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Borussia Dortmund closed the gap on league-leaders Bayern Munich with a nervy 1-0 victory over relegation-threatened Arminia Bielefeld, thanks to a clinical first-half strike from Marius Wolf.

Having thrashed Borussia Mönchengladbach 6-0 in their previous Bundesliga match at home, a fast start was always likely for Dortmund. They came within inches of taking an early lead, when Donyell Malen had a first-time strike deflected against the base of the post. Despite this narrow escape, Bielefeld soon found themselves behind as Jude Bellingham picked out Thorgan Hazard with an exquisite pass, and the Belgian’s cutback was cooly finished by Marius Wolf in the centre of the six-yard box.

Buoyed by the opener, ‘Die Borussen’ looked to press home their momentum, and were given what appeared to be a golden opportunity to double their lead, when Robin Hack was harshly adjudged to have handled the ball in the box. However, after a quick VAR review, the decision was promptly overturned, leaving Dortmund to settle for a narrow one-goal advantage at the break.

The opening exchanges of the second half were largely played in the Dortmund half as Bielefeld looked to put the hosts under pressure, but Hack could only direct their best chance straight at Gregor Kobel. Dortmund nearly made ‘Die Arminen’ immediately pay for this missed opportunity, as Malen shifted the ball onto his right foot and thundered a strike against the crossbar.

Having last recorded an away H2H win 22 years ago this month, the last thing Bielefeld wanted to see on the hour-mark was the introduction of Erling Haaland. Despite the Norwegian’s return, Dortmund looked disjointed in attack as they chased a decisive second. Giovanni Reyna wasted the best opening, as he prodded wide following a clever flick from Haaland.

Fortunately for the home side, one goal proved to be enough as their defence held firm to secure a vital three points. That said, there will be an undercurrent of disappointment, with ‘Der BVB’ seeing their run of scoring twice or more in successive home matches end at eight against an opposition.

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