Borussia Dortmund withstood a late rally from Bayer 04 Leverkusen to win 3-2 and move above the hosts into second in the Bundesliga on Sunday.
Robert Lewandowski set up one goal, earned two penalties and scored the winner in the 64th minute — just after Stefan Reinartz had pulled Leverkusen level with two goals in four minutes.
“It was a meeting of the highest level ... in the end the team that won was the one that made one mistake less,” Leverkusen defender Philipp Wollscheid said.
Marco Reus opened the scoring in the third minute when he chipped Bernd Leno after Lewandowski played the Germany international through.
Leno brought Lewandowski down five minutes later and Jakub Blaszczykowski stepped up to make it 2-0 from the penalty spot.
“They were always dangerous. I told the guys at halftime that 2-0 is a very dangerous score [to defend],” Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp said.
Leverkusen responded with tremendous pressure — the hosts had 26 efforts on goal altogether — only to find reserve goalkeeper Mitch Langerak in fantastic form.
Langerak denied Stefan Kiessling from point-blank range, before Mats Hummels blocked Andre Schuerrle’s effort on the line.
Then Kiessling controlled the ball on his chest, lifted the ball over a defender with one touch and away from the goalkeeper with his next for Reinartz to score his first goal of the season in the 58th minute.
He got his second four minutes later, only for Lewandowski to reply straight away with his 13th goal of the season at the other end.
Blaszczykowski had the chance to make it 4-2 in the 71st minute after Sebastian Boenisch brought Lewandowski down in the area, but this time Leno saved the Pole’s penalty and kept his side in the game — albeit to no avail.
“I think it was an interesting game to watch,” Blaszczykowski said.
Earlier on Sunday, Nuremberg ended Borussia Moenchengladbach’s seven-game unbeaten run in the Bundesliga with a 2-1 win that lifts the club above former coach Dieter Hecking’s new side VfL Wolfsburg.
Nuremberg took an early lead through Timmy Simons’ fourth-minute penalty. It was given for an adjudged foul by Thorben Marx on Mike Frantz, which appeared to be a dive.
“You have to be careful when making decisions like that, because it can change the whole course of a game. That one’s unbelievable,” ’Gladbach coach Lucien Favre said.
“We’ve had such situations go against us, we don’t need to excuse ourselves for it,” Michael Wiesinger said after his first win as Nuremberg coach.
Tomas Pekhart made it 2-0 in the 30th minute with a well-drilled low shot into the far corner after Hiroshi Kiyotake capitalized on a Marx mistake to set him up.
Raphael Schaefer made two great saves to keep the visitors scoreless in the first half, but Patrick Herrmann finally beat him for Moenchengladbach’s consolation in the 58th minute when he shot high into the roof of the net.
The result lifted Nuremberg one point above Wolfsburg, who Hecking joined on Dec. 22.