The belief of a championship is back at the Westfalenstadion after Matchday 12. Borussia Dortmund came away with a clutch 2-1 win against VfB Stuttgart on Saturday after Bayern Munich suffered a shock defeat away to FC Augsburg on the previous night.
Dortmund’s famous Yellow Wall was in full swing after the final whistle. Marco Reus had found the 85th-minute winner on the counter-attack to send the Black and Yellows within one point of Bayern Munich at the top of the table.
“Who will be German champions?”, the home fans sung as the players were bouncing to the rhythm of the chant that answers “BVB Borussia!” to the rhetoric question. That scene was preceded by rendition of the old tune of “make Bayern Munich drop their Lederhosen” in anticipation of the clash against the reigning champions in a fortnight.
“We’re now in the fight for the top,” Dortmund coach Marco Rose told his news conference after the match when asked about the confidence oozing from the stands, adding: “we want to remain in the battle.”
The 45-year-old continued: “Had the game finished with a different result, the reaction would have been: ‘that’s typical’. At Borussia Dortmund, there are high expectations on the inside and outside. We took note of [Bayern’s] result last night, and we won our game today. That was important.”
“The stadium — not only because of the songs after the game — pushed us a lot today. Our fans were a factor in getting a few more percentage points in performance out of the team. The stadium gave us a lot of energy, the boys on the pitch also showed a lot of energy.”
Relegation-threatened Stuttgart made life difficult for the Westphalians. The Swabians had a response to Donyell Malen’s first Bundesliga goal in the 56. minute. Roberto Massimo left Mats Hummels for dead before slotting past former teammate Gregor Kobel in the 63. minute.
The late decider came off a Stuttgart corner. BVB initiated a counter-attack with Reus pushing the ball up the field, finding Thorgan Hazard’s run in the box. Florian Müller could parry the Belgian’s attempt but only as far as Reus’ feet waiting for the tap-in.
“The winning goal was a show of force and will by Marco [Reus] and Thorgan [Hazard] on the counter,” Rose said. “This win will give us a boost in confidence and energy. We want to stay in the race for the top and obviously improve. For now, that’s a good start into the weeks before of Christmas.”
Dortmund will face Sporting in Lisbon in the Champions League on Wednesday, where they have the chance to cement their place in the round of 16 with a win before travelling to Wolfsburg on Bundesliga Matchday 13.