Dortmund charged into the top four of the Bundesliga with an impressive 2-0 win away at buoyant Bayer Leverkusen.
The hosts came into the match on a five-game winning streak, and dominated in the opening exchanges.
Xabi Alonso’s side produced five attempts on goal before Dortmund managed a single one. But it was the visitors who took the lead after a change of shape.
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Dortmund dropped Emre Can back as an auxiliary centre back and pushed up their full-backs. Marius Wolf responded by aggressively winning back possession in a dangerous area and slipping a pass to Julian Brandt. Brandt whipped his pass into the box and the returning Sebastian Haller cleverly dummied a shot to leave Karim Adeyemi completely unmarked.
The young forward couldn't miss, and didn't, finally getting his first Bundesliga goal in his 14th appearance for the club. Leverkusen enjoyed their best spell of the match after the break, but it was again Dortmund who found the breakthrough.
England star Jude Bellingham received the ball from a Dortmund throw near halfway, turned and dashed past two attempted tackles. Bellingham saw Brandt in space on the right and sprayed the ball out to him before darting into the box.
Brandt whipped his cross towards Bellingham and it was turned into the net. The England star celebrated, but the goal was eventually awarded as an own goal to Edmond Tapsoba.
Leverkusen huffed and puffed but rarely threatened as the second half ebbed away. With 20 minutes to play, Tapsoba deflected Brandt’s shot towards goal, and only the desperate intervention of Jeremie Frimpong stopped Leverkusen going 3-0 down.
Edin Terzic then called upon his veterans to ensure victory, throwing Mats Hummels and Marco Reus on for the final stages.
Borussia Dortmund haven’t mounted a serious title challenge in years, but Edin Terzic’s side are starting to look quite impressive. A major flaw of many recent Dortmund sides has been the goalkeeper but Gregor Kobel continues to prove that he is seriously quality.
The midfield trio of Can, Ozcan and Bellingham is the perfect mix of skill and strength, while the returning Haller adds quality to an already effective attack.
With the veteran quality of the likes of Hummels and Reus available from the bench, are BVB finally ready to challenge again?
Dortmund's Swiss goalkeeper was brilliant against Leverkusen, setting the tone for the visitors with an utterly no-nonsense display. Kobel was calm with the ball at his feet, and unafraid to go long when required.
With his hands, he was faultless. He dominated his personal duel with Moussa Diaby, saving three goal-bound attempts from the French forward. Leverkusen had five shots on target inside Kobel's box, but never looked like beating him.
The defenders in front of Kobel played with the absolute confidence that comes from having an in-form keeper behind them.
Leverkusen: Hradecky 6, Hincapie 6, Tah 6, Andrich 5, Amiri 7, Tapsoba 5, Diaby 6, Adli 7, Palacios 7, Wirtz 7, Frimpong 7. Subs: Bakker 6, Azmoun 6, Demirbay 6, Bellarabi N/A
Dortmund: Kobel 8, Schlotterback 7, Ozcan 7, Haller 7, Wolf 8, Brandt 8, Bellingham 7, Can 7, Sule 6, Ryerson 6, Adeyemi 6. Subs: Reus N/A, Hummels N/A, Modeste 5, Bynoe-Gittens 6
16' WHAT A BALL, WIRTZ - A sensational pass inside two Dortmund defenders finds Diaby in the box, but the Frenchman's shot is well saved by the diving Kobel.
22' HINCAPIE GOES FOR SPECTACULAR - The Ecuadorian attempts to backheel flick his shot into the goal, but it goes well wide.
33' GOAL DORTMUND - Haller's feint leaves Karim Adeyemi completely alone in the Leverkusen box and the young forward makes no mistake with his finish.
49' KUBEL SAVES DORTMUND - Diaby's wicked shot from wide needed a good save and got one. Wirtz had a chance from the follow-up, but Dortmund hack it clear.
53' GOAL DORTMUND - From a Dortmund throw, Bellingham beats two defenders and sprays the ball wide to Brandt. The German winger swings his ball back into the box, and finds Bellingham right in front.
70' FRIMPONG CLEARS OFF THE LINE - Tapsoba almost turns Brandt's shot into his own net, but Frimpong is there to save the day.
Leverkusen: 20 - The home side peppered Gregor Kubel's goal with shots, but in truth too few were really dangerous attempts. Leverkusen betrayed their inexperience and lack of patience by consistently taking on shots from unlikely angles and long range. Moussa Diaby, a supposed leader of this team, was particularly guilty.
Dortmund: 9 - Dortmund have begun 2023 with nine points from nine, and they have proved worthy of that perfect start. The visitors showed maturity and confidence to ride out the enthusiastic Leverkusen start before handing them a lesson in counter-attacking football.
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