At Borussia Dortmund, memories of the blissful championship years under Jürgen Klopp are awakened. The happy ending in the furious 2-1 (2-0) show of strength against pursuers RB Leipzig sent everyone involved into ecstasy. With the tenth success in the tenth competitive game of the year, the belief in the most exciting fight for the cup in what felt like ages grew.
The renewed jump to the top of the table for at least one day did not tempt anyone to declare war on Bayern, but fueled hopes of a similar coup as in the times staged by the former cult coach. "Everyone would like the title race to stay tight until the end," said sporting director Sebastian Kehl. "We've now won our tenth win in a row. That gives us a lot of strength and conviction."
Dortmund equalized the club record
Arm in arm, coach Edin Terzic's pros stood in front of the trembling south stand minutes after the final whistle and let the fan chants get them in the mood for Tuesday's upcoming Champions League second leg at Chelsea. With the eighth Bundesliga victory in a row in the thrilling game against the strong Leipzig, the club record was equalized.
In addition, there was further evidence that the debate about a lack of mentality and performance-reducing fickleness that has been dominant for years is a thing of the past for the time being. "We defend ourselves more, we are ready to suffer, we fight without end. The team took the next step in their development," enthused Kehl.
It fits into the image of a sworn unit that even handicaps such as the short-term absence of regular keeper Gregor Kobel have recently had no consequences. Alexander Meier, who had moved into the goal for him and only found out about his assignment five minutes before kick-off, became the savior in need in Leipzig's urgent phase. The 31-year-old reacted calmly to the subsequent praise: "For me it was like jumping in at the deep end. But I have to be there when I'm needed."
BVB keeps RB at a distance
Thanks to goals from Marco Reus (21st minute/penalty kick) and Emre Can (39th), Borussia not only continued to put pressure on Bayern, who had dominated for years, but also increased the gap to pursuers Leipzig to seven points. "I don't want to arouse too much euphoria. But I remember that we were only sixth before the winter break. We like to take the flow with us, but none of us goes crazy," said Captain Reus.
As in the 1-0 win in Hoffenheim a week ago, the national player believes that there was a lot of stupidity involved in the final phase to save the victory over time: "We're currently working on our luck. But we shouldn't overstrain it."
As with his previous appearances, Reus also collected arguments against Leipzig for staying at BVB. Not only because he caught up with the Dortmund record player Michael Zorc with his 159th competitive goal for his home club. "We are in talks. I've made my point of view clear several times," said Reus about the status of the negotiations about his contract, which expires at the end of the season. When asked if he was definitely not averse to continuing to spend time at the Revierclub, the 33-year-old replied to DAZN: "Yes, of course."
Rose: "We mustn't lie to our pockets"
Unlike Borussia, Leipzig did not reward themselves for their big fight. Emil Forsberg's goal in the 74th minute was ultimately not enough. That spoiled the mood of coach Marco Rose when he returned to his old place of work for the first time. "With the performance, it's hard to accept that we lose a game like that. The second half was more than clear to us," said the football teacher.
He mourned the missed opportunity to get just one point behind Dortmund: "The fact is that for the first time we're looking at everything from a little further back. Seven points - that's quite a bit. We can't lie to our pockets now." said Rose.
Midfielder Kevin Kampl saw it in a similar way: "It was a bit like two faces again: We didn't do a few things right in the first half and that's being punished mercilessly here. But we could have turned the game around."