Mats Hummels bore the full brunt of Borussia Dortmund fans’ frustration as their faint hopes of the Bundesliga title were kept alive with a 5-1 win over Wolfsburg.
Bayern Munich were held by Borussia Monchengladbach 1-1 at the Allianz Arena, denying them the chance to to wrap up a fourth title in a row in a week that saw Dortmund captain Hummels confirm his desire to return to Bayern for next season.
Mutiny was in the air as Hummels’ name was booed by Signal Iduna Park pre-match, his every touch was whistled and the ‘Yellow Wall’ raised a banner which read: “The captain is leaving the ship. The sooner, the better!”
The toxic atmosphere was lifted somewhat as Shinji Kagawa and Adrian Ramos had Dortmund two goals up inside 10 minutes.
Marco Reus and a late Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang double put the result beyond doubt in the second half before Andre Schurrle’s consolation effort, and a late Andre Hahn goal in Munich leaves Dortmund five points behind Bayern with two games to play.
While the title is still very much in Pep Guardiola’s hands, Thomas Tuchel’s first season in charge has been a promising one, following 2014-15’s brief flirt with the relegation zone, although the coach will have to build on it without his skipper.
The backlash aimed at Hummels threatened to dominate as the home fans’ anger spilled down from the stands early on, but a quick-fire double gave them reason to smile.
Bayern had already scored through Thomas Muller, but news had barely filtered through to Dortmund when Kagawa struck first, reacting quickest after Henrikh Mkhitaryan lashed a wild volley across the 18-yard box to prod home in the seventh minute.
And Kagawa turned provider two minutes later, latching on to a loose ball before clipping a pass in to Ramos, who hammered an effort beyond Diego Benaglio at the near post.
Wolfsburg have slipped from Bayern’s closest rivals last season to mid-table obscurity this term, but Daniel Caligiuri offered a reminder of their quality when he cut inside Marcel Schmelzer and rattled the crossbar.
Reus hit the side-netting after rounding Benaglio at the other end as the two sides kept the crowd focused on match action for the most part.
Dortmund’s third arrived on the hour as Benaglio’s reward for impressively repelling Sven Bender and Kagawa on the rebound was to see Ramos lay the ball back for Reus to clip a measured effort beyond him.
As Wolfsburg lost all interest in the contest, Aubameyang emerged from the bench to add a dominant slant to the scoreline, nodding fellow substitute Nuri Sahin’s cross home from inside the six-yard box, before repeating the trick from Schmelzer’s centre .
Hummels was still jeered in the closing stages as the Dortmund faithful made their feelings known, and the skipper was in for extra rough treatment when he allowed Schurrle to burst clear and score in the final minutes.
Key Opta stats:
– Dortmund remain the only unbeaten Bundesliga team in the second half of the season (12 wins, 3 draws).
– Dortmund are playing the best season in club history (77 points after 32 games). Apart from Bayern this season (82 points currently), only two Bundesliga teams had more points after 32 games.
– For the first time under manager Dieter Hecking, Wolfsburg have lost 3 BL matches in a row – they are now out of the race for a Europa League spot.
– Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been involved in 49 goals in his league-high 50 matches in all competitions this season (23 goals, 26 assists).
– For the 17th time this BL season, Dortmund scored 3+ goals – something accomplished only by Bayern Munich (in 2013-14) in the last 34 years.