Borussia Dortmund didn’t produce their best performance on Saturday, but they were good enough to record a 2-0 victory against Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena, keeping them right in contention for the Bundesliga title.
Dortmund came into the clash off the back of a 4-0 thumping of rivals Schalke, but they were given a much stiffer task in Lower Saxony, against a Wolfsburg side that are battling for the final Europa League position.
BVB, who confirmed ahead of kick-off that Mario Gotze would be leaving when his contract expires in the summer, enjoyed the bulk of possession in the first half without creating many clear-cut chances, but they managed to open the scoring in the 32nd minute when Raphael Guerreiro bagged his third goal in two matches.
Lucien Favre was forced into a change at the interval when Mats Hummels picked up a foot injury, the defender replaced by Emre Can, but initial reports are that the former Bayern Munich centre-back will be available for Tuesday’s crucial Der Klassiker (Dortmund 13/5, Draw 16/5, Bayern 10/11 – Match Odds).
Wolfsburg improved after the break, but it was Dortmund who grabbed a much-needed second in the 78th minute. Achraf Hakimi fired a crisp strike into the bottom-left corner and any hopes of a comeback for the Wolves were dashed when Felix Klaus was sent off for an attempted kick out.
Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen moved up to third spot in the table after recording a 3-1 victory against Borussia Monchengladbach at Borussia-Park, in what was arguably the most entertaining game of the 2:30pm kick-offs.
Kai Havertz, who continues to be linked with a move to the Premier League, scored his second brace in two matches, either side of Marcus Thuram’s strike for the hosts.
Both sides passed up opportunities after the break, but it was Sven Bender’s header nine minutes from time that proved decisive, as Bayer ran out 3-1 winners.
RB Leipzig can jump into third position if they manage to pick up all three points in Sunday’s trip to Mainz, who are only one place above the relegation play-off place (Mainz 11/2, Draw 4/1, Leipzig 4/9 – Match Odds).
There were also two huge matches involving teams battling to avoid relegation, as rock-bottom Paderborn came from a goal down to draw 1-1 at home to Hoffenheim.
The basement boys are five points adrift of Fortuna Dusseldorf, who occupy the relegation play-off position, but the result over at the Schwarzwald-Stadion will be a danger to their hearts.
Werder Bremen, who had not picked up a win since mid-January, managed to record a 1-0 victory at Freiburg, which has cut the gap to Fortuna to just two points.