Borussia Dortmund ended the year on a high as they beat second place Borussia Mönchengladbach 2 – 1. After their midweek defeat to minnows Fortuna Düsseldorf, Dortmund were under pressure to respond in this match. Two sides who were badly hit by injuries in their defence played out a largely defensive orientated match with few chances on goal. In the end first half substitute Mario Götze provided two moments of quality to decide the game but Gladbach were hugely disappointing overall.
Gladbach sat very deep inside their own half throughout the match and allowed Dortmund to dominate possession. It was incredibly difficult for the hosts to break through and get into scoring positions. But when the hosts did lose the ball, they immediately dropped deep to prevent Gladbach from scoring on the break.
In the first half there were barely any chances on goal until very close before the break. Yann Sommer was called into action with a fine save to prevent Marco Reus from scoring the opener. Shortly afterwards Mario Götze was brought on for the injured Paco Alcacer and he was to prove the game winner.
Götze provided the pass for Jadon Sancho to score from, though the English winger still had plenty to do from a tight angle. In the very next attack Gladbach found the net in one of their three shots on goal in the whole match. Denis Zakaria found some space to get a cross into the box and Christoph Kramer found space to fire into the net after a weak clearance.
The match mirrored the first half after the break with Gladbach remaining highly defensive and not willing to risk attacking. Nevertheless Dortmund found the net early in the second half to put the guests under more pressure. Götze was again on hand with the assist, though this time it was Marco Reus who profited.
Even as the match came closer to its conclusion the guests struggled to transition into a more aggressive style of play. They had a few counter attacks, but they never developed into anything more dangerous as Dortmund worked harder to win the ball back. The hosts were the closer side to scoring with Reus hitting the post from a free kick.
Dortmund deserved to take the points from this match as they played the far more positive football in the match. Gladbach disappointed hugely considering their attacking pedigree in previous matches. But here Dieter Hecking’s side looked focused only on trying to grind out a point rather than going for the three points against the league leaders.