The captain and Paraguay striker made the difference on Friday as the champions edged the Bavarians to claim top spot in the German first division
After an entertaining but scoreless first half, BVB took no time to find their stride as Sebastian Kehl punctuated a fine passing sequence with the opening goal. The game remained tight until the closing stages, but with eight minutes left to play, substitute Lucas Barrios doubled the visitors' advantage as he scored his first goal of the season.
The hosts appeared well-prepared for the frigid conditions, and had the title holders pinned deep in their own half throughout the opening exchanges. Tomas Pekhart had a penalty claim denied, and Dortmund twice failed to clear the ball from corner kicks. In one such instance, Timmy Simons struck a glancing header towards goal, but Shinji Kagawa nodded clear.
Pekhart found himself through on goal after 18 minutes, but Roman Weidenfeller did well to narrow his angle and make a save. Shortly thereafter, following another chaotic corner, the Czech striker struck a wild effort from close range that sailed over the bar.
Dortmund gained their composure soon thereafter, and could have taken the lead on 21 minutes as Sebastian Kehl's through pass gave Robert Lewandowski a clear path to goal. Raphael Schafer did extremely well, however, to deny the Polish striker.
Lewandowski would prove to be a continuous threat: on 26 minutes, he set up Kevin Grosskreutz who missed from close range, and after the half hour mark, had a superb effort from distance tipped over the bar. Kagawa, who was at the heart of nearly every attacking move, had arguably the best chance of the half, but could not properly connect as an open net awaited, and Schafer pounced to stop the slow-rolling ball from crossing the line.
Three minutes after the break, Moritz Leitner, who replaced the injured Sven Bender in the first half, played a picture-perfect through pass to set up the opener. Lukasz Piszczek cut the ball back from the end-line, and Kehl stabbed home to make it 1-0.
With the temperature rapidly dropping, play in the second half was far less enthusiastic as that in the first 45 minutes. The pace of the game slowed, and chances were a rarity. Coach Dieter Hecking made aggressive substitutions for Nurnberg, bringing on Alexander Esswein and Albert Bunjaku as extra forwards, but neither had much effect.
Instead it was the Dortmund substitute Barrios who scored next. The Paraguay international found Grosskreutz, who laid off the ball to Kagawa. After Schafer did well to deny the Japanese playmaker, Barrios was on hand to fire home the rebound, putting the result out of doubt.
The result sees Dortmund move first, three points clear of Bayern Munich and Schalke, who each have a game in hand. Nurnberg remain 13th, but could be surpassed by Koln, Hertha Berlin, and/or Kaiserslautern before the end of the round.