BERLIN – Third placed-Bayer Leverkusen returned to winning ways and beat fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund 2-1 courtesy of Florian Wirtz’s second-half winner in the Bundesliga on Tuesday.
Leverkusen assumed control from the start and needed only two minutes to test Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki, who had to be on guard to defuse a long-range hammer from Wirtz.
The Werkself was rewarded for its powerful start as Leon Bailey’s long ball across the pitch found Moussa Diaby, who made no mistake to beat onrushing Burki with 14 minutes played.
Dortmund tried to respond but Erling Haaland missed Thomas Meunier’s square pass at the far post.
However, it was all Leverkusen for the remainder of the first half, as Burki denied Diaby from a tight angle in the 35th minute, before Lucas Alario’s header challenged Dortmund’s goalkeeper again just before the break.
The BVB took the 1-0 deficit into the break as Leverkusen had failed to turn its goalscoring opportunities into a tangible reward.
Dortmund started the second half highly motivated as Marco Reus and Meunier created the first clear-cut chances.
The visitors were eventually rewarded with the leveler in the 67th minute, when former Leverkusen youngster Julian Brandt curled the ball from 18 meters into the far corner.
Dortmund gained momentum and should have turned the tide only moments later, but Brandt wasn’t able to overcome defender Demond Tapsoba, who cleared the ball off the line.
Leverkusen focussed on counterattacks and caught the BVB almost flat-footed, as Diaby was through but unable to beat Burki in the 75th minute.
The hosts took the wind out of Dortmund’s sails with 80 minutes gone when Diaby assisted 17-year-old Wirtz, who drilled past Burki following a fast break to seal the deal and all three points on home soil.
With the result, Bayer Leverkusen climb on the 2nd spot for now, whereas Borussia Dortmund stay in 4th position.
Elsewhere, Borussia Monchengladbach recorded its seventh win of the season as Nico Elvedi’s goal was enough to down Werder Bremen 1-0.
Hertha Berlin suffered its eight defeat as Andrej Kramaric’s second-half brace paved the way for Hoffenheim’s 3-0 win on the road, and Wolfsburg increased Mainz’s relegation worries following a 2-0 win.
The following fixtures conclude the 17th round on Wednesday: Schalke host Cologne in a relegation battle, Freiburg take on Eintracht Frankfurt, Arminia Bielefeld play Stuttgart, Augsburg meet front-runners Bayern Munich and Leipzig face Union Berlin.