A result with massive connotations in the race for the top four saw Eintracht Frankfurt open up a seven-point gap over Borussia Dortmund with a 2-1 victory on Saturday.
The defeated Schwarzgelben have a date with Manchester City in the 2020/21 Champions' League quarterfinals on Tuesday.
Participation in the next year's tournament, however, gradually slips out of the BVB's reach.
|Filip Kostic and André Silva.|
Dortmund interim trainer Edin Terzic had to shake things up a bit ahead of a crucial encounter against Frankfurt on Saturday. As a means of pumping some fresh impetus into his slumping attack, Terzic employed four personnel changes. Creative linchpin Raphaël Guerreiro actually slid into central midfield to pair with Jude Bellingham. Thomas Delaney played sweeper whilst Nico Schulz got the nod at left back.
Adi Hütter's SGE, bolstered by the return of starters Amin Younes, Lucas Silva "Tuta" Melo, and Erik Durm, looked lively early. Two minutes after Mats Hummels inadvertently blocked an Amin Younes effort with his face, Schulz scored an unfortunate own-goal.
SGE defender Evan N'dicka drew coverage with a shadow overlap of a Filip Kostic charge. Frankfurt's deadly Serbian crosser then flung a dangerous in swinger into the box. Schulz, trying to keep an eye on André Silva, ended up directing the ball into his own net.
After falling behind, Dortmund had few answers other than hopeful slip passes forward for Erling Haaland. The Norwegian striker often times needs little else other than the tiniest amount for space. Unfortunately, Haaland couldn't pull off the spectacular this time.
Hummels equalized shortly before the break. Though Terzic's BVB weren't necessarily very creative from open play, they did look well prepared on set pieces. Hummels supplied a nice swivel-stroke finish after Emré Can confidently chested forward a Marco Reus corner at 45+1.
Both sides largely cancelled one another out in the initial 20 minutes after the restart. The notable exceptions included a Reus double chance in the 58th, and a disallowed Stefvan Ilsanker goal (offsides) in the 65th. Silva, Djibril Sow, and Daichi Kamada all got off solid efforts during a flurry of Frankfurt activity between the 73rd and 79th.
Eventually, Silva found the finish on a delightful Kostic cross in the 85th. Silva (22 league goals) passes Haaland (21 league goals) with his game-winning tally. Silva's SGE also passed on a perhaps insurmountable lead over the Haaland's BVB in the Champions' League race.
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga's 15:30 kickoffs, Klaas Jan Huntelaar found the back of the net in his first Bundesliga start. It would prove an insufficient consolation, however, as Schalke ultimately weren't able to complete a comeback against Bayer Leverkusen. Interim trainer Hannes Wolf got the Werkself back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over the Königsblauen at the the BayArena.
In a similar match at the WWK-Arena, a late goal from Hoffenheim substitute Robert Skov just wasn't enough. The visiting Sinsheimers fell to Augsburg 1-2. Relegation candidates Mainz and Bielefeld trade second half goals in a 1-1 draw.
Whilst those two teams managed a crucial point in the relegation dogfight, FC Köln came away empty handed at the Volkswagen Arena. A 0-1 loss to Wolfsburg deepens the crisis for the 16th placed Domstädter.