Konrad Laimer of RB Leipzig celebrates after scoring their side's first goal during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig at Signal Iduna Park on April 02, 2022 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
RB Leipzig inflicted a potentially fatal blow on Borussia Dortmund's faint title hopes with an emphatic victory at Signal Iduna Park, sold out for the first time in over two years.
Two quick-fire first-half goals from the visiting midfielder Konrad Laimer left Dortmund with a mountain to climb which ultimately proved insurmountable.
Christopher Nkunku added a third - his 16th goal of the season to level with Erling Haaland in the scoring charts - to completely kill off Dortmund after the restart, and Dani Olmo grabbed a fourth late on following Donyell Malen's consolation.
Laimer opened the scoring in the 21st-minute, nonchalantly lifting the ball over the onrushing Gregor Kobel with a delicate chip as Nkunku registered his eighth assist of the season.
He doubled the advantage when his shot from the edge of the box took a wicked deflection, wrong-footing Kobel as the home supporters were silenced for the second time in nine devastating minutes.
Dortmund were poor defensively all evening and looked like conceding every time Leipzig drove forward.
And in the 58th-minute, Nkunku's beautiful curling shot, which nestled into the corner, killed the game as a contest.
Substitute Malen's scrappy goal in the 84th-minute gave Dortmund a consolation, but Leipzig would have the final say, Olmo scoring the best effort of the day with a scorcher from the edge of the penalty area.
Marco Rose's side end the day nine points behind leaders Bayern Munich, while the statement win puts daylight between fourth-placed RB Leipzig and their challengers for the Champions League spot as they move three points clear of SC Freiburg in fifth.
It feels like it. With just seven games remaining and considering the blistering form Bayern Munich are showing, nine points is simply too much for Dortmund to make up. BVB have been hanging onto the coattails of their arch-rivals for much of the season, but while Julian Nagelsmann's side are now chalking up win after win, Dortmund - suffering from the poor form and fitness of Haaland - have hit some inconsistency.
The giants of Germany meet in the Der Klassiker on April 23 and anything but a victory for Rose's men will be the final nail in the coffin. Sadly for the neutrals, the harm may already be done.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig)
Much of the pre-match build-up centred on the duel between Nkunku and Haaland at opposite ends of the pitch. There was one clear winner. While the latter failed to impose himself on the game, the former continued his remarkable form, ending the match with two more assists and another goal to his name.
Christopher Nkunku of RB Leipzig controls the ball during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig at Signal Iduna Park on April 2, 2022 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Alex Gottschalk/vi/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
13' - HAALAND GOES CLOSE! Simakan, having misjudged the flight of the ball, gets away with a huge mistake at the back as Haaland can only fire wide from Wolf's cross. He doesn't miss chances like that too often.
21' - GOAL! DORTMUND 0-1 RB LEIPZIG (KONRAD LAIMER): A goal against the run of play as the visitors open the scoring! Can is too hesitant in possession and loses the ball to Laimer in a dangerous area. Nkunku takes control, Laimer continues his run and is picked out beautifully by his team mate. He nonchalantly lifts it over the onrushing Kobel. Beautiful finish - and another assist from Nkunku.
30' - GOAL! DORTMUND 0-2 RB LEIPZIG (KONRAD LAIMER): Leipzig waltz through the Dortmund defence, the ball drops to Laimer on the edge of the penalty and his shot ends up in the back of the net, a wicked deflection wrong-footing Kobel. It's a long way back from here for Dortmund.
57' - GOAL! DORTMUND 0-3 RB LEIPZIG (CHRISTOPHER NKUNKU): Game over! And who else but Nkunku puts the final nail in the coffin for Dortmund's title bid? Nkunku is left unmarked on the edge of the penalty area. Having been teed up by Olmo's back-flick, he finds the top corner with a first-time beautiful shot. It's his 16th goal of the season!
84' - GOAL! DORTMUND 1-3 RB LEIPZIG (DONYELL MALEN): Too late, surely? Malen, the substitute, heads past Gulacsi after a real scramble inside the box following a corner. The goal is being checked... but it's going to stand.
86' - GOAL! DORTMUND 1-4 RB LEIPZIG (DANI OLMO): RB Leipzig are going to have final say after all! Olmo puts the icing on a cake with a special goal, smashing the ball off the underside of the bar from outside the penalty area.
RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku has scored 16 goals in the Bundesliga this season and assisted a further 10. He is the only player to score 10+ goals and provide 10+ assists in the competition in 2021-22.