian Draxler, relatively quiet, stumbled through but the ball got away from him. It felt like everything was getting away from Wolfsburg, except Roman Bürki. The Swiss keeper has been a concern too many times this season, and he nearly gave Wolfsburg an equalizer. Bas Dost though, missed his chance.

It looked like Dortmund were going to hold on. Aubameyang missed and then Bender performed more defensive heroics. In the end, Dortmund wrestled back control with the kind of character that could be the difference by April next year. Lukasz Piszczek's fine performance was spoiled by a silly foul in the area, handing Wolfsburg a chance they finally converted. Piszczek, like Dortmund, instantly made amends. His pass to an outstanding Mkhitaryan was then sent on to Shinji Kagawa first time. The Japanese star converted coolly, and in doing so gave Dortmund a defining three points.

Thomas Tuchel was sent to the stand for talking too much, but moments later he was back on the pitch celebrating with his players. As much as the victory shows steely determination from Dortmund, it also shows a lack of concentration on Wolfsburg's part. The difference between the two is now three spots in the table and 10 points.

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