Borussia Dortmund laid one hand on the Bundesliga title on Saturday with an impressive 3-1 win at defending champions Bayern Munich.
The defeat leaves Bayern 16 points behind Dortmund and, with 10 games left, Dortmund are firmly on course for their first German league title since 2002, while the shield is almost certain not to find it’s way to Munich this season.
Dortmund’s young team — their average age is just 22.3 years — proved their status as Bundesliga winners-in-waiting with victory in Bayern’s backyard and their second win over Munich this season.
Goals by Germany defender Mats Hummels, Paraguay’s Lucas Barrios and Turkey midfielder Nuri Sahin sealed Borussia’s 18th win from 24 league matches, while Luiz Gustavo scored what proved to be Bayern’s first-half consolation goal.
Dortmund are now 13 points clear at the top of the table and it was their first win in Munich for nearly 20 years.
“It was a huge day for us, this game was screened in 198 countries, so it’s a very special win,” Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp said. “Our last victory here was 19 years ago, so we are delighted. The boys have given so much to win today, but it wouldn’t have worked with anything less.”
Bayern coach Louis van Gaal was gracious in defeat.
“Dortmund scored at just the right times,” the Dutchman said. “We dominated the second half, but we couldn’t make it pay at the right moment. The first few goals against us were initiated by our own individual mistakes, but Dortmund forced us into making them.”
Having already beaten Bayern 2-0 in Dortmund in October, Borussia took the lead at Munich’s Allianz Arena after capitalizing on a rare mistake by Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger. When the Germany star stumbled after receiving a pass, Dortmund’s Kevin Grosskreutz pounced on the loose ball and put Barrios into space to fire home after just nine minutes.
A knee injury to Borussia’s captain and goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller had handed 22-year-old Australian Mitchell Langerak his German league debut in front of a sell-out 66,000 crowd, having joined Dortmund last July.
Langerak, who was solid throughout, conceded his one and only goal on 15 minutes when Gustavo volleyed home a Franck Ribery corner to equalize, but Sahin put Dortmund back into the lead when he curled home his shot just three minutes later.
An effort by Bayern’s Mario Gomez, chasing his 29th goal in 33 games, was ruled offside when he beat Langerak on 25 minutes and it finished 2-1 at halftime.
Hummels made sure Dortmund left Munich with all three points following a bullet header from a Mario Goetze corner with an hour on the clock.
Earlier, Hannover 96 went third in the Bundesliga with a 1-0 win at Hamburg-based side St Pauli.
It was Hannover’s 14th win of the season from 24 matches and it keeps them on course for a top-five finish and a place in Europe next season.
Nuremberg were denied their fifth straight win after Schalke 04’s Raul netted his 14th goal of the season for the Royal Blues in Gelsenkirchen to seal a 1-1 draw.
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim were beaten 2-1 by FSV Mainz 05 after Columbia midfielder Elkin Soto scored a late winner for the guests.
Germany striker Lukas Podolski netted an 88th-minute left-foot shot that sealed Cologne’s 1-0 win over SC Freiburg and leaves his side 11th in the table and five points from the bottom three. It was Cologne’s fifth straight win at home.