BERLIN – Borussia Dortmund maintains its title challenge in the Bundesliga, although there are no spectators and strict hygiene measures are taken against the corona virus.
Dortmund quietly campaigned for a 2-0 win in Wolfsburg on Saturday and closed the gap with Bayern Munich up to a point before the leader's late home game against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Bayern will host Dortmund on Tuesday for a game that will make a huge contribution to the decision about the championship – provided the remaining seven rounds run.
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The league resumed last weekend after a two-month pandemic break and players must be tested on COVID-19 regularly before being released to play.
As was the case last weekend, the players wore face masks on arrival at all games on Saturday, while those who had not started stopped them and kept their distance. The balls were disinfected and the officials interviewed microphones attached to masts at a distance before the game to keep television reporters at bay.
The German Football Association (DFB) sent a letter to the clubs during the week, warning them that society and politics were looking closely after some criticism of goal celebrations that had gone too far last weekend.
The Hertha Berlin players celebrated free in their 3-0 win in Hoffenheim last week, but did not do so in the 4-0 derby win against Union Berlin on Friday.
The DFB said local health authorities might consider television images if they decide to quarantine teams if a positive result for COVID-19 is achieved.
Dortmund fought Wolfsburg, but scored in the 32nd minute with his first real chance through Guerreiro. Julian Brandt skillfully played in Hakimi, who sent Thorgan Hazard through. Hazard cut the ball back for Erling Haaland – who missed it – but Guerreiro was there to sweep the ball into the net.
Dortmund defender Mats Hummels went out during the break. It was unclear whether he was injured or rested due to the clash with Bayern on Tuesday.
Renato Steffen hit the crossbar with Wolfsburg's next chance right after the break when the home team dominated.
But Wolfsburg was caught in a counter attack by Jadon Sancho in the 78th minute when Hakimi shot in the far corner.
Felix Klaus from Wolfsburg was dismissed minutes later with the help of VAR after catching Manuel Akanji's calf from behind. He looked dismayed when he was sent off, but left the field without protest.
Dortmund's sports director Michael Zorc confirmed before the game that Mario Gotze will retire in the summer after the end of his second term.
Borussia Mönchengladbach was cheered on silently by 13,000 plastic cut-out compartments in the stands, but could not help but sink 3-1 at home against Bayer Leverkusen.
"It doesn't add to the mood, but it creates a certain atmosphere. It's a great idea," said Gladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer about the clippings.
Two goals from Kai Havertz, the second one from VAR confirmed, and another from Sven Bender lifted Leverkusen via Gladbach to fourth place, Germany's last to have qualified for the Champions League – provided Leipzig beat Mainz Sunday.
In addition to the cutouts of real followers, Gladbach's stands were decorated with banners that protested against games without spectators.
Werder Bremen also scored a 1-0 victory over Freiburg, in which a late equalization by VAR was excluded after Bremen midfielder Philipp Bargfrede was knocked out, and the last place, Paderborn with 1-1 Hoffenheim scored.