Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus scored late to close the gap with Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich to one point with a 2-1 home win over Stuttgart on Saturday.
Dortmund looked set for disappointment as they struggled to take advantage of Bayern’s 2-1 loss to Augsburg the night before, but Reus caught the home side’s winner in the 85th minute when he tapped in the rebound after Florian Müller saved Thorgan Hazard’s initial effort. .
The opportunity presented itself with a counterattack from the corner of Stuttgart as the visitors themselves searched for the winner.
Dortmund were again without injured star striker Erling Haaland watching from the stands.
Dutch forward Donyell Malen scored his first Bundesliga goal since joining Dortmund in the offseason from PSV Eindhoven, but Stuttgart fought back thanks to Roberto Massimo.
Stuttgart made life difficult from the start and had the best chance in the first half when Gregor Kobel was forced to make a superb save to prevent Tanguy Coulibaly a few minutes before half-time.
Malen, who had been criticized for failing to settle down after his move, eventually scored his first league goal in the 56th, although he was somewhat lucky as his long-distance effort took a toll. decisive deflection of the captain of Stuttgart, Wataru Endo.
Massimo equalized on a counterattack seven minutes later, but Reus had the last laugh.
DERBY HONOR FOR THE UNION
Boasting the novelty of a sold-out stadium, Union Berlin defeated downtown rival Hertha Berlin 2-0 in a largely peaceful derby and climbed to fifth place.
The first half goals of Taiwo Awoniyi and captain Christopher Trimmel were enough for the Union to claim the unofficial title of “Stadtmeister” (city champion) and leave Hertha floundering in 13th place, far from the places of European qualifications that it has targeted.
It was the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic that the Union was allowed to sell its 22,012-seat stadium, and the first time that fans could attend the Berlin derby since November 2019.
Memories of unrest during that match meant a strong police presence around the stadium. Berlin police said on Twitter that around 1,000 officers were on duty to “protect the game, the city and of course the fans.”
Union wasn’t promoted until 2019, but she’s doing much better than her neighbor to the west of the city. Urs Fischer’s side have totaled 108 points since being promoted, 19 more than Hertha over the same period.
During their previous visit to the eastern district of Köpenick, Hertha supporters fired fireworks at the pitch and at Union supporters. Union goalkeeper Rafał Gikiewicz confronted angry supporters of his own team to prevent them from reaching Hertha fans after the match.
There was only a brief hiatus in the game this time around, due to a lone firework display when it was already clear Union would win.
Awoniyi opened the scoring in the eighth minute, taking advantage of a defensive error by Márton Dárdai and returning his shot to the left post. This led to a sound eruption. Journalists in the press area protected their laptops while some fans threw away their drinks.
The visitors tried to respond but lacked the edge to really disturb Andreas Luthe in the Union goal.
It proved the difference between the teams as Trimmel scored the second goal from a corner when he took off from a distance and saw his shot pass several players and inside the far post at the 30th.
Peter Pekarik took a shot right off the far post in response. He thought he scored before the break. But the goal was ruled out by VAR – after a long delay – for offside in preparation.
Hertha had a good chance to counterattack after the break when he had three attackers against just two defenders, but Marco Richter’s cross passed all of his teammates. He summed up the visitors’ game.
Only fans who have shown proof of vaccination or recovery from COVID-19 were allowed to attend restrictions intended to limit the risk of infection. Germany is going through a fourth wave of coronavirus infections and the national rate is rising every day.
Earlier, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen also won, beating promoted Greuther Fürth 4-0 and Bochum 1-0 respectively.
Hoffenheim beat the Leipzig side of US coach Jesse Marsch 2-0 and Arminia Bielefeld drew with Wolfsburg 2-2.
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