Sports

Dortmund continue to snap at Bayern’s heels

Berlin, May 23 (efe-epa).- Second-place Borussia Dortmund topped Wolfsburg 2-0 Saturday to keep up the pressure on Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich ahead of next week’s Klassiker between the two teams who have dominated German soccer in recent decades.

Dortmund boosted their point total to 57, one fewer than Bayern, who face 13th-place Eintracht Frankfurt in Saturday’s late match.

Between them, Bayern and Dortmund have won 22 Bundesliga crowns over the last 26 seasons.

For the contest at Wolfsburg, Dortmund coach Lucien Favre stuck with the same starting 11 who pummeled Schalke 4-0 last weekend as the Bundesliga returned to action after a two-month interruption because of Covid-19.

The visitors were in command from the opening whistle, but struggled to create quality chances.

Thorgan Hazard, younger sibling of Real Madrid’s Eden, fired over the cross-bar in the 16th minute, though the Belgian made up for it by setting up Raphael Guerreiro’s goal in the 32nd.

The play began with Julian Brandt’s releasing Achraf Hakimi down the right side. The Morocco international advanced the ball to Hazard, whose cross found Guerreiro in the 18-yard box while the Wolfsburg defenders were busy marking Erling Haaland, the teenage Dortmund striker being linked in the media with a possible move to any of a number of elite clubs including Real Madrid and Juventus.

Trailing 1-0, Wolfsburg were much improved to start the second half and Renato Steffan came close to equalizing in the 48th minute with a strike that hit the cross-bar.

The home team’s Daniel Ginczek sent a shot wide a minute later and Steffan forced a save from Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Bürki a little after the hour mark.

With 12 minutes left, Dortmund shut the door with a second goal.

Mo Dahoud recovered the ball in his own end and got it to Jadon Sancho, who rushed forward to the edge of the Wolfsburg area before passing to Hakimi coming down the right side. The Moroccan converted for his eighth goal since joining Dortmund on loan from Real Madrid.

Four minutes after conceding the second goal, Wolfsburg went down to 10 men with the expulsion of Felix Klaus on a straight red card.

The loss leaves Wolfsburg sixth in the Bundesliga with 39 points from 27 matches.

In Saturday’s other early games, visiting Bayer Leverkusen bested Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-1 to overtake the hosts for third place. Kai Havertz had a brace for the winners, who climbed to 53 points, 1 more than Gladbach.

Werder Bremen won away 1-0 against SC Freiburg 1-0 on an early goal by Leonardo Bittencourt to go to 21 points. The northern club are 17th, 6 points from safety, while the home side sit seventh.

Ninth-place Hoffenheim, meanwhile, could do no better than a 1-1 draw with relegation-bound Paderborn. EFE

rz/dr

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