Michy Batshuayi was the hero for Borussia Dortmund once again after hitting a superb winner in a 1-0 defeat of Hannover on Sunday.
Batshuayi came off the bench last weekend to score twice in a 3-2 defeat of Eintracht Frankfurt, the on-loan forward hitting the decisive goal deep in added time.
Dortmund needed fewer dramatics this time - although they did survive a close call with 10 minutes to go when Jonathas saw an equaliser ruled out for a debatable offside - as Batshuayi's first-half goal saw Peter Stoger's men to back-to-back victories in the Bundesliga.
BVB surprisingly exited the Europa League on Thursday, losing 2-1 on aggregate to RB Salzburg, but Stoger is now unbeaten in 12 league matches since replacing Peter Bosz as Dortmund coach.
The Austrian has been highly reliant on Batshuayi, though, whose six Bundesliga goals since signing on loan from Chelsea in January have all given Dortmund the lead.
And while Roman Burki had to deny Pirmin Schwegler from close range, Dortmund's win was rarely threatened, bar Jonathas' late effort, as they moved within a point of second-placed Schalke despite being without the injured Marco Reus.
Stoger would have wanted a response from his side following their European exit and they hit the woodwork in the first minute after Andre Schurrle slipped Batshuayi into the box, the striker's poked effort striking the post.
Jonathas forced a save from Burki with a snapshot after Hannover weathered an early storm that saw Mario Gotze, Omer Toprak and Schurrle fail to hit the target.
Schurrle's whipped corner was tipped away by goalkeeper Philipp Tschauner from under his own crossbar, but the Hannover captain could do nothing about Batshuayi's 24th-minute opener, his eighth goal for Dortmund in all competitions.
The Belgium international made a terrific near-post run to meet Schurrle's centre from the resulting left-wing corner, jumping to flick the ball in mid-air, sending it across goal and in at the far post.
Batshuayi should have had a second but was denied by Tschauner from close range before Burki made a fine block from Schwegler's point-blank effort.
Tschauner made two fine saves low to his right to deny Mahmoud Dahoud in quick succession shortly after the restart as Dortmund sought to wrap the game up.
Julian Korb fired off target as Dortmund, wary of a repeat of Eintracht's fightback last weekend, grew increasingly nervous, Burki then easily claiming an ambitious, acrobatic hit from Marvin Bakalorz.
Batshuayi was feeding off scraps in the second half but he kept the ball alive brilliantly in the 70th minute, setting up Dahoud for a low strike that curled just wide.
Hannover may feel unfortunate to have been beaten after Jonathas scrambled in Waldemar Anton's clever knockdown, the offside flag cutting short his celebrations, while substitute Maximilian Philipp was unlucky not to add a late second for the hosts when he hit the post.
Key Opta stats:
- Michy Batshuayi has now scored six goals in his seven Bundesliga appearances.
- Batshuayi’s opener was the first goal in 2018 Dortmund have scored from a set-piece. BVB’s last goal from a dead-ball situation had been a penalty scored by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang against Hoffenheim in December.
- Andre Schurrle set up the opener and has now been involved in four goals (one goal, three assists) in his last seven Bundesliga games.
- Hannover have lost their last four Bundesliga matches (their worst run this season) and haven’t won any of their last nine Bundesliga away games (D3 L6).
- Peter Stöger stays undefeated after 12 Bundesliga matches (seven wins and five draws) with Borussia Dortmund and expands the start record for a Dortmund coach.
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