Football: Dortmund ease past Wolfsburg 2-0 to stay in title hunt, Leverkusen go third

BERLIN (REUTERS) – Borussia Dortmund scored a goal in each half through Raphael Guerreiro and Achraf Hakimi to beat hosts VfL Wolfsburg 2-0 on Saturday (May 23) for their sixth straight Bundesliga win to stay on the heels of leaders Bayern Munich.

Portugal international Guerreiro tapped in a cutback from Thorgan Hazard after Erling Haaland had failed to connect in the 32nd minute, and Hakimi fired in from a fine Jadon Sancho assist – his 16th of the season – in the 78th to make sure of the three points.

The result lifted Dortmund to 57 points, one behind Bayern, who are in action against Eintracht Frankfurt later on Saturday. The Bundesliga resumed last week with no fans, after more than two months of suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dortmund central defender Mats Hummels was taken off at halftime with a knock on the leg, although he did not appear to be seriously injured. Dortmund may also have been thinking ahead to Tuesday’s big game against Bayern.

The Wolves only briefly got a look-in when Renato Steffen was sent through right after the restart, but with only keeper Roman Buerki to beat his shot glanced the bar and sailed high.

They have now lost five consecutive home games to Dortmund, the first team to do that at Wolfsburg, while Dortmund have won their last six league games in a row.

Wolfsburg, who suffered their first defeat in eight league games, were left with 10 men when substitute Felix Klaus was sent off for a rough challenge.

Elsewhere, Kai Havertz scored a brace for the second match in a row to lead Bayer Leverkusen to a 3-1 win at Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Havertz, 20, fired Leverkusen ahead in the seventh minute and, although Marcus Thuram levelled in the 52nd minute, Havertz struck again from a penalty six minutes later after Nico Elvedi felled Karim Bellarabi with a late sliding challenge.

Sven Bender headed in a third from a free kick in the 81st minute to leave Leverkusen third with 53 points, one ahead of Gladbach who dropped to fourth.

Meanwhile, bottom side Paderborn grabbed a 1-1 draw against Hoffenheim, their second draw in two games since league play resumed following the coronavirus pandemic.

Paderborn, who secured a scoreless draw away to Fortuna Dusseldorf last week, got off to the worst possible start when Danish international Skov netted for the visitors after just four minutes.

But a dreadful blunder by Hoffenheim defender Ermine Bicakcic five minutes later gifted the ball to Paderborn’s Srbeny, and the striker curled home for the equaliser.

Despite plenty of chances in an open, free-flowing game, neither side could manage another goal. The draw leaves Paderborn bottom of the table on 18 points, while Hoffenheim are ninth on 36.

At Freiburg, Werder Bremen midfielder Leonardo Bittencourt scored a brilliant first-half winner to seal a 1-0 victory that reignited their hopes of staying in the Bundesliga.

The victory helped 10-man Bremen reach 21 points from 26 games, boosting their bid to avoid being relegated for the first time in 40 years.

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