Borussia Dortmund vs. Wolfsburg: 6 Things We Learned
Borussia Dortmund overcame an early deficit on Saturday, beating Wolfsburg 2-1 at the Signal-Iduna Park. It was the second consecutive Bundesliga match in which BVB came from behind to take three points; last week Jurgen Klopp's side were 2-0 down in Stuttgart before turning out 3-2 winners.
Marco Reus was the hat-trick hero in Stuttgart and again proved to be an ace as he assisted Robert Lewandowski's equalizer before capitalizing on a goalkeeping mistake to stab home the go-ahead goal for BVB, solidifying the club's hold on second place and delivering Wolfsburg a hefty blow in their bid for a top-four finish in the German league.
There were many take-home messages from Saturday's action. Click "Begin Slideshow" for a review of the major talking points.
Dortmund Were Right to Let Perisic Go
Dortmund have made many inspired signings and created many big stars during Klopp's tenure, but one of the less successful stories is that of Ivan Perisic.
A star at Club Brugge, the Croatia international moved to BVB in the summer of 2011 for €5.5 million. But after 18 months at the Signal-Iduna Park he had failed to make a name for himself and was allowed to go.
Perisic was a very talented player, and BVB let him go with some potential certainly waiting to be tapped. A year later, the now 25-year-old is still struggling to make something of his great skill. He's finally found his way into the Wolfsburg starting lineup, but has been inconsistent all season long. And although he had his moments, the winger left plenty to be desired on Saturday; far too often he would cross blindly rather than taking the time to pick out his target.
Perisic is on his level at the Volkswagen-Arena, but whether he ever would have been a big success at Dortmund is rather unlikely.
Olic May Have Done Something Never Before Done in Football History
It's rare that the football world sees a truly unique event, but those who watched Dortmund vs. Wolfsburg may have indeed seen a first.
With Wolfsburg already a goal ahead, Ivica Olic and Lukasz Piszczek slid to connect with a cross from the visitors' right flank. The ball deflected seemingly off the Croat's foot onto the underside of the crossbar, and an instant later again off Olic and the crossbar. He shot and hit the bar twice with the same shooting motion, a painfully unfortunate and seemingly unique occurrence.
Watch the replay here.
Olic Is Becoming Even More of a Dortmund-Killer in His Advanced Years
Heading into Saturday's match, Ivica Olic had won seven matches against Dortmund, with Werder Bremen the only team against which he's been more successful.
The Croatia international scored the winner against BVB earlier this season with a brilliant, curling effort and put Wolfsburg ahead of the Ruhr side again on Saturday. He was also painfully close to scoring a second before halftime, twice striking the crossbar within a fraction of a second.
Not bad for a striker who will turn 35 later this year.
Jojic Is Gaining Klopp's Trust
New signing Milos Jojic was given his longest outing yet for BVB on Saturday, perhaps with Klopp keeping one eye on Tuesday's meeting with Real Madrid.
The Serbia international's longest appearance before was a 28-minute outing against Gladbach, but on Saturday he was given a full 45 minutes to prove his worth.
Replacing Nuri Sahin, Jojic brought energy and some strength to the midfield along with a good touch in the pass. With Sebastian Kehl suspended in the Real match, Jojic just might pip Oliver Kirch to a spot in Klopp's starting XI.
Reus and Lewandowski Remain Dortmund's Only Hope
Last year's Reus, Lewandowski, Gotze and Gundogan are this year's Reus and Lewandowski. Dortmund had four world-class options in midfield and attack last season, but in the current campaign only two, and those two have often carried the club.
There are many examples throughout the season, but Saturday's match is a prime example. Dortmund looked tired and jaded in the first half, but Reus and Lewandowski had their moments, the former bursting through the midfield again and again and the latter fighting tooth and nail for the ball and holding off any defender who would aim to dispossess him.
A goal down in the second half, surely enough it was Lewandowski who restored parity for BVB with a bit of magic. The Poland international connected with Reus' cross with the back of his head, somehow managing to put the ball into Max Grun's net with an impressive show of ingenuity. Later, Reus won it with a fortunate goal from Grun's fumble, a strike that, although lucky, certainly was deserved after all the spurned chances he had created before.
The Race for Fourth Place in the Bundesliga Will Run Until the Final Matchday
The race for the Bundesliga title has long been a foregone conclusion, but that for fourth—and with it, a spot in the 2014-15 Champions League playoff—is really heating up.
Once clear frontrunners, Leverkusen have taken just 11 points since the winter break and finally conceded fourth to Gladbach, who although level on points with B04 have a superior goal difference.
Wolfsburg temporarily advanced to fourth, but their inability to hold onto their lead on Saturday resulted in Dieter Hecking's side ending the 29th matchday one point behind BMG and B04.
Leverkusen have parted ways with coach Sami Hyypia, a move that could see them turn around their recent struggles. Gladbach have perhaps the least impressive squad among the three contenders but are, if only by the smallest of margins, ahead in the race. And Wolfsburg have four of their final five matches against relegation-fighting teams.
Wolfsburg would appear to have good cards, but expect the race for fourth to only be decided in the final matchday. A pleasant coincidence, in that match, Hecking's side will play host to Lucien Favre's Gladbach.