Borussia Dortmund 4-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
Raffael's opener was met with a fierce reaction from Borussia Dortmund as Thomas Tuchel's men swept away their Bundesliga visitors in style thanks to goals from Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Marcel Schmelzer and Ousmane Dembele.
The hosts started the game in typical fashion, taking the game to their opposition instantly and displaying a real desire to win the ball back at every opportunity. The match promised to be entertaining and full of goals, and within just six minutes the deadlock was broken – by the struggling visitors.
After Reus couldn’t get on the end of Aubameyang’s cut back at the other end, the Dortmund defence made a real hash of dealing with a cross from the left by Oscar Wendt, and the ball eventually fell to Raffael, who expertly struck home to make the home side pay for their lackadaisical defending.
The lead was short lived though, as Ousmane Dembele raced upfield to play in Reus, and the talismanic German was able to pick out the pass for Aubameyang at the near post to blast beyond Sommer’s reach. With only ten minutes played, the 80,000 strong Westfalenstadion was getting immense value for money, as the action showed no signs of slowing.
On the fifteen minute mark, Dortmund took the lead, with Lukasz Piszczek getting the crucial touch from Bartra’s flick on, as the men in yellow dealt a cruel blow to Gladbach’s chances of getting anything from the match. The early optimism for Andre Schubert’s team was gone, Die Schwarzegelben assumed full control.
As the shell-shock wore off for Gladbach, Dortmund attempted to hit them again with a lightning counter attack, as Aubameyang, Bartra and Reus linked up to carve open the defence, with the latter scuffing an awkward half-volley. Reus, starting his first Bundesliga game of the season, was denied again by a superb block from Elvedi after Dembele had done well to play him in.
As the first half came to a close, the tempo fizzled out, as Gladbach enjoyed the luxury of possession for a short spell without really showing any intent to attack. For all of Dortmund's superiority, their back line showed one or two cracks which could have been exploited by opposition of a higher standard.
The hosts came out in the second half with the same attacking mentality, as Reus exquisitely backheeled in at the far post from Schmelzer’s cross, only for the goal to be chalked off for offside. Minutes later, Reus almost committed a horrific error with a backpass to the goalscorer Raffael, but there were no white shirts to meet the Brazilian’s cross to make the opening count.
Aubameyang stung the palms of Sommer with a fierce shot on goal, and Christensen had to get his timing right with a last-ditch challenge to deny Reus, as Dortmund ramped up the pressure to kill off any hopes of a Gladbach revival. And then they struck. Dembele turned from provider to goalscorer with an intricate piece of skill to create space inside the box before turning to wonderfully slot home and send Gladbach packing.
Dortmund were on the verge of extending their club record run of 27 Bundesliga games unbeaten at home, as Aubameyang picked up yet another goal to make it 4-1. Creating his third goal of the afternoon, Reus probed through the heart of the defence before picking out Aubameyang, who slammed home the finish to grab his 15th league goal of the season.
Gladbach will need to regroup quickly, as a crunch tie with Barcelona in the Champions League beckons, while Dortmund will travel to Real Madrid looking to seal top spot in their group.