Erling Haaland and Gio Reyna returned from injury Sunday as Borussia Dortmund cut Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga lead to seven points with a 1-0 win over coronavirus-hit Arminia Bielefeld.
Marius Wolf’s first-half goal was enough for Dortmund to re-inject a measure of excitement into the title race with eight rounds left. Dortmund still has a game in hand on Bayern and can further reduce the nine-time defending champions’ lead to four points on Wednesday with a win at Mainz in their postponed match.
With Haaland and Reyna back in action, Dortmund fans will feel anything is possible. Dortmund coach Marco Rose sent on the two stars in the 62nd minute for Donny Malen and Thorgan Hazard.
Reyna shot just wide in the 82nd after combining well with Haaland but neither was able to mark the occasion with a goal.
The 21-year-old Haaland was back after seven weeks out with a groin injury, while American forward Reyna returned three weeks after leaving the field in tears amid concerns he had suffered a recurrence of the hamstring injury that forced him to miss most of the season. Those fears were unfounded as the injury proved less serious.
Dortmund had other injury concerns with Mats Hummels, Raphäel Guerreiro and Marco Reus among those out, while Bielefeld was without six players and coach Frank Kramer due to coronavirus infections. Assistant coach Ilia Gruev filled in for Kramer.
Wolf scored in the 21st minute when he turned in Hazard’s cross after Jude Bellingham had found the Belgium forward in plenty of space on the right.
American left back George Bello made his first start for Bielefeld. He had made four substitute appearances following his January transfer from Major League Soccer’s Atlanta.
Bayer Leverkusen lost 1-0 at home to Cologne in their derby but the defeat was overshadowed by a serious injury to young Germany star Florian Wirtz.
Leverkusen said later that an MRI scan showed the 18-year-old Wirtz tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and will be out for several months.
Jeremie Frimpong also picked up an injury and was helped off the field after just 12 minutes’ play before Wirtz was applauded by both sets of supporters as he was carried off on a stretcher.
Kingsley Schindler’s second-half goal was enough to decide the game.
Also, Eintracht Frankfurt came from behind to beat Bochum 2-1 and Leipzig reclaimed fourth place – the last for Champions League qualification – with a 6-1 rout at last-place Greuther Fürth.