Goals from Marco Reus and Mats Hummels have fired BVB to the top of the table for the first time this season after beating Leverkusen 3-1 at home tonight despite the first-half dismissal of Marcel Schmelzer.
Dortmund went into the match third, two points behind leaders Leverkusen, but now sit clear by a single point for at least another day after a fifth straight Bundesliga win, though Schalke will take top spot if they win at Hertha Berlin on Sunday. Gray Surman kept an unchanged starting XI from the side that won at Mönchengladbach last weekend, with just one change in the squad: Dennis Praet returning from a minor leg injury to replace Kevin Großkreutz on the bench.
Leverkusen started brightest, and Linder was called into action inside the opening two minutes but was equal to Renato Augusto’s fierce drive. As Dortmund were starting to get a foothold in the match, the dynamic was changed when Marcel Schmelzer lunged into a poor challenge on Daniel Schwwab, seeing a straight red.
Dortmund moved to three at the back, keeping the attacking drive, and within ten minutes Marco Reus had scored a brace to throw the title race wide open. the first game when Mario Götze was given time to knock a ball into Steven Jovetic that the strike flicked on for Reus to run onto and drill past Bernd Leno.
Within 45 seconds of Leverkusen restarting, they conceded possession allowing Götze and Jovetic to repeat the move. Reus cut in from the right, latched onto the through-ball and doubled the lead with aplomb.
At the break, Felipe Santana replaced Andreas Beck, giving BVB three centre-backs. They came out the blocks fast looking for a killer third, but were caught out on a counter attack seven minutes in, with Simon Rolfes finishing a long-ball from Renato Augusto.
Leverkusen pushed and pushed, but Dortmund matched them in the final third, and when Mats Hummels headed home a corner with twelve minutes to play, it was the motivational lift the hosts needed to show confidence in seeing the game out and go top of the table.
Marcel Schmelzer was fined one week’s wages for his dismissal and has been given an automatic one-match ban that may be extended by the DFL. He’ll miss the trip to Nürnberg taking place a week on Sunday.
Holders host leaders here at Signal Iduna Park as matchday twenty-one of the Bundesliga season gets under way with Borussia Dortmund at home to Bayer Leverkusen. The winners will be top tonight, but will it be the hosts for the first time this season, or can the visitors extend their lead over their rivals the five points?
Just one change in the matchday squad for Dortmund and it’s on the bench where Dennis Praet replaces Kevin Großkreutz. Lars Bender and André Schürrle both start against their previous employers, while Moritz Leitner is on the bench for the visitors.
 Thorsten Kinhöfer checks his watch, gives the signal, and Dortmund kick-off this title clash!
 Early opportunity for Bayer as Subotic fouls Kießling. The free-kick gets clipped into Augusto who takes a snap-shot which Lindner does well to palm away.
 Early pressure has been from the visitors, but Dortmund are starting to get their foot on the ball. Jovetic is penalised for a foul on the visiting ‘keeper as Reus swings a cross into the box.
 Schürrle hits a speculative effort well-wide from all of thirty yards.
 Dortmund have the first corner of the game as Schwaab puts behind a low cross whipped in from Reus towards Schürrle at the far post. Rolfes heads behind Götze’s deliver for a second from the opposite side. Subotic rises highest the second time but heads wide.
 Jovetic tries a cheeky flick towards goal as Leno is off his ine but he underhits it and the goalkeeper gathers.
 Schürrle whistles a daisycutter wide of Lenos left-hand post from the edge of the box.
 Schwaab has a go from a 30-yard free-kick but he’s always heading off-target after Sven Bender trpped Rolfes.
 Corner for Dortmund as Rolfes gets a deflection on a Götze shot. He takes it himself and is almost celebrating as a Hummels header flicks towards goal but bends inches wide.
 Corner for Leverkusen after Schmelzer’s challenge on Junior Fernandes. Lars Bender heads away the set-piece before Augusto over hits a ball back into the box.
 Leverkusen should be ahead after a long-ball forwards is collected by Frei who gets inside the box and squares to Kießling twelve yards out. Sven Bender launches himself in front of the shot, sending it back to Frei who hits it first time only to be blocked by Subotic, before Dortmund clear.
 Götze bends a Dortmund corner, won by Reus, deep to the far post where SUboptic peels away from his man but heads straight at a Grateful Leno.
 Omer Toprak is a lucky man after an abysmal backpass towards his goalkeeper lands at the feet of Mario Götze 15 yards out, but under pressure from Wollscheid, he hits it first time and grazes the outside of the post.
 RED CARD! Marcel Schmelzer has been sent-off by Thorsten Kinhöfer after he dived into a challenge on Daniel Schwaab right in front of the assistant referee. It doesnt look like he went with both feet but the scissor-style challenge has been punished strongly today.
 Dortmund look like they’re going with three at the back as Hummels is drifting over to cover the now-vacant left-back spot.
 Wollscheid slips as he goes to clear a Schürrle ball over the top, letting Jovetic rob him of possession, but Leno is quick off his line and smothers.
 DORTMUND 1-0 LEVERKUSEN: First blood in the title race as Marco Reus smashes home a low drive from a Jovetic flick forwards. Götze does the work to bring the ball forwards and into Jovetic who spins it off into the path of Reus who opens the scoring.
 DORTMUND 2-0 LEVERKUSEN: Bayer concede possession within seconds of the restart to Götze who’s allowed to bring the ball forwards. He plays it into Jovetic who spins it off to Marco Reus who repeats his shot of just 98 seconds ago to double the lead.
 Dortmund are playing with nine as Sven Bender is off receiving treatment following an awkward landing. Leverkusen win themselves a corner, which Subotic heads away but the hosts don’t have the bodies to mount a counter.
 Schürrle stings Leno’s palms with a 20-yard drive, and Schwaab dicthers over clearing the loose ball, eventually conceding a corner under pressure from Jovetic.
HALF-TIME: Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Bayer Leverkusen (Bundsliga).
[HT] Change at the break for Dortmund, with Felipe Santana coming on for right-back Beck (7.0) meaning they’re going 3-2-3-1 with three centre-backs after Schmelzer’s dismissal. Bold move from Surman.
 Leverkusen kick-off the second-half!
 Leno is called into action twice in the opening minute of the second-half, having to sprint off his line to claim firstly at the feet of Götze, then with Jovetic as Reus is feeding balls through into the box.
 Great save by Leno who pushes away a fierce Sven Bender drive that was arrowing towards the top corner.
 BVB have come flying back out of the box. Götze drills a shot over from 22 yards. They’re definitely looking to stun the visitor and kill this game off with a third. A Leverkusen goal now will make things very interesting.
 DORTMUND 2-1 LEVERKUSEN …and there it is! Renato Augusto has time in the middle as he isn’t closeddown, drawing Hummels out of position. He lofts the ball over the top of the centre-backs for Simon Rolfes to race onto and slot past Lindner.
 Dortmund have themselves a corner after Reus has a cross put behind by Kadlec, but they can’t work anything from it, and look vulnerable to a counter.
 Leverkusen go forwards and win a corner of their own. One comes former Dortmund midfielder Motiz Leitner for Frei (6.5). He takes the corner which Santana heads behind for another.
 Lindner is at full-stretch low down to push away a 18-yard Rolfes drive, and Junior Fernandes fluffs the rebound, screwing it well wide from eight yards out. All the impetus is with the visitors now.
 Felipe Santana has come forward and he’s picked out by Sven Bender 25 yards from goal and he’s not shy in having a shot which whistles over the bar with Leno rooted to the spot.
 Corner Bayer. Sven Bender challenges Rolfes who’s really running the forward line for Leverkusen.
 Couple of wayward efforts from Schürrle and Götze sail past Leno’s posts thirty seconds apart.
 Schürrle wins a corner off Schwaab. Wollscheid clears though. Dortmund not as prolific this season from set-pieces, something they’ll surely want to improve. They win another corner though when Kadlec heads behind.
 Corner Leverkusen, Hummels tackles Augusto cleanly, but the Leverkusen man looks uncomfortable. Santana clears Leitner’s deep corner, Reus breaks… but he can’t find Jovetic with a square ball.
 Toprak wins the ball off Schürrle, then miscontrols it out for a Dortmund corner. Second change for Leverkusen who bring on Pedro León for Augusto (7.0).
 DORTMUND 3-1 LEVERKUSEN: What was I saying about corners just now? Mario Götze whips an in-swinger in towards the near post where Mats Hummels gets above his man and powers a header past the man on the line. That could be a massive goal in the title race!
 Leverkusen make an interesting third change as top-scorer Kießling (6.0) is replaced after a disappointing day. On comes Gonzalo Castro, which means no début tonight for Ryo Miyaichi.
 Kadlec has gone in hard on Reus, similar to the Schmelzer dismissal. Just a free-kick. Dortmund bench livid.
 León is played through by Schwaab, forced to a narrow angle by Sven Bender, and the Leverkusen sub can’t get a square ball to an unmarked Rolfes by the penalty spot. Last time I typed that a goal would make things interesting it happened, so I’ll shut up.
 Opportunity for Leverkusen to get the ball into the box after León is fouled by the touchline by Lars Bender, but the former-Bayer player makes amends with a towering header to clear the danger.
 Bayer players are campedoutside the Dortmund box but the hosts are defending resolutely.
 Two additional minutes.
[90+3] We’re into the third added-on minute and Dortmund are keeping the ball by the corner flag.
FULL-TIME: Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Bayer Leverkusen (Bundesliga). [PKM]
A massive win for Dortmund as they go top of the table for the first time this season! The Schmelzer dismissal may have looked harsh, but the referee clamped-down the first opportunity he had in this title-race match and it didn’t boil over.
Leverkusen were made to pay twice in ninety seconds with Marco Reus – putting in a fantastic performance throughout – scored almost identical goals to give Dortmund a two-goal cushion at the break. They pushed hard for a quick third after the interval, couldn’t make it work, and were punished on a counter attack that gave the visitors hope.
Mats Hummels comes up with goals in big games, and the captain did it again today with a towering header inside the final quarter of an hour and with hearts lifted, Dortmund hung on to take three big points today and sit proudly top of the table for 24 hours at least.
These two sides will meet again in a month for a place in the DFB-Pokal Semi-Final.
- 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)
- 04.03: DFB-Pokal QF Bayer Leverkusen v. BVB (BayArena)