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Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund Rebound From UCL Blunder

MOENCHENGLADBACH, GERMANY - APRIL 22: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Dortmund celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 2-2 during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund at Borussia-Park on April 22, 2017 in Moenchengladbach, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)

The race for the 2016-17 Bundesliga may be all but settled, but that doesn’t mean Thomas Tuchel’s Borussia Dortmund will be giving up on their dream to return to next season’s UEFA Champions League. In a tough battle with the other Borussia, Dieter Hecking’s Borussia Monchengladbach at Borussia Park, Marco Reus (10′), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (59′) and Raphael Guerreiro (87′) drove BVB to a character-building 3-2 win after a calamitous display against AS Monaco in the UEFA Champions League. Lars Stindl (43′) scored an equalizer for Gladback while Marcel Schmelzer (48′) scored an own goal before Dortmund rallied late in the second half through the prowess of Gonzalo Castro.

“We knew that we could move up to third place,” said Tuchel. “But before the match we were also aware of how difficult it would be to get the victory we required, and how complicated it is to win in Gladbach. We knew that we would need to show a lot of courage, defend compactly, be very good on the ball and consistently look dangerous going forward each time we had possession. We managed all of that. The fact that we managed to emerge with the win, given the way the match unfolded, is something very special.

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“The goal that we conceded in the first half was at least 50 percent an own goal, then later on we scored an actual own goal. After that we were suddenly 2-1 behind and we weren’t quite sure how, because we had the feeling that we had put in a very good performance up until that point. It’s a great feeling to have seen this reaction afterwards. The mood is one of exuberance at the moment, so I am very happy for my players, for all of us.”

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You can’t fault Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern Munich for unintentionally letting go on the gas pedal a little bit with four match days to go. Arjen Robben (16′) and Thiago Alcantara (73′) scored for Bayern in a 2-2 draw against Martin Schmidt’s Mainz 05 at the Allianz Arena. Bojan Krkic (3′) and Daniel Brosinski (40′) scored for Mainz in a tense affair on Matchday 30. Despite the draw. Bayern are still on pace for a record 27th Bundesliga crown with a record of 21-7-2 (70 points), eight points clear of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s RB Leipzig, who also drew 1-1 away to Schalke 04 at Veltins Arena.

“It was difficult, but we had expected more,” said Ancelotti. “We weren’t as compact as usual in the first half. We should have done better. We were more compact in the second half, we played better and fortunately scored the equaliser.”

“We didn’t find our way into the match at first and allowed Mainz to score straightaway,” said Thomas Muller. “We had to make up for it in the second half. We invested a lot, but you need a bit of luck to turn the tide, so we aren’t satisfied.”

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“We struggled in the first half and didn’t find our way into the match,” added Sven Ulreich. “In view of our quality we have to turn in a better display, we mustn’t allow that to happen. Mainz did a good job, we didn’t find a solution. We played like FC Bayern in the second half, we were dominant and controlled the ball. We just have to win here, it’s disappointing.”

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However, Bayern’s last real test of the season will come this week in the DFB-Pokal against Borussia Dortmund. A victory by the Bavarians and the Mia San Mia on April 26 at home will all but secure another domestic double for the best club in German football, barring a shockingly uncharacteristic drop in form next month.

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