Dortmund top Bundesliga, throw down gauntlet to Bayern


Julian Brandt of Borussia Dortmund celebrates after scoring the team's first goal with teammates during the Bundesliga match between TSG Hoffenheim and Borussia Dortmund at PreZero-Arena on February 25, 2023 in Sinsheim, Germany.

Borussia Dortmund have gone top of the Bundesliga with a 1-0 win at Hoffenheim, throwing down the gauntlet for title rivals Bayern Munich and Union Berlin who clash on Sunday.

Julian Brandt grabbed the winner for Dortmund in remarkable fashion on Saturday, flicking in free-kick from Marco Reus with his back, as Edin Terzic's side recorded their ninth straight win in all competitions in 2023.

"It was not an easy game. We had a bit of luck and are very happy to take the three points," Brandt told Sky TV.

"At the moment, lots of things are coming together. We have been very efficient, today a bit less so. But we have lot of players in top form."

All three sides started the weekend level on 43 points. Dortmund now have 46 while fourth-placed RB Leipzig have 42 after a 2-1 home win over Eintracht Frankfurt, who lie sixth.

Wolfsburg sealed a 2-0 success at equally inconsistent Cologne, Hertha Berlin climbed out of the drop zone with a 2-0 home victory over Augsburg and Werder Bremen beat second-bottom Bochum 3-0 in other games on Saturday.

Basement side Schalke, still three points adrift, also won for the first time in eight games with a 2-1 home victory over fourth-bottom VfB Stuttgart.

Dortmund last won the Bundesliga title in 2012 under Jurgen Klopp and have had to watch Bayern win the league in every season since.

They never really came close to challenging their rivals in that time but now have a realistic chance of the championship, with Bayern in transition following the exit of Robert Lewandowski.

Germany's Brandt, enjoying a resurgence, netted on 43 minutes with what was either an extremely clever, or extremely lucky, finish.

It was the forward's fourth goal in four Bundesliga games for a total of eight this term.

Dortmund's Marius Wolf later had a goal ruled out for a much earlier foul after a video review.

Hoffenheim, third-last after a 12th game without a victory, had a decent shout for a penalty turned down.

They have been dropping like a stone and replacing coach Andre Breitenreiter with Pellegrino Matarazzo earlier this month has so far had no effect.

In snowy Leipzig, Timo Werner netted after just six minutes against a Frankfurt side still smarting from Tuesday's 2-0 Champions League home defeat by Napoli.

Emil Forsberg - who set up Werner - made it 2-0 before the break, with the former Chelsea striker returning the favour. Djibril Sow blasted in to reduce the deficit in the second half.

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