Borussia Dortmund have become a must-watch team. The Black and Yellows continued their goal-scoring tear, hanging three on 6th-place Bayer Leverkusen in an exciting, back-and-forth affair.
This week, however, they met their match.
Leverkusen bested Dortmund 4-3, refusing to quit when down, and capitalizing on some poor defending by their opponents.
Leverkusen opened the scoring in the 20th minute when Nadiem Amiri threaded a beautiful ball to a well-positioned Kevin Volland, who fended off Dortmund defender Manuel Akanji to calmly finish around Roman Bürki.
Dortmund responded immediately, with a Jadon Sancho corner finding the near-post run of Mats Hummels, who headed home his first goal of the season.
Just over 10 minutes later, Emre Can announced his return to the Bundesliga with a floating strike from 30 yards that Leverkusen keeper Lukas Hradecky couldn't quite brush with his fingertips. The German donned the yellow jersey after a winter window loan from Juventus, where the former Leverkusen and Liverpool midfielder struggled to find form.
The tit-for-tat continued as Volland netted his second of the match and 9th of the season, the result of some poor defending by the typically stout Hummels. The center-back appeared to inadvertently kick a routine Leverkusen long-ball across the endline rather than turning out or using Bürki as a safety net. The subsequent corner sequence by the opposition found the flying toe of Jonathan Tah, who amazingly—and perhaps unknowingly—flicked it back to a waiting Volland to pass into the net behind three Dortmund defenders.
The thrills continued in the second half, as a 63rd-minute shot by 20-year-old Kai Havertz was met by the post, and Dortmund worked the ball up the pitch through a sequence of 1-2 passes that eventually allowed Raphaël Guerreiro to slot home the team's third goal of the match.
The following 15 minutes were unusually devoid of goals, but sloppy defending from the Dortmund defense opened the door for Leverkusen twice in three minutes, as a last-ditch tackle allowed the ball to spill to Leon Bailey, who curled it home.
Three minutes later, Leverkusen captain Lars Bender charged into the box to get his head on a cross and put his squad up 4-3. The party was on at BayArena for the final ten minutes, as Dortmund poked and prodded but ultimately came up short of any truly threatening chances thanks to some deft Leverkusen defending.
The victory lifts Peter Bosz's side to fifth in the Bundesliga table, just two points off his former club. The impact of Dortmund's slip-up on the title race is yet to be determined, as leaders Bayern Munich sit three points above their rivals, but face second-place RB Leipzig tomorrow.
Fans at Signal Iduna Park know better than most that giving Bayern the opportunity to open up a lead in the second-half of the season is dangerous, and often fatal. With the arrival of Can, rise of Haaland, and invaluable contributions from Sancho and Hummels, the Black and Yellow have the potential to keep the pace should they reduce the defensive miscues that bubbled up today.