BUNDESLIGA

Table topping Dortmund head into winter break full of belief

Table topping Dortmund head into winter break full of belief

Martin Meissner

GTRES

Borussia Dortmund rebounded well from their first Bundesliga season defeat as they beat . Moenchengladbach 2-1 in a table-topper for a perfect 2018 finale as big leaders.

Borussia Dortmund started a two-week holiday before the resumption of winter break training in a confident mood on Saturday as they have confirmed their status as number one Bundesliga title favourite.

A 2-1 victory over Borussia Moenchengladbach in the previous night's top-of-the-table clash was the perfect response after their first league defeat on Tuesday, 2-1 at lowly Fortuna Dusseldorf.

"It was very important for us to win, given that we lost in Düsseldorf. Today we showed a reaction, that was important. We battled for it," said forward Mario Goetze who came off the bench to set up the goals from Jordan Sancho and Marco Reus.

"Everyone is motivated. If we continue in the same vein and continue to pay attention to the details, then I'm optimistic."

Reus said: "We hope we'll all stay fit and continue to deliver performances. Then much is possible."

Coming off a modest fourth-place finish last season under Peter Bosz and Peter Stoeger, Dortmund have ruled the league under new coach Lucien Favre.

They will lead the way into the four-week winter break by at least six points - depending on how champions Bayern Munich play at Eintracht Frankfurt late Saturday - as they chase a first title since 2012 with the second-best points tally in club history at the halfway mark.

Borussia Dortmund v Borussia Moenchengladbach - Signul Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany - December 21, 2018 Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus celebrates scoring their second goal

"We have 42 points. If we had said that in August everyone would have said 'you are mad,'" CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said.

Friday's game once again highlighted Dortmund's depth as they overcame injuries of several centre-backs and the early limping off of top scorer Paco Alcacer to secure their 13th win in 17 games.

The success also completed Dortmund's perfect record against the other top teams, having beaten Bayern 3-2, RB Leipzig 4-1 and Frankfurt 3-1.

Spain's Alcacer has been a revelation with a dozen goals, among them a Bundesliga season record 10 off the bench; captain Reus has 11 strikes and the impressive English youngster Sancho six goals and nine assists.

Axel Witsel and Thomas Delaney have given the team much-needed stability and there seems to be no longer a place for the likes of Shinji Kagawa in the youthful Dortmund team.

Dortmund's Marco Reus (L) celebrates with his teammates after scoring the 2-1 lead during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Moenchengladbach

Champions League  

Dortmund are also through to the Champions League last 16 where they face Tottenham Hotspur, and in the same round of the German cup where they host Werder Bremen.

They have won the Bundesliga title in every season they topped the table at the halfway mark but everyone remains modest although they know what is possible in a season in which the six-time reigning champions Munich are playing a little below par.

"We will remain hungry and continue to attack. We will continue with this kind of humility. That has made us strong," Sebastian Kehl, head of the players' department, said.

Players will enjoy a holiday before Dortmund set off on January 4 for a training camp in Marbella, Spain, to prepare for the January 19 restart with a tough test in Leipzig.

"It was very important mentally and will give us additional energy and satisfaction," Reus admitted.