BERLIN (AP) — Erling Haaland scored twice on his return for Borussia Dortmund to beat Mainz 3-1 and move to the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Haaland blasted a penalty straight down the middle in the 54th minute and sealed the result in injury time to move Dortmund two points clear of Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen ahead of their eighth-round game on Sunday.
Haaland missed Dortmund’s previous three games with what the club said were muscular problems. The team struggled in his absence with a loss at Borussia Mönchengladbach followed by narrow wins over Sporting Lisbon and Augsburg.
But it was captain Marco Reus who opened the scoring on Saturday, unleashing a brilliant shot with his left boot inside the top right corner in the third minute.
Dortmund went on to dominate the game with almost 80% possession in the first half alone.
Haaland used sheer force to score Dortmund’s second after Silvan Widmer was penalized through VAR for hand ball after the ball hit his elbow. Mainz coach Bo Svensson was booked for sarcastically applauding the decision to award the spot kick. Zentner got his hand to Haaland’s centrally placed shot but couldn’t keep out the shot.
Jonathan Burkardt’s 87th-minute goal prompted a late push from the visitors, but Jude Bellingham won the ball off a defender and crossed for Haaland to seal the result with what was effectively the last play of the game. He has 13 goals in eight games this season.
“Of course we missed Erling in the last games,” Reus said. “Today you saw again that he’s brutally important for us, because he always takes up two or three players. It’s fantastic he scored twice on his comeback. That’s why we signed him.”
Both Berlin teams won: Union defeated Wolfsburg 2-0 to stretch its unbeaten record at home in the Bundesliga to 21 games, and Hertha claimed a surprise 2-1 win at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Hertha is going through more upheaval following the abrupt resignation of CEO Carsten Schmidt for family reasons on Tuesday. The former SKY TV chief had been in the job less than a year.
Hertha had lost every game except for wins against the two promoted sides, so its fans were bracing for more disappointment in Frankfurt.
But Marco Richter’s light touch to Vladimir Darida’s cross sent the ball in off the right post in the seventh minute, and substitute Jurgen Ekkelenkamp scored what proved to be the winner in the 63rd to ease the pressure on coach Pál Dárdai.
“It’s not about the coach or his job,” Dárdai said, “but the guys, because I see how they work every week.”
Union is up to fifth after its third consecutive league win.
Taiwo Awoniyi opened the scoring after halftime after some fine play from Genki Haraguchi and Max Kruse. Wolfsburg coach Mark van Bommel sent on Wout Weghorst and Ridle Baku to boost his team’s attacking threat, and Sheraldo Becker sealed the win in the 83rd.
FREIBURG STAYS UNBEATEN
Modest Freiburg remains the only unbeaten team after holding Leipzig to 1-1 in its first Bundesliga game at its new stadium.
Jeong Woo-yeong canceled Emil Forsberg’s penalty for Leipzig.
Anthony Losilla’s late goal was enough for Bochum to win at Greuther Fürth 1-0 in the duel between promoted sides.
Coronavirus-hit Stuttgart held on for 1-1 at Gladbach in the late game.
Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos fired Stuttgart ahead against the run of play. Jonas Hofmann equalized before the break but the home team’s continued efforts went unrewarded.
“To take a point here is a good achievement,” said Mavropanos, who also produced a goal-line clearance to deny Alassane Plea.
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