Erling Haaland masterclass helped Borussia Dortmund seal an important 3-1 win over fellow title challenges RB Leipzig.

Borussia Dortmund made a huge stride forward in their fight for the Bundesliga title with an important 3-1 win over RB Leipzig at the Red Bull Arena on Saturday.

It was a must-win game for the Black and Yellows, who were trailing Bayern Munich by eight points heading into this matchday. They didn’t enjoy the best of starts, however, as it was a cagey affair throughout the course of the first half, with both the sides failing to provide much inspiration in the final third.

But, the complexion of the game changed in the second half as Dortmund applied more pressure on the Leipzig defence. As a result, things started to open up a bit with the hosts also trying to push for an opener by breaching the BVB backline. But, it was the away side who found the breakthrough as Jadon Sancho produced a clean finish in the 55th minute – giving his side the lead.

Edin Terzic’s side deserved credit for their resilient defending even after the goal. They rarely lost their balance and were duly rewarded when Erling Haaland doubled Dortmund’s tally in the 71st minute before scoring his second 13 minutes later – effectively sealing all three points for Die Schwarzgelben. Dortmund did later concede a late goal through Alexander Sorloth but held on for a crucial win.

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Here at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Dortmund players in what was a largely impressive performance against Die Roten Bullen.

Roman Burki: 6/10

RB Leipzig were surprisingly quiet in front of goal in this game, especially in the first-half. As a result, Roman Burki had a relatively peaceful evening, although the Dortmund goalkeeper will be hugely disappointed to have conceded that late goal out of nowhere. A missed clean sheet indeed.

Thomas Meunier: 8/10

Thomas Meunier was always going to have a difficult evening dealing with the threat of Angelino on his flank. However, the former PSG right-back was simply remarkable in his defensive work. He was quite disciplined at the back, minimising the influence of the Leipzig wide players while also showing tremendous ease when passing out from the back.

Manuel Akanji: 9/10

Manuel Akanji was one of the most in-form Dortmund players heading into this game and the defender didn’t disappoint this time either. He was a rock at the back for the visitors, barely allowing any space and time for Yussuf Poulsen, even bullying the Leipzig attacker, at times. His passing was also solid, though he will be disappointed to have missed out on the clean sheet.

Mats Hummels: 8.5/10

While Akanji’s physical presence was critical in helping Dortmund remain strong at the back, it was Mats Hummels’ leadership and ability to read the game that was beyond remarkable. The ageing centre-back has really been impressive in recent weeks, and his form could be crucial for BVB going forward.

Raphael Guerreiro: 8/10

Raphael Guerreiro had a rather underwhelming first-half by his lofty standards, which was coincided with Dortmund’s failure to provide any threat in the final third. However, the Portuguese international vastly improved in the second half, often marching forward with the ball, delivering some excellent passes. His link-up was also brilliant, as usual.

Axel Witsel: 6/10

Axel Witsel didn’t do anything extraordinary for Borussia Dortmund while he was on the pitch. Unfortunately for the visitors, though, he picked up an Achilles injury that led to his substitution around the half-hour mark.

Thomas Delaney: 8/10

Thomas Delaney was given the nod ahead of Emre Can in central midfield. And the Dane did not dissappoint either, providing the physical presence necessary to deal with the likes of Marcel Sabizer and Amadou Haidara. His intelligence and ability to read the game also helped the away side keep RBL at bay.

Jadon Sancho: 9/10

As we had predicted in our preview, Jadon Sancho was going to be the game-changer in this particular encounter, following his morale-boosting performance against Wolfsburg last weekend. The Englishman was indeed a menace for the Leipzig defence after a rather slow start to the game. He not only scored the opener but also assisted the second for Haaland.

However, it was his confidence that caught the eye as the winger looked very comfortable on the ball. Sancho also didn’t appear selfish and linked up well with his attacking teammates. His return to form certainly bodes well for Borussia Dortmund in the title race.

Marco Reus: 9/10

Despite the goals from Sancho and Haaland, this game was about Marco Reus. The Dortmund captain may not have had an excellent first half, but he rarely showed any sign of sloppiness that was prevalent during the first half of the campaign. Instead, the German offered the smart flick to Sancho for the opener while threading a marvellous through ball to set up Haaland for the third. This performance could be bad news for Bundesliga defenders.

Giovanni Reyna: 7.5/10

Giovanni Reyna was a bit average for Borussia Dortmund in this game. The youngster offered good ball progression but it appears he is not exactly suited to the left flank as it denies him the opportunity to act as the auxiliary number eight and the main ball-carrier for Terzic’s side.

Erling Haaland: 10/10

Erling Haaland had a difficult time making an impact during the first 45 minutes of the game. But the Norweigan enjoyed more freedom once the game opened up. And after that, it was a complete massacre of the Leipzig defence from the young striker, who simply bulldozed anyone that came in his way.

Aside from his physical supremacy, Haaland was influential in terms of his technical play too, linking up well with Reus and Sancho throughout the second half. He was ultimately rewarded with two goals that takes his tally to 12 in the Bundesliga this season.

Substitutes

Emre Can: 7.5/10

Emre Can replaced the injured Witsel at the half-hour mark and the move made quite an impact. It was evident especially after the restart as the former Liverpool player offered more aggression and directness compared to the passive nature of his Belgian teammate. It served BVB well as they tore apart the Leipzig defence in the second half.

Dan-Axel Zagadou: 6/10

Dan-Axel Zagadou was introduced midway through the second half at the expense of Thomas Delaney as Terzic opted for more solidity at the back. The Frenchman will be disappointed to have failed to prevent RBL from scoring a consolation goal.

Steffen Tigges: N/A

Replaced Sancho with just five minutes remaining on the clock. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Julian Brandt: N/A

A late replacement for Reus. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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