Dortmund’s title hopes all but dead after 4-1 loss to Leipzig

Soccer Football – Bundesliga – Borussia Dortmund v RB Leipzig – Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany – April 2, 2022 RB Leipzig’s Peter Gulacsi in action as he punches the ball clear REUTERS/Leon Kuegeler

(Reuters) – RB Leipzig’s Konrad Laimer scored twice and set up a third goal for a stunning 4-1 victory at second-placed Borussia Dortmund on Saturday that all but killed off the hosts’ slim title hopes.

The result left Dortmund nine points behind leaders Bayern Munich, 4-1 winners at Freiburg, with six games remaining.

Leipzig, who tightened their hold on fourth place on 48 points, struck against the run of play when Laimer chipped the ball over keeper Gregor Kobel in the 21st minute to shock the first sold-out crowd in the Signal Iduna Park in more than two years.

What was to be a big football party for the hosts, with top striker Erling Haaland in the starting line-up and in front of 81,000 fans, turned into a nightmare when Austria international Laimer added a second with a deflected shot 10 minutes later.

Frustrated Dortmund, who had a couple of golden chances early in the first half with Marco Reus and Haaland, could not find a response after the break. Haaland, who had suffered an ankle injury earlier in the week while on international duty with Norway, was far from his best.

“We started well in the game, had a big chance for a 1-0. Then we lost possession… and it’s 1-0. Then we concede a deflected second goal,” said Dortmund coach Marco Rose.

“We let in a third, beaten on the break, and then in the end a 4-1 is too much. They were more efficient in attack and defence. We should not talk about the title now. Now we need to analyse what happened and go to VfB Stuttgart on Friday next week and get points.”Leipzig killed off the game when Christopher Nkunku, set up by a Laimer backheel, completed a superb attack to make it 3-0 in the 58th.

Substitute Donyell Malen managed to briefly cut the deficit in the 84th with a header at the far post but Leipzig responded two minutes later with Dani Olmo’s well-placed shot from outside the box to seal an emphatic victory.