Hosts Dortmund were the clear favorites against opponents who hadn’t won since early December. But Gladbach coach Lucien Favre had a defensive plan to contain the men in yellow and black and pulled off a 2-1 upset.
As expected, Dortmund came out attacking , while Gladbach – on a nine-game winless streak – defended deep. As a result, Dortmund were the more dangerous side in the early part of the match.
Their best chance came on the half-hour mark, when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit the bar. Only two minutes later, and against the run of play, the Foals caught Dortmund out on the break. Raffael stumbled the ball in to give the visitors an unlikely lead.
But there was nothing lucky about Max Kruse's goal ten minutes later. The 25-year-old striker juked Lukasz Piszczek out of his socks and fired a hard left-footed shot past Roman Weidenfeller to put the Foals up 2-0.
Marc-André ter Stegen was in top form to deny Robert Lewandowski in the second half. Twenty minutes from time, Gladbach's Harvard Nordtveit got himself sent off with two foolish yellow cards. Seven minutes later, Dortmund broke the ice when Milos Jojic banged in a deflected shot. But the Foals hung on by the skin of their teeth to book a 2-1 upset win and nab all three points.
"Finally we won," Favre said after the match. "It was a tough patch so we're very relieved."
The result means that Gladbach shoot up to seventh. Second-placed Dortmund are only one point ahead of their arch-rivals Schalke, who beat Augsburg on Friday.
Hoeness-less Bayern breeze past Leverkusen
The big talking point ahead of Bayern’s home match against Leverkusen was whether the hosts would be distracted by club potentate Uli Hoeness’ resignation following his conviction for tax evasion during the week.
In the first half, it looked as though they might be. The visitors took the initiative and generated three good chances. Bayern had Manuel Neuer to thank for not falling behind.
Toward the end of the first half, Munich’s quality shone through. Forward Mario Mandzukic rose higher than Leverkusen’s central defense to nod home a cross.
After the break, a convalescent Bastian Schweinsteiger curled in a lovely free kick from 22 meters to double Bayern’s advantage. The hosts easily ran out their twenty-third win of the Bundesliga season, although Stefan Kiessling got a consolation goal to make the final score a respectable-looking 2-1. A sell-out crowd celebrated the result by singing the name of a fallen hero: Uli Hoeness.
Leverkusen drop to fourth in the table having lost four of their last five Bundesliga matches.
Stevens coaches Stuttgart to draw
At the other end of the table, new coach Huub Stevens' first match in charge of relegation-threatened Stuttgart was an away clash in Bremen. The influence of the veteran Dutchman, known for his emphasis on not conceding, was apparent from the start, as the visitors took a 0-0 scoreline into the changing rooms. In fact, the visitors could have led, but former Bremen striker Martin Harnik missed an early penalty.
In minute 55, a blunder by Sebastian Prödl left Georg Niedermeier one-on-one with the keeper. On his second attempt the hulking defender found the net to give Stuttgart hope of their first win since round 15.
Bremen had little to offer until ten minutes from time, when Aaron Hunt rifled in a slightly deflected free kick to level the score. And that was all she wrote, as the match petered out 1-1.
"We should have rewarded ourselves," Stevens told reporters after the match. "But the way we played could be the way. If we keep on going, we'll escape the bottom."
The result leaves Stuttgart in fifteenth in the table, but both Hamburg and Freiburg have the chance to leapfrog them on Sunday.
More high drama for Hoffenheim
Hoffenheim may not have many fans around Germany, but if nothing else, they're certainly entertaining. At home against Mainz, they earned a penalty after less than two minutes, but the normally reliable Sejad Salihovic blasted over. By contrast, Eugen Polanski and Roberto Firmino were on target to give the Hoff a 2-0 lead early in the second half.
But Mainz came back within the space of eight minutes. Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting got things going in minute 67, then Niklas Süle's misguided clearance hit an attacker and rebounded in over Koen Casteels, and Shinji Okazaki completed the remarkable turnaround from close range. Okazaki added another in the dying minutes to make the final score 4-2.
Away to last-placed Braunschweig, Wolfsburg needed three points to bolster their drive for the Champions League. And Luiz Gustavo duly put them ahead in minute 36. The Wolves failed to kill the match, though, and a Karim Bellarabi goal early in the second half was enough to secure the Lions a 1-1 draw.
Hanover got a 3-0 away win against Hertha Berlin. Lars Stindl, Jan Schlaudraff and Szabolcs Huszti scored the goals, all in the second half.
Sunday sees two relegation battles. Hamburg host Nuremberg , and Frankfurt face Freiburg.