Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored one goal and set up another for Borussia Dortmund in their 3-1 victory at Borussia Moenchengladbach which saw them keep pace with Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich on Saturday.
Both sides hit the crossbar early on — Andreas Christensen for Moenchengladbach, Ilkay Gundogan for Dortmund — before Marco Reus finally broke the deadlock in the 41st minute.
Gundogan played a brilliant pass for the Germany winger to slot clinically inside the far post beyond the helpless Yann Sommer.
“I had many nice years here, it was a sign of respect. I owe this club a lot,” Reus said of the heart sign he made after scoring against his former club.
Reus also had a hand in the next goal in the 50th minute, when Mkhitaryan thought he had sealed it for the visitors. Mats Hummels won the ball from Ibrahima Traore and it went from Gundogan to Reus, who drew three defenders toward him before finding the unmarked Mkhitaryan to scoop the ball into the net.
Raffael pulled one back eight minutes later to rekindle the contest, sparking chances at both ends, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang going close for Dortmund, before Sokratis Papastathopoulos made a crucial tackle to deny Traore.
Aubameyang missed a good chance to seal it, before Mkhitaryan set up Gundogan to do just that in the 75th minute.
Jonas Hofmann, who joined Moenchengladbach from Dortmund in the winter break, missed a late chance for the hosts.
“We made a few mistakes that you cannot make against a team as good as Dortmund. Then up front we had a few chances that we didn’t take and the two things come together,” Moenchengladbach coach Andre Schubert said after his first league defeat at home.
Dortmund stayed eight points behind Bayern, who won 2-1 at Hamburg SV on Friday and have only dropped four points so far, and moved 12 points clear of fourth-placed Moenchengladbach.
Earlier, striker Hugo Almeida scored on his return to the Bundesliga, but could not prevent his new club Hannover 96 from slumping to a 2-1 home loss to SV Darmstadt 98.
Almeida, who joined from Anzhi Makhachkala during the winter break, scored 10 minutes into his debut, only for Sandro Wagner to equalize from close range and then convert the rebound after Jan Rosenthal’s header struck the post after halftime.
Hannover are bottom after their seventh defeat in nine games at home.
“We handled many situations and answered many questions well, but sometimes there was also a question mark too many for us,” Hannover coach Thomas Schaaf said after his first game in charge.
The former Werder Bremen coach took charge of the struggling side on Dec. 28 last year and signed Almeida on Jan. 16. The Portuguese striker enjoyed a successful three-and-a-half seasons under Schaaf at Bremen until 2010.
VfB Stuttgart came from behind to win 3-1 at Cologne and climb out of the relegation zone.
Cologne went ahead through Anthony Modeste’s penalty, only for Daniel Didavi to equalize before the interval. Timo Werner headed Stuttgart in front in the second half and Christian Gentner sealed it late on.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen captain Omer Toprak scored with 15 minutes remaining to salvage a 1-1 draw at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, who opened the scoring through Jiloan Hamad’s fine strike.
Also on Saturday, Ingolstadt 04 defeated FSV Mainz 05 1-0 at home thanks to Moritz Hartmann’s penalty, while Hertha BSC played out a scoreless draw with Augsburg, enough to stay third, eight points behind Dortmund.
SWEEP THE LEG: Poirier, determined to best McGregor, after losing to him in 2014, used low calf kicks to throw ‘Notorious’ off his stand-up game, before dropping him American underdog Dustin Poirier yesterday shook up the world of mixed martial arts, beating up the legs of Irish superstar Conor McGregor before knocking him out at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi. “I’m happy, but I’m not surprised. I put in the work,” Poirier said, after the referee stepped in after 2 minutes, 32 seconds of the second round to save McGregor from further damage, after he was dropped by a fierce combination of punches. The 32-year-old Poirier was ranked second in the flyweight division going into the fight, but still rated a heavy underdog by bookmakers to beat his fourth-ranked opponent,
World No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying yesterday eased past her Thai opponent to advance to the second round of the Toyota Thailand Open. The Taiwanese star toppled world No. 46 Supanida Katethong 21-16, 21-11 in 29 minutes at the Impact Arena in Bangkok. “I think I played OK today. I am feeling a little better than last week,” Tai said. Tomorrow, Tai faces Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung. The two have faced each other six times, with Tai beating the world No. 21 in all six matches. Tai on Sunday reached the final of the Yonex Thailand Open before losing decisively against Carolina Marin of Spain.
LOOKING TO REPEAT: World No. 7 Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin advanced to the round-of-16 at the Toyota Thailand Open, after winning the Yonex Thailand Open on Sunday Taiwan’s world No. 7 duo yesterday eased past the US’ world No. 37 pairing at the Toyota Thailand Open to reach the round-of-16 in Bangkok. Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin beat Phillip Chew and Ryan Chew 21-14, 21-11 in just 24 minutes. Lee and Wang, who won the men’s doubles title at the Yonex Thailand Open on Sunday, next face the world No. 34 pairing, Canada’s Jason Anthony Ho-Shue and Nyl Yakura. In men’s singles, Taiwan’s world No. 2 Chou Tien-chen again beat Thailand’s world No. 45 Suppanyu Avihingsanon, after edging past the Thai player in the opening round of the Yonex
Three new COVID-19 cases yesterday hit the Australian Open’s troubled buildup as a backlash grew against international tennis players flown in during a raging pandemic. Two of the new cases were players, state health officials said, taking the total infections to seven since more than 1,000 people arrived in largely COVID-19-free Australia on charter flights last week. The Victoria Department of Health and Human Services said that the two players and a third person associated with the tournament — a woman in her 20s, and two men in their 30s — had returned positive results. The year’s first Grand Slam, delayed three weeks,