Borussia Dortmund warmed up for next week’s Champions League last 16 first-leg clash with the Bianconeri by edging Stuttgart in a five-goal thriller at the Mercedes-Benz Arena on Friday evening.
At the start of play, Jurgen Klopp’s men were looking to continue their recent renaissance and bag a third consecutive league victory after a tough first half of the season.
And, after hitting four in last week’s win over Mainz, their purple patch in front of goal continued when former Milan man Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave them the perfect start by firing home on 25 minutes.
But the Bundesliga’s basement boys levelled seven minutes later, defender Florian Klein converting a spot-kick after Georg Niedermeier had been fouled by Nuri Sahin in the area.
There was, however, still time for Ilkay Gundogan to put the 2013 Champions League runners-up back ahead as he finished off a flowing Dortmund move by slotting the ball under the goalkeeper’s legs on 39 minutes.
A tense second half then followed with the hosts pushing for that all-important equaliser but Marco Reus, who recently tied his long-term future down to Borussia Dortmund by signing a new deal, seemingly wrapped up all three points with 60 seconds of normal time remaining.
However, Stuttgart skipper Niedermier did reduce the arrears a minute into injury-time to set up a tense finish, but Klopp’s charges hung on as Friday’s win took them up into tenth position, just seven points off a European spot.