Dortmund wins the Borussia Derby 2-1 over second-place Monchengladbach. Following the disappointing loss against Dusseldorf, tonight’s win gives Dortmund a nine-point cushion (soon to be at least six) going into the winter break.
The first half appeared to be edged by Dortmund as they had the majority of possession and did the most with the ball when they had it, most notably in the 20th minute when Raph stole the ball of the Gladbach player and sprinted ahead in the opponent’s half of the field. He passed it to Alcácer, who deflected it into the waiting run of Reus, who fired a low shot that was unfortunately saved by the Gladbach keeper Sommer.
It was around the 34th minute that Alcácer came off the field under suspicious circumstances. It didn’t look like he took a knock or pulled up after a run. He just… walked off. The commentators suggested that he may have been feeling ill, but regardless Mario Götze came on for an early Dortmund substitution.
As the first half wound down, Dortmund scored the important first goal in the 42nd minute. Hakimi intercepted a lazy pass and sent a longball forward for Reus. He raced into the Gladbach third and laid it off for Götze, who found Sancho on the right-hand side. The English teen phenom did a little move to get some space and drove to the right and took a shot at a ridiculous angle that bounced off the far post and in. The confidence needed to take a shot from that angle was absolutely absurd, and it gave Dortmund the 1-0 lead.
Unfortunately, the lead wouldn’t last long as Gladbach scored a controversial equalized right before the halftime whistle. Gladbach drove at the Dortmund defense and got a cross into the crowded box. The ball fell to Christoph Kramer, who’s first attempted header hit off his own hand before falling back to his feet, where he scored the equalizing goal. VAR took a look and must’ve decided we’re cool with handballs in 2018, because the goal stood and both teams went into the break with the score 1-1.
Dortmund retook the lead thanks to captain Reus. Alassane Pléa had the ball stolen from him in our end (Toprak may or may not have fouled him in the process), and Sanch drove down the pitch on the counter. The best Englishman in Germany drew four or five Gladbach players to him, freeing Sancho to find Götze on the right, and the 2014 World Cup winner slipped in a diven ball across the goal, and Reus finished off his run with a sliding goal to make it 2-1.
Dortmund continued to control the game as they looked to take advantage of Gladbach’s eagerness to go forward. Dortmund’s lethality on the counter was put on display multiple times as they retook the ball and their speed was too much to handle. All that was needed to put the match well and truly away was another goal. They nearly got one in the 64th minute when a Reus free kick rattled off the bar.
Dortmund’s defense, which I specifically mentioned in the preview as a point of emphasis, played very well with Wiegl partnered with Toprak. Hakimi was a rocketship on the left, and Pisz was his usual self on the right. Delaney and Witsel were excellent in the central midfield, bossing and physically dominating in both offense and defense.
Man, what a great way to end 2018!