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April 26, 2014
• BayArena, Leverkusen
Referee: G. Perl
• Attendance: 30210
L. Bender 7'
G. Castro 35'
O. Kirch 29'
M. Reus 39'
That's my cue, bye for now.
Leverkusen could not take advantage of Wolfsburg's draw to put more daylight between them in fourth place. They have to settle for a point, which also edges Dortmund closer to confirming their runners up berth. In truth, the second half did not quite live up to the standards of the first .Still a captivating game though.
90' + 2'
Son flashes a free kick to the far post which is headed wide for a corner. The ball then comes in, but a diving header from Sokratis clears Bender's eventual effort. And that will be that!
Last change of the game for BVB, as Schieber makes his appearance for Lewandowski. It just didn't happen for the Pole today.
FANTASTIC tackle from Sokratis, going in hard but fair on Son right at the top of the box. The home fans want a penalty kick, or at least a free kick, but the referee is unmoved. It was a spot on challenge.
SWING AND A MISS! Grosskreutz loses the ball on the edge of the area but it breaks for Lewandowski, who takes an almighty swing at the ball...and ends up on his backside. He's not going to want to see that again.
That's it for Kiessling I'm afraid, who has given the signal to the bench for a substitution. SO Leverkusen, after waiting 80 minutes to make a change, suddenly make their last sub here, as Derdiyok, the Switzerland international, replaces Kiessling.
Oh dear. trouble now for Kiessling, who is noticeably limping on the sidelines. Leverkusen fans will want this to go away. He's worked very hard tonight.
Double substitution for the home side. Both players who had a hand in the second goal depart - Castro off for Rolfes, and Brandt off for Oztunali.
Levin Mete Öztunali
REUS TAKES AIM...but misfires from the edge of the box, slashing a half volley wide of the bottom corner. It looks like the visitors who are making the late push to snare a winner from this game!
NEARLY A GOAL! Dortmund swing a free kick into the heart of the area, Lewandowski gets a touch, but the keeper manages to get hands to the shot!
Off goes Mkhitaryan and on comes the speedy Aubameyang to stretch those Leverkusen legs even more in the final stages.
WEIDENFELLER DOES WELL! A rapid fire counter attack led by Son sees Brandt freed on the right hand side, but the Dortmund keeper is swift off his line and gets a big paw up to make the save! Denied!
Son's been very active in the attacking third. Son works hard to recover his own blocked shot and tee up Hilbert at the top of the box. the fullback has rarely got forward tonight, but he gets on the end of that one and narrowly puts it over the crossbar.
The ball sat up nicely for Lewandowski at the top of the box, and he slammed a shot that was instantly blocked. The deflection falls nicely for Reus though, but his first-time cross attempt to Mkhitaryan doesn't beat the defender at the near post.
Son looks to keep Weidenfeller on his toes with a ow shot towards the bottom near corner, but he misses the target by about half a yard. Still, he managed to shake Piszczek rather easily there.
A few close shaves for Dortmund in defence aside, we haven't seen the intensity of the first half at all since the restart. Perhaps both sets of players are starting to tire after busting a gut and a half during the opening period. There's still points at stake though...
Mkhitaryan takes the ball on his chest, takes a touch then lashes a volley towards goal that is easy pickings for Leno. He's really blown hot and cold this season for Dortmund. After scoring 29 goals last season for Shakhtar, you would have though that goalscoring would be the one definite upgrade he offered over Mario Gotze, but he's only managed 11 in all competitions.
NEARLY an opening for Kiessling after a loose ball was poked into his path by Son, but the ball just gets away from him, allowing Hummels to recover and clear. But that's another near miss for the home side after the visitors sloppily gave the ball away again.
SON! He goes for the spectacular effort after catching Grosskreutz in possession deep inside the Dortmund half. He smacks a left footer towards goal, but it's right at Weidenfeller, who looked troubled for one second.
Play slowing down a tad in the second half here as Leverkusen are content to pass the ball around, waiting for an opening. You get the feeling that someone is prepping for a late push to win this game.
Leverkusen have struggled at home, with only two wins to show from their last eight games at home. However, Dortmund have been on a tear on the road, winning four straight games. Their last defeat on the road was a surprising 3-0 loss at Hamburg.
After a long delay on a free kick where Reus and Sahin stand over the ball, it's the latter who eventually eschews a shot in favour of clipping it into the box. Lewandowski rises to meet it, but he cannot find the target with his header.
Yellow Card Emir Spahic
Lewandowski has two goals in his last two games, but only four in his last 10. He's on 26 for the season, and may still be in with a shout of breaking the 30-goal barrier this season.
Players have been slipping and sliding all over this surface, and Toprak is the latest to lose his footing. The defender, so reliable in the first half, slips up and nearly allows Reus a clean run on goal.
Yellow Card Robert Lewandowski
Lewandowski almost got away with a foul on Bender, but the referee pulls him up late, and books him for the challenge. No real complaints from the Pole, who has only three games left in a Dortmund shirt! Hard to believe!
Here we go again!
An absolutely electric, spellbinding first half, everything that us neutrals would have hoped for. Twice Dortmund came from behind to draw level at the BayArena. Reus has had a hand in both goals, but the home side have looked dominant at times. I'm not calling a winner at this stage. Stay tuned for the restart soon.
45' + 1'
That's half time!
Only a minute of stoppage time, which passes quickly with Leverkusen on the offensive. They force a pair of corners, but can't make any of them count, with Mkhitaryan hacking away the latest ball.
That penalty by the way was the 10th in 10 tries that Dortmund have scored this season. They haven't missed a single one. Reus also has 11 goals in his last 11 games now to boot. But on a more unfortunate note, Hilbert has now conceded six penalties this campaign.
NEARLY ANOTHER FOR REUS! He's in electric form at the moment, and breaks through the defensive ranks, one on one with the keeper, only to see Leno produce a hockey-style save to divert his finish!
Penalty Goal Marco Reus
Lewandowski takes a back seat to Reus...WHO SCORES! Calmly done, planted into the bottom right corner with Leno going the wrong way. Good penalty.
Lewandowski and Hilbert both rise for a cross, and unfortunately, he puts a careless hand in the air in his attempts to wrestle off the Pole, but he instead strikes the ball. Easy call.
HANDBALL! DORTMUND PENALTY!
It's Dortmund back on the offensive again, and Reus nearly picks out the run of Mkhitaryan into the box. Had that one come off, it would have been something special. Klopp applauds in agreement.
Assist Julian Brandt
Goal Gonzalo Castro
A scintillating break for Leverkusen! They give Dortmund a taste of their own medicine. Winning the ball high up the pitch, Son slips in Brandt down the right hand side just before falling over. The winger lifts his head and clips the ball into the completely unmarked Castro at the far post, and he does the rest with his head!
CASTRO BRINGS LEVERKUSEN BACK IN FRONT!
And by the way, what a run of form this is for Marco Reus! He has either scored or assisted on 15 of Dortmund's last 18 goals. He really has everything that you would ever want in a wide forward.
Kiessling attempts to respond right away for Leverkusen. It's a decent break for the home side, three-on-three, but the striker takes matters into his own hands with a speculative effort from 25 yards that doesn't even come close to troubling Weidenfeller.
Assist Marco Reus
Goal Oliver Kirch
Too easy for the visiting side! Reus clips in a free kick from the corner of the box, and Kirch flicks a deft header into the back of the net ahead of his marker! Well worked, but again, it could have been defended better.
DORTMUND HAVE EQUALISED!
We haven't seen much from Mkhitaryan today so far. Reus and Lewandowski have been the players most involved in the attacking third for the visiting side.
A much more even pace to the game developing here. The play from both sides is really encouraging, though Dortmund are getting frustrated more easily whenever their moves break down, given that they are a goal down.
Once again, Toprak comes up with the goods in defence. Sahin attempted to squeeze in a pass for Lewandowski, but Leno strides off his line to close the angle, and Toprak goes goal-side of Lewandowski to shut down the remaining space.
Dortmund are starting to get themselves back onto something resembling an even foothold in this game now. They're beginning to stretch play down to the byeline now, but their buildup is still lacking a cutting edge when it comes to passes in the final third.
Toprak pulls off a quite fantastic interception, sliding towards his own goal to intercept a dangerous cross that was bound for Lewandowski. It was Jojic's ball that caused the problems, and had it made its way through to the Pole, the scores surely would have been tied.
Speaking of Kiessling, he's struck 15 goals in the league this season. Not quite his magnum opus 25-goal Bundesliga campaign last year, but still a decent return that puts him in the upper crust of the division's top scorers. He's still bizarrely overlooked by Joachim Low for the national side though.
Looks like Dortmund have switched up their marking scheme at the back. From the first whistle, it was Hummels who marked Kiessling, but after coming off second best in a few battles, it's now the Greek Sokratis who takes on the Leverkusen No. 11.
There was a glimpse of a chance there for Reus, who had the step on the fullback down the left hand side, but sees his attempted finish deflected, which takes the sting out of the attempt. Leno can then smother the ball without any real effort.
The momentum you feel is with Leverkusen. Reus flashed a wild shot over earlier for Dortmund, but that's about all that the visitors have offered in the first half. In fact, Leverkusen are the ones turning the gegenpressing against them!
Leverkusen's mini revival under Lewandowski continues here. Remember, they were second going into the winter break and though not likely to catch Bayern even at that stage, their shoddy form in the new year led to Dortmund and Schalke overtaking them - which cost Hyypia his job.
Goal Lars Bender
From a corner, Keissling causes all sorts of problems for Hummels with his aerial ability, and Bender sees the opportunity to steal into the six yard area and sneak the ball over the line!
BENDER PUTS IT IN!
KEISSLING! The big man up front for Leverkusen forces a very commendable save from Weidenfeller! He reacted quickest to a ball into the box, and he attempted to steer it home, but the Dortmund No. 1 was equal to it!
Lars Bender goes down under a tough challenge from Marco Reus. It was legal by the Dortmund man, but Leverkusen fans, Germany fans and - if you believe the rumour mill - Arsenal fans all hold their breath as it looked nasty on first glance. However, the tireless ball winner is back on his feet.
Sacha Lewandowski's objectives in his remaining three matches are clear. Seven points from those fixtures will guarantee Champions League football next season - at least at the qualifying stage. What's more, should Schalke slip up, they may pip them to third place, and an automatic berth in Europe's premier competition.
Here we go!
For Dortmund, if they win, they all but wrap up second place. It will take a minor miracle for Schalke to steal the runners-up berth if BVB do the business at home here. Klopp's men have been in scintillating form domestically, taking 16 points from their past 18 games - including a 3-0 win over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.
Leverkusen are in real danger of slipping out of the Champions League places, but they were bailed out this weekend after Wolfsburg could only draw 2-2 at home to Freiburg. Still, B04 haven't been consistent at all this season, leading to the dismissal of coach Sami Hyypia earlier in the month. New boss Sacha Lewandowski has sparked a temporary revival in fortunes with consecutive wins.
For Leverkusen, fullback Giulio Donati is suspended, while attacker Sidney Sam also fails to recover in time from a thigh complaint to start. Otherwise it's an expected lineup for the Bundesliga's fourth placed side, given their injury list, which also includes the likes of Philipp Wollscheid, Robbie Kruse and Stefan Reinartz.
The visitors are missing captain Sebastian Kehl with a groin injury, so Oliver Kirch continues to man the middle alongside Nuri Sahin. Milos Jojic also gets a start on the flanks with Jakub Blaszczykowski also ruled out. However, Roman Weidenfeller has made a recovery from his own injury issues in time to start, after initial fears that he would sit out this one.
LEVERKUSEN (4-2-3-1): Leno; Hilbert, Toprak, Spahic, Boenisch; Bender, Can; Brandt, Castro, Son; Kiessling.
DORTMUND (4-2-3-1): Weidenfeller; Piszczek, Sokratis, Hummels, Grosskreutz; Kirch, Sahin; Mkhitaryan, Jojic, Reus; Lewandowski.
Hello and welcome to another round of Bundesliga action. The season is fast wrapping up as Leverkusen host Dortmund. I'm Keeghann Sinanan, your designated scribe for all the action.
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