Growing Bundesliga power VfL Wolfsburg continued its red-hot form Sunday, easily defeating punchless Hamburger SV, 2-0 for their eighth straight victory in all competitions. The convincing triumph allowed them to close their gap on leaders Bayern Munich to four points and kept them second in the table.
Borussia Dortmund then escaped the humiliation of sitting bottom of the league when a quite memorable Christoph Kramer own-goal gave them three points at home and also ended a Borussia Moenchengladbach unbeaten run at 18 games in all competitions. The first loss of the German season meant that Gladbach is now third, seven points behind Bayern.
Dortmund moved to 15th, just out of the relegation zone, as their five-match league losing streak finally was halted.
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Winning for the sixth straight time in Bundesliga play, Wolfsburg had almost complete control in the Volkswagen Arena. Ivica Olic and Aaron Hunt scored the goals while midfield sensation Kevin De Bruyne continued to look like the best summer pick up in the league.
De Bruyne set up both goals Sunday, the first in the 28th minute when he hit a volley from the top of the box which Olic managed to deflect past Jaroslav Drobny. While Olic looked offside there was a Hamburg defender on the goal line to protect against the corner which started the play. De Bruyne actually did not get a square hit on his shot which enabled Olic to be in position to finish the play.
It was a storming run down the right by the Belgian international which created Hunt’s goal. De Bruyne’s cross was inch perfect allowing the unmarked Hunt time to control and look up to spot Drobny’s position before slotting the ball home.
As early as the second minute, Marco Reus had a clean look only to push his shot wide of the far post. Seven minutes later, Henrykh Mkhitaryan saw Gladbach keeper Yann Sommer push his drive off the right post and out; just before the interval the Swiss keeper was excellent again, tipping a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang free kick over the bar at his top right hand corner.
There were also some shots that came nowhere close enough, Lukasz Piszczek sent in the 28th minute only to fire closer to the corner flag than the far post and Mkhitaryan wasting a good look in the 37th minute when he shot over Sommer but also over the crossbar.
Perhaps fittingly in this season of frustratingly ineffective finishing, when the goal finally arrived the Dortmund attackers had nothing to do with it.
Kramer, under no real pressure in the center of the field, elected to back pass to Sommer, but wound up chipping the ball completely over the head of his keeper, who was out near the edge of the area. The German international midfielder watched in disbelief as the ball bounced lazily into the wide open net. It was only the second away goal the Gladbach defense had allowed this season.
Having elected to play a largely-defensive style, a disappointing Gladbach was unable to flip the switch after the bizarre turn of events; they managed only one shot on goal as Roman Weidenfeller had little do all evening. Dortmund finished with 21, but it was the one they didn’t take that decided the issue.