Marco Reus scored his ninth goal against former club Borussia Monchengladbach as he secured a 1-0 Borussia Dortmund victory.
Gladbach, who lead the Bundesliga on goal difference from Wolfsburg, took on last season’s runners-up having not suffered a league loss for three successive games.
Reus’ strike made all the difference at the Westfalenstadion, an outcome that may be all too familiar for Gladbach fans who have seen him score in each of the last five meetings between the two clubs.
There was little to separate the sides as the game began, with an early chance from Gladbach’s Tony Jantschke matched by a Thorgan Hazard shot that glanced wide of the mark.
Dortmund’s Julian Brandt then struck, but his effort was saved by Yann Sommer and the rebounded ball was quickly cleared by the Gladbach defence.
A spell of Gladbach pressure then followed, with Breel Embolo nodding just high of the Dortmund goal and Stefan Lainer forcing an impressive save from Roman Burki.
Sommer was then called upon again, this time to block a shot from Reus, who connected with a Hazard cross on the right wing.
Despite having the flu, Marco insisted on playing today’s game, leading us to the win with his goal.— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) October 19, 2019
Our Captain 💛 pic.twitter.com/nKn7nuiF1B
A corner then gave Hazard the opportunity to feed the ball into centre-back Mats Hummels, whose goal-bound header was miraculously cleared by Sommer.
The Belgian winger then looked to score his first goal for Dortmund as he was found on the right of the Gladbach box and fired a shot past a fumbling Sommer.
The effort was referred to VAR, however, and subsequently disallowed as Reus was deemed to have been offside in the preceding play.
Burki leapt into action again shortly afterwards as a backwards pass from Manuel Akanji was intercepted by Embolo.
The Swiss keeper cleared the ball to keep the scoreline level as the interval approached.
The hosts emerged from the break with a renewed energy, with both Hazard and Brandt seeing their efforts narrowly denied as a Dortmund goal began to look imminent.
Their continuous pressing eventually came to fruition in the 58th minute, as Reus was found by Hazard and clipped the ball past an outstretched Sommer.
Lucien Favre’s side were then dealt a blow as Burki took a heavy knock while clearing a corner and was subsequently replaced by fellow Swiss keeper Marwin Hitz.
Hitz was tested immediately as Marcus Thuram picked up the ball and cut in behind him, finding Patrick Herrmann and leaving Hummels to intervene and defuse the threat of a Gladbach equaliser.
Achraf Hakimi then cut back, lining up a shot at goal for Brandt, who seized upon the opportunity and seemingly scored a second goal for Dortmund.
The effort was voided, however, as Reus was again declared offside in the build-up.
Lainer then struck a reaching cross towards Dortmund’s box, with Axel Witsel unwittingly nudging it further towards the goal.
Florian Neuhaus pounced on the opportunity, but Hitz launched himself into a remarkable save to deny Gladbach an equaliser and secure a 1-0 victory for Dortmund.
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Eintracht Frankfurt returned to winning ways with a 2-1 Bundesliga victory at Union Berlin.
Bas Dost and Andre Silva scored second-half goals as Eintracht claimed a first win in four games, with Anthony Ujah managing a late consolation for Union.
Union went close to taking a fifth-minute lead when Kevin Trapp saved Marvin Friedrich’s effort with his legs.
Eintracht, who lost to Augsburg and Arsenal before salvaging a late draw against Borussia Dortmund last time out, took command as the first half wore on and Silva saw his close-range header pushed out by Union goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz.
The deadlock was broken three minutes after the restart when Gikiewicz could only palm Filip Kostic’s shot into the path of the lurking Dost.
Silva then scored his second goal in as many games to make it 2-0 after 62 minutes.
Djibril Sow broke down the right and sent over a perfect cross on to the head of the Portugal striker.
Trapp produced a full-length save to deny Sheraldo Becker, but Ujah set up a grandstand finish when he lashed home four minutes from time.
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Marco Reus has received the backing of coach Lucien Favre and Sporting Director Michael Zorc following heavy criticism from the German press.
Borussia Dortmund are three points behind table-toppers RB Leipzig in Bundesliga and were unlucky not to defeat Barcelona in the Champions League.
Eintracht Frankfurt held Marco Reus’ side to a 2-2 draw last week, triggering criticism against Reus’ captaincy. It did not help the German’s case that he has been performing beneath his usual level this season.
However, Zorc maintained that the club is behind Reus and he will stay as captain despite what the press has to say.
“We have a healthy hierarchy with him, Lukasz Piszczek with a lot of experience and Axel Witsel with a lot of experience,” Zorc said in a press conference, according to Goal.
“And of course Mats Hummels, these are the leaders at Borussia Dortmund. There’s absolutely no reason to change that.
“You can write as much as you want. We have a totally clear position.”
Favre praised Mats Hummels after some incredible performances but voiced his stance on the debate, saying Reus will stay as captain.
“Mats Hummels proved during the last two games, especially in Frankfurt, that he’s very important for the team,” Favre said.
“The defence begins with him. He is very important for the team, but Marco Reus is doing a good job as a captain.
“It’s absolutely clear that Reus is our captain. He’s staying as our captain.”