Eintracht Braunschweig vs. Borussia Dortmund: 5 Things We Learned
The three points were Dortmund's first victory of 2014 and now has them well placed just one point behind second-placed Bayer Leverkusen, yet 14 points behind Bayern Munich in first.
Braunschweig started the game with a thirst that hasn't been all too evident throughout this season, and for large parts of the opening 30 minutes, the plucky home side looked as though they may have been capable of a rare upset.
Yet, it was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who opened the scoring in the 31st minute with a wonderful one-two move with Marco Reus which allowed the striker to break through on goal where he casually thumped the ball past Daniel Davari in goal.
The home side went in to the break a goal down, yet they started the second half much like the beginning of the first and their bravery in attack finally paid off when Benjamin Kessel knocked home from a poorly defended corner in the 54th minute. Dortmund had conceded another set piece goal and critically let the other team back into the game, again.
However, the former champions seem to have learned from their mistakes last week against Augsburg when Aubameyang stepped up again on the 65th minute and put his side ahead for the second time that evening.
Following that, Jurgen Klopp brought on some defensive players and held out for his first win in quite some time. All three points for Dortmund, but not a game anyone will be too proud of.
Here's what we took from the match.
Lewandowski Remains Unfazed
Robert Lewandowski may be counting down the days until he is able to leave Dortmund and join pastures new at Bayern, yet you wouldn't believe if we were to make such assumptions based on his performances on the pitch.
Aubameyang may have been the goalscorer Friday night, but it was the Polish international who was at the heart of every move, proving his commitment to the club alongside his unquestionable talent. This forward will keep scoring for Dortmund until the day he finally moves.
Set Piece Defending Keeps Costing Dortmund
Dortmund fans would have shown little surprise by the manner in which Braunschweig were able to equalise in Friday night's game as their side conceded yet another lazy set piece goal.
Defensive frailty is something the side have had to put up with this season, yet the manner in which Dortmund are constantly conceding through corners and free-kicks is something that should bother Klopp. It's their weak point, and other teams are beginning to notice.
Braunschweig Offered Plenty in Attack
Although Braunschweig left Friday night's game without any points, their thirst for success was more than evident against the former champions.
Jan Hochscheidt's forward runs were as frequent and challenging as anything Reus or Henrikh Mkhitaryan could muster and Havard Nielsen's constant threat up front was a constant challenge for Dortmund's back line. Not enough to overcome Dortmund, but it should prove useful against lesser sides.
Grosskreutz Isn't a Worthy Backup
Dortmund's defence is a tricky subject matter on its own. Yet, the role that Kevin Grosskreutz currently plays in this squad is a factor in each game that Klopp continues to either avoid or simply ignore.
As a backup to Lukasz Piszczek, Grosskreutz continues to step in to this team and completely nullify any hope Dortmund have of a functional right wing. Not only in defence, but also in attack. Full-back is a key position in any side, and with the German wide-man playing the roll for Dortmund, the side continue to suffer.
Aubameyang Is Lewandowski's Replacement
Dortmund may have just signed Sunderland reject Ji Dong-Won with a Lewandowski-less side next season in mind. Yet, Friday night belonged to another striker who gave a perfect performance and was rewarded with two goals and all three points.
Klopp may go shopping this summer for more firepower up front, but with 12 goals already this season, he may not have to look far for his next top goalscorer. The former Ligue 1 forward has settled in to life at Dortmund seamlessly and is quickly becoming a pivotal part of the team's forward line.
Dortmund Return to Winning Ways
Friday night's win was only Dortmund's second in their past five matches in all competitions following the unfortunate draw with Augsburg last week and the bitter defeat to Hertha Berlin before the winter break.
With Bayern running rampant in the Bundesliga table right now, fans will be glad to at least see a victory under the club's belt for the first time since early December against a side that would have undoubtedly stole a point on any other day.