BERLIN, Germany, Mar 3 – Marco Reus underlined his brilliant return from a serious knee injury by scoring in his third straight Bundesliga game on Saturday as Borussia Dortmund drew 1-1 at RB Leipzig.
After eight months sidelined having torn his cruciate knee ligament in last May’s German Cup final, Germany winger Reus now has three goals in four games.
Having missed Germany’s 2014 World Cup victory with torn ankle ligaments and Euro 2016 with a groin injury, the fleet-footed Reus is even more determined to help defend the global title at Russia 2018.
“I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t think about the World Cup and really want to be there,” he told Bundesliga.com before kick-off.
“I won’t make a secret of the fact it’s a big goal of mine to be there. I know I’ve got a good chance, if I’m playing well.”
Reus was a constant threat on Saturday and involved in the build up when striker Michy Batshuayi tapped home on 16 minutes, but Andre Schuerrle, who supplied the final pass, was offside.
Leipzig took the lead when Liverpool-bound Naby Keita, back after a thigh injury, played a pass through Dortmund’s defence which Jean-Kevin Augustin tucked away on 29 minutes.
Having also had an earlier goal flagged for offside, Reus made no mistake at the second attempt, sprinting onto Batshuayi’s well-timed pass and equalised seven minutes from half time.
With an hour gone, Batshuayi, on loan from Chelsea, bungled the chance to grab the winner with the goal at his mercy.
Leipzig, who picked up a point after three defeats, stay sixth.
– Unbeaten Stoeger –
Dortmund coach Peter Stoeger is unbeaten in his ten league games in charge.
“I am happy with the 90 minutes, we are in the group fighting for Champions League places, it’ll stay that way until the end of the season, and our goal is to qualify,” said the Austrian.
The result leaves Dortmund third after Schalke had earlier snatched second spot with a 1-0 home win against Hertha Berlin.
Marko Pjaca, on loan from Juventus, claimed his second goal in five league games when Daniel Caligiuri whipped in a cross and Franco di Santo let the ball roll to Pjaca, who scored on 37 minutes.
Schalke are 17 points behind runaway leaders Bayern, who play mid-table Freiburg on Sunday.
Reports Bayern approached Freiburg boss Christian Streich last month to replace Jupp Heynckes as head coach next season have added extra spice to the game.
Eintracht Frankfurt are fourth after their 1-0 win at home to mid-table Hanover as defender Danny da Costa scored their winner.
Argentina striker Lucas Alario converted a first-half penalty and Julian Brandt scored with a superb chip as Bayer Leverkusen consolidated fifth place with a 2-1 win at ten-man Wolfsburg.
Admir Mehmedi scored the consolation effort for Wolfsburg against his former club.
The hosts finished with ten men when Brazilian left-back William was sent off for a second yellow card in added time.
– Hamburg need ‘miracle’ –
It finished goalless, but there was plenty of drama in Hamburg’s basement battle at home to Mainz.
Hamburg winger Filip Kostic hit the woodwork and had a goal ruled off side in the first half.
Mainz had Nigeria defender Leon Balogun sent off for a second yellow card when he fouled Luca Waldschmidt in the area on 61 minutes.
The referee pointed to the spot, but Kostic’s weak attempt was saved by goalkeeper Florian Mueller on his Bundesliga debut.
Hamburg are now seven points behind 16th-placed Mainz and on course for a first relegation in the club’s history.
“Giving up is not in my nature, but we need a small miracle,” admitted Hamburg coach Bernd Hollerbach.
Having been booed by his own fans last weekend, the pressure eased on Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann with a 2-0 win at Augsburg.
Croatia striker Andrej Kramaric scored for the fifth match in a row before Germany winger Serge Gnabry added a superb second after the break.