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Dortmund rout Stuttgart to close on second-placed Schalke

  • Published at 06:23 am April 9th, 2018
Dortmund rout Stuttgart to close on second-placed Schalke
Christian Pulisic's goal kick-started Borussia Dortmund in a 3-0 victory over Stuttgart on Sunday, ahead of next week's mouth-watering derby at Schalke. Dortmund's home win leaves them just one point behind arch-rivals Schalke, who are second in the Bundesliga table despite Saturday's shock 3-2 defeat at Hamburg, ahead of next Sunday's Ruhr derby in Gelsenkirchen. Pulisic, a fully-fledged US international at just 19, gave Dortmund the lead against mid-table Stuttgart at a sun-soaked Signal Iduna Park. His cross dipped over Stuttgart goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler to crash in off the post on 38 minutes. "I actually wanted to hit the far post -- which I sort of did -- it wasn't so wrong in the end," joked Pulisic. His fortuitous effort was the highlight of a below-par performance from Peter Stoeger's Dortmund who were lucky to lead at the break. It was a totally different story after half-time as the hosts took the game by the scruff of the neck. Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi, on loan from Chelsea until the end of the season, made it 2-0 just three minutes into the second half as Dortmund flew out of the blocks. Batshuayi delicately flicked the ball into the path of Nuri Sahin, who returned the pass to the Belgian in the box for a simple tap-in from close range to leave Stuttgart on the ropes. Dortmund finished the visitors off when Pulisic headed back to Maximilian Philipp, whose first effort was parried by Zieler, but the winger tucked home the rebound with an hour played. It was Philipp's first goal since November, when he also scored in a 2-1 defeat at Stuttgart. Batshuayi, who has now scored seven goals in nine league games since arriving in January, could have added another soon after when he fired wide. Stuttgart striker Mario Gomez threatened the Dortmund goal when he clipped the crossbar five minutes before the final whistle. Dortmund's win sets them up nicely for the derby. They want to avenge their 4-4 draw at home to Schalke, who scored four goals without reply, last November. A win in Gelsenkirchen would boost Dortmund's goals for the rest of the season. "We want to qualify for the Champions League and if possible finish second," said Sahin. Later, Eintracht Frankfurt moved up into the Champions League places for next season as they went fourth with a 1-1 draw at home to Hoffenheim. Hoffenheim striker Andrej Kramaric hit the post in the first half and Frankfurt's Marco Russ had an effort saved from close range, but the goals flowed after the break. Just four minutes into the second-half, Marius Wolf played a low ball into the middle and Luka Jovic tapped the ball home to put Frankfurt ahead. The lead lasted just seven minutes as Germany winger Serge Gnabry beat a defender and the pace of his shot gave Frankfurt goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky little chance as Hoffenheim equalised. Frankfurt had the best chance to grab a winner when Jovic's replacement Sebastien Haller hit the crossbar with a header 20 minutes from time. Hoffenheim are seventh, unbeaten in their last six league games, as they sit two points from the European places. On Saturday, Bayern Munich were confirmed as Bundesliga champions for the sixth straight year as their 4-1 win at Augsburg left them 20 points clear with only five games left. RESULTS: Dortmund 3 (Pulisic 38, Batshuayi 48, Philipp 59) Stuttgart 0 Eintracht 1 (Jovic 49) Hoffenheim 1 (Gnabry 56) Bundesliga table after Sunday's matches (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points): Bayern Munich           29  23  3  3  76 21   72 -- champions Schalke 04              29  15  7  7  45 33   52 Borussia Dortmund       29  14  9  6  57 39   51 Eintracht Frankfurt     29  13  7  9  40 33   46 RB Leipzig              28  13  7  8  43 37   46 Bayer Leverkusen        28  12  9  7  47 35   45 Hoffenheim              29  11 10  8  53 42   43 Bor. Moenchengladbach   29  11  7 11  38 43   40 VfB Stuttgart           29  11  5 13  26 34   38 Hertha Berlin           29   8 12  9  33 34   36 Augsburg                29   9  9 11  38 40   36 Werder Bremen           29   9  9 11  33 35   36 Hanover 96              29   9  8 12  37 43   35 Freiburg                29   6 12 11  26 48   30 VfL Wolfsburg           29   5 14 10  30 37   29 Mainz 05                29   6  9 14  30 47   27 Hamburg                 29   5  7 17  23 46   22 Cologne                 29   5  6 18  28 56   21
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