Sébastien Haller’s two goals in a 3-0 victory against 10-man Augsburg on Sunday sent Borussia Dortmund to the top of the Bundesliga with one round left.
The Ivory Coast attacker broke through the home team’s tenacious defence in the 59th minute and clinched the victory in the 84th. In injury time, Julian Brandt scored Dortmund’s third goal.
Dortmund now leads 10-time reigning champion Bayern Munich by two points heading into the final round. Dortmund took the lead when Bayern lost to Leipzig the day before.
“Now we have to sleep six times and be awake once,” Dortmund coach Edin Terzi remarked before his team’s last game against Mainz on Saturday. At the same time, Bayern travels to Cologne for its last game.
Dortmund, which was without star player Jude Bellingham due to a knee injury, pressed from the outset and created many scares in Augsburg’s closely packed defence.
In the greatest early opportunity, Augsburg custodian Tomá Koubek diverted Haller’s attempt wide.
Dortmund’s angst seemed to be rising until Felix Uduokhai was sent off in the 39th minute with a straight red card following a VAR review for tripping Donyell Malen when the Dortmund winger went through on goal.
It did, however, guarantee that the home team was even more defensive. Enrico Maaßen’s team had one shot on goal in the first half, while the visitors had 17.
Maximilian Bauer blocked Malen’s cross but allowed the ball fall for Haller, who needed no second invitation to turn and fire inside the far post.
Gregor Kobel had to be alert to deny Irvin Cardona from equalising before Dortmund’s Karim Adeyemi wasted another fine opportunity at the other end.
Terzi introduced Marco Reus in the 81st minute, and the skipper immediately made an impression, prompting a brilliant stop from Koubek three minutes later. Haller was on hand to secure the comeback result.
The visiting supporters reacted by chanting, “German champion will only be BVB.”
“If you told me six months ago that I’d be in this position, I wouldn’t have believed it,” said Haller, who missed the season’s preparation and first half while having chemotherapy for testicular cancer.
HOPE OF STUTTGART
Wataru Endo of Japan scored one goal and set up another as Stuttgart beat Mainz 4-1 to climb out of the relegation zone.
Stuttgart has moved ahead of Bochum (32 points) on goal difference and one point ahead of Schalke with one round of the league left. Hertha Berlin was relegated on Saturday after finishing bottom with 26 points.
Stuttgart was forced to come back after conceding in the 23rd minute.
Endo equalised in the 41st minute on a counterattack, when Silas Katompa Mvumpa sprinted away before crossing for Serhou Guirassy.
Chris Führich came in as a substitute in the 62nd minute, set up Guirassy for Stuttgart’s second goal in the 64th minute, and then scored himself in the 78th minute after Endo set him up.
Führich didn’t stop there, as he set up Tanguy Coulibaly to score in injury time.
Bayer Leverkusen lost a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Borussia Mönchengladbach.
“It feels like a defeat,” Kerem Demirbay of Leverkusen stated after two crucial errors contributed to the visitors’ goals.
It is Leverkusen’s sixth game without a victory in a row, including two Europa League semifinals versus Roma. Cologne interrupted their 14-game undefeated streak in the Rhine derby on May 5, and Xabi Alonso’s club has yet to recover.