Lars Bender put in a man-of-the-match performance on his return to first team action as Dortmund came from behind to win this evening’s Borussen Derby at Mönchengladbach to move level on points with second-place Schalke, two behind leaders and next opponents Leverkusen.
BVB made two changes from the midweek win over Hamburg, restoring Lars Bender to the starting eleven in place of new signing Jos Verniers, and Julian Koch got the nod at right-back ahead of Andreas Beck, with both replaced players starting on the bench.
The hosts took the lead inside the opening twenty minutes when Alexander Merkel floated a free-kick into the area, met by the head of Håvard Nordtveit. His header was pushed away by Heinz Lindner – making his 100th career league appearance – but the ball came back to Nordtveit who had a simple finish.
Five minutes later and Dortmund drew level. Mario Götze pulled the ball back from the right for Stevan Jovetic who had his drive saved by Marc-André ter Stegen, but André Schürrle reacted quickest and drilled home an equaliser from twelve yards out.
As half-time arrived, Dortmund looked the most likely to make something happen but Ter Stegen was equal to everything the visitors were testing him with.
On the hour, Stevan Jovetic was controversially denied a goal by the offside flag. He was in an offside position as Schmelzer played the ball into Götze, but not actively involved. As a defender challenged and knocked the ball square to Jovetic – now back onside – the Dortmund striker controlled and drilled home.
That was his last action as Surman made the first roll of the dice and made a triple-change, hoping to inject some pace into the game and it paid off immediately. On came Robert Lewandowski, Andreas Beck, and Jos Verniers and it was Beck who intercepted a Merkel pass, hit it long for the run of Lewandowski who took a touch and found the back of the net from a narrow angle.
Gladbach made a pair of changes in the next ten minutes, but the game was won for Dortmund by Marco Reus when he drifted from right to left untracked, received a Götze through-ball and slotted past Ter Stegen from twelve yards out.
Gladbach finished the came with ten men after Igor de Camargo – on the pitch for just eight minutes – limped off in the last five minutes, with the hots having made all three permitted changes.
Dortmund climb two places to third with the last Bundesliga fixture of the weekend, condemning Gladbach to stay in the bottom two. BVB are back in action on Friday night hosting Bayer Leverkusen, while Gladbach travel to Hamburg on Saturday.
Dortmund come to Borussia-Park with an unchanged starting eleven for the third time this season, with just one change in the matchday squad as Lars Bender returns from a dead leg and replaces Kevin Großkreutz on the bench.
The hosts can climb out of the bottom two and up to 13th with three points today, while the visitors can move back into the top three for the first time since October if they can get revenge for Gladbach’s 1-0 win at Signal Iduna Park early on this season.
Jürgen Herzog from the local Latest paper is here with his opinion: “Dortmund’s away form has been a bit sketchy of late, but I think that they’ll record a win to please their travelling fans. The absence of Tony Jantschke will also hit Gladbach hard.”
Benjamin Kirsten will make his début for the hosts if he’s introduced from the bench, while there are some milestones for BVB: Heinz Lindner is making his 100th career league appearance, Mats Hummels is making his 225th, and Jos Verniers is makin his 25th. Robert Lewandowski will make his 125th league appearance for Dortmund if he comes on.
 There’s a slight breeze here in Gladbach as referee Guido Winkmann gets us under way with Dortmund kicking-off!
 Reus causing problems early on as he wins a free-kick out wide. He takes it himself and knocks it in to the six-yard box but Nordtveit heads away comfortably.
 A fantastic run from Mario Götze takes him in to the box and Marc-André ter Stegen is called into action making a great save. Götze picks the ball up in front of the dugouts and dances past three defenders, that would have been a goal of the season contender.
 Götze takes the corner which isn’t cleared far, but Hanke wins the ball from Jovetic and the hosts win back possession.
 GLADBACH 1-0 DORTMUND: The hosts go in front from their first attack. Nordtveit wins a free-kick out on the left wing. Alexander Merkel lifts it into the box where Havard Nordtveit meets it with a header. Lindner saves, but the Norwegian has a simple finish from the rebound.
 Hegeler buys a corner off Hummels. Wendt sends it deep towards the far post and Hummels heads clear, with Dortmund immediately off on a counter. Reus sweeps the ball across goal but Jovetic’s half-volley is straight at the ‘keeper.
 GLADBACH 1-1 DORTMUND: All-square here at Borussia-Park as André Schürrle scores his 11th of the season from twelve yards out. Jovetic stings Ter Stegen’s palms with a thunderous shot, but the ‘keeper can’t hold on and Schürrle slams home an equaliser.
 Schmelzer takes a quick throw for Schürrle to whip a curling cross deep to the far post, but Koch and Lars Bender both attack it and in the end neither makes a clean enough connection and Ter Stegen has an easy save to make.
 Schürrle is given too much time and space as he’s allowed to bring the ball forwards twenty yards direct at goal down the middle, but his eventual shot just whistles wide of the post.
 First caution of the game goes to André Schürrle as he clatters through Zimmermann.
 A spot of head tennis ends as the ball drops nicely for Vierinha 15 yards out but he snatches at the shot and misses the target by a couple of yards.
 Götze fires over the top from 22 yards. All the play is coming through Reus down the right.
HALF-TIME: Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-1 Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga).
 We’re back under way, no changes for either side.
 Corner for Gladbach when Subotic has to head behind a Vierinha cross, with Hegeler arriving at the far post to meet it.
 Nordtveit nearly adds a second but Lindner makes a good save from his header at the corner.
 Merkel hits a 25 yard free-kick straight into the four-man Dortmund wall.
 End-to-end stuff here! Koch and Reus combine well with the former whipping a cross into the box that Schmelzer gets on the end of but the left-back is penalised for a foul before he gets a shot away.
 Ter Stegen slices a backpass up into the air, and Reus controls and blasts back at goal, but the shot is blocked.
 Yellow card for Julian Koch after he holds back Vierinha.
 Disallowed! Stevan Jovetic has the ball in the back of the net but the flag’s up. He was clearly onside as he picked up a loose ball played into his path from Nordtveit, but he’s been penalised as he was in an offside position when Schmelzer played the ball into Götze. Dortmund bench certainly arguing the application of law and phases of play with the fourth official.
 Triple change for Dortmund before play restarts. Off go Sven Bender (6.9), Julian Koch (6.7), and Stevan Jovetic (7.0). On come Jos Verniers, Andreas Beck, and Robert Lewandowski respectively. Bit more pace across the park, and muscle up top.
 GLADBACH 1-2 DORTMUND: Immediate impact from the subs as all three are involved! Verniers hassles Hanke into a sloppy pass, picked up by Beck. He launches it long over the top, Robert Lewandowski latches on, takes a touch in the area then cracks it home past Ter Stegen.
 First change for Gladbach: Luuk de Jong, scorer of the winner last time these sides met, replaces Vierinha (6.9).
 Gladbach have changed things round, now playing with four men up front. Acres of space for Dortmund in the middle.
 Wendt is done by Reus as the Dortmund man goes by him. He squares for Götze but contact isn’t clean and Domínguez blocks on the line.
 Second change for the hosts: Igor de Camargo comes on for Wendt (6.8).
 GLADBACH 1-3 DORTMUND: The risk doesn’t pay-off for the hosts as Dortmund exploit the space in midfield, with Götze and Verniers unchallenged to work the ball in to the box. Götze slides it through to Marco Reus who’s come across from right to left, and the winger slots it home to surely seal the win.
 Matthias Zimmermann is giving the assistant referee an earful, as he clearly feels there was an offside in the build-up. he’s cautioned as replays show that the officials got it spot on. Gladbach make their third change, bringing on Igor de Camargo for Hanke (6.5).
 De Camargo’s game looks like it’s over as a strong challenge from Mats Hummels has left him needing treatment. Yellow card for the Dortmund skipper, and Gladbach will see the game out with ten men.
 Three additional minutes. Dortmund have this sewn up.
FULL-TIME: Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-3 Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga). [PKM]
This Dortmund side get better and better to watch as we head towards the final third of the season. Lars Bender showed exactly why the midfield is built around him, and he and André Schürrle were inspired purchases in the summer even if former employers Leverkusen aren’t doing too badly without them. Friday night will have a huge impact on the destination of the trophy come May.
- 30.01: Bundesliga #21 BVB v. Bayer Leverkusen (Signal Iduna Park)
- 07.02: Bundesliga #22 FC Nürnberg v. BVB (Frankenstadion)
- 14.02: Bundesliga #23 BVB v. Hannover 96 (Signal Iduna Park)
- 19.02: Europa League 1KR(1) RSC Anderlecht v. BVB (Constant Vanden Stock)
- 26.02: Europa League 1KR(2) BVB v. RSC Anderlecht (Signal Iduna Park)