Shinji Kagawa’s stoppage-time strike gave Borussia Dortmund a dramatic 2-1 Bundesliga win over Wolfsburg as Thomas Tuchel’s side gained ground on Bayern Munich on Saturday.
Second-half substitute Kagawa slotted home superbly in the 93rd minute to restore Dortmund’s advantage just moments after a Ricardo Rodriguez penalty had cancelled out Marco Reus’ first-half opener.
Dortmund had made a fantastic start, buoyed by news of Bayern’s first league defeat of the campaign, which came away to Borussia Monchengladbach earlier on Saturday, with Ilkay Gundogan and Sven Bender hitting the goal frame.
And though Wolfsburg had kept three consecutive clean sheets heading into the encounter, Diego Benaglio could do nothing to prevent Reus putting the visitors ahead after sloppy play from Josuha Guilavogui.
Roman Burki had to pull off a string of fantastic saves to deny Wolfsburg a leveller as the hosts came out strong after the restart, with Dieter Hecking’s decision to introduce Bas Dost making life difficult for Dortmund’s defence.
Wolfsburg appeared to have rescued a point when Rodriguez converted coolly after Andre Schurrle had been fouled by Lukasz Piszczek, but Kagawa’s last-gasp strike ensured that Dortmund ended the hosts’ unbeaten Bundesliga run at the Volkswagen Arena – which stretched back to March 2014 – and moved to within five points of Bayern.
Though they were shorn of several key players, including captain Mats Hummels, due to a sickness bug, Dortmund made a storming start, rattling the crossbar twice in the opening five minutes.
Gundogan was the first to strike the woodwork with a fantastic free-kick from 25 yards out, before Bender turned a close-range effort onto the bar after latching onto a cross at the near post.
Wolfsburg were then the architects of their own downfall shortly after the half-hour mark, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan robbed Guilavogui of possession to play in Reus, who made no mistake in rounding Benaglio and slotting home.
Following his assist, Mkhitaryan then proved decisive at the other end – the playmaker well -positioned to clear Naldo’s header off the line and maintain Dortmund’s lead going into the interval.
After a strong start to the second half from the hosts, Burki almost gifted Wolfsburg an equaliser when his careless touch was pounced upon by Dost, but he reacted swiftly to make an instinctive save at his near post.
Dortmund’s stopper had to be on top form a few moments later, making a string of superb stops to deny both Julian Draxler and Rodriguez.
But Wolfsburg were provided with a perfect chance to level when Schurrle took a tumble in the area, and Rodriguez, playing for the first time since he returned from compassionate leave following the death of his mother, making no mistake from the spot.
There was to be one final twist however, as Mkhitaryan cushioned a perfect pass into the path of Kagawa, who drilled a low strike past Benaglio to seal the victory.