Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp insists he is not thinking about the league title but his young squad has leapt to the top of the table with Sunday's 2-0 win against former leaders Mainz.
Mario Goetze (c.) wrong-footed Mainz's keeper for the opener
Borussia Dortmund maintained their perfect away record for the season, winning their fifth fixture on the road 2-0 in Mainz on Sunday. The hard-fought, but well-deserved win secured Dortmund the top spot in Germany's Bundesliga soccer table, and relegated Mainz to second place.
Prior to the season, nobody could have predicted that Sunday's matchup between minnows Mainz and perennial under-achievers Borussia Dortmund would decide the Bundesliga leader going into November. Yet the two teams aren't just topping the table, they're six and seven points clear of the chasing pack, a situation sure to scare the league's traditional big-hitters on Halloween.
"We stuck to our game plan well against a very strong opponent," Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp told reporters after the match. Klopp described his young side's five consecutive away wins - a record start to a season for any Bundesliga team - as "absolutely insane," but also insisted "we are wasting absolutely no time thinking about the championship."
Coach Klopp was full of praise, but still says the title's not on his radar
Dortmund's 18-year-old homegrown star Mario Goetze was the hero of the game, firing Borussia into the lead on 26 minutes, and later setting up striker Lukas Barrios for the decisive second goal.
Mainz started both halves strongly, and had a great chance to equalize shortly after the break, but Dortmund goalie Roman Weidenfeller held his nerve and saved a penalty from Eugen Polanski.
Japanese newcomer Shinji Kagawa nearly made it two for Dortmund with a long-range drive on 64 minutes, saved by Christian Wetklo in the Mainz goal. Three minutes later, Goetze found space in midfield and delivered a great pass to Lukas Barrios, who skipped around Wetklo and slotted home his fifth goal of the season.
"We have to admit that Dortmund were clearly the better side," Mainz captain Nikolce Noveski said after the table-topping contest. "We could only match them at the beginning of the game, then Dormund took control."
High-scoring Hoffenheim grab third
Hoffenheim's forwards had four chances to celebrate
In Sunday's later fixture, Hoffenheim secured a slightly flattering 4-0 scoreline against their resilient guests Hanover, climbing to third in the table.
Hanover - who have made a surprisingly strong start to the season and sit sixth in the table despite the defeat - were on the back foot for most of the game, after Manuel Schmiedebach was sent off for his second bookable offence in just the 18th minute.
"11 versus 11, it would have been a good game," Hanover coach Mirko Slomka lamented. "But once we went a man down against a strong Hoffenheim team, we had no chance."
The outnumbered visitors held on until first half stoppage time, when Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Thor Sigurdsson scored a rather fortunate opening goal. Not only did Sigurdsson's shot take a wicked deflection, but Hoffenheim were fortunate play wasn't stopped when striker Demba Ba appeared to handle the ball in the build up.
In the second half, the floodgates opened. Sigurdsson added his second from the penalty spot three minutes after the restart, then Demba Ba got on the scoresheet three minutes after that, and German teenager Peniel Mlapa put the result beyond any doubt with about twenty minutes remaining.
"We made our lives rather difficult in the first half, playing too many wayward passes," Hoffenheim coach Ralf Rangnick said after the game. "After the break we improved, and settled the match."
Attack-minded Hoffenheim's strong goal difference means they now occupy third place in the league, though they're equal with fourth-place Bayer Leverkusen on eighteen points. Leverkusen beat struggling Schalke 1-0 on Saturday.
Author: Mark Hallam
Editor: Andreas Illmer