BERLIN: Champions League contenders Borussia Dortmund slipped further off the pace in defence of their German Bundesliga title after losing 3-2 at home to reviving Wolfsburg.
Dortmund had to play the majority of the match with 10 men after referee Wolfgang Stark sent off defender Marcel Schmelzer in the 36th minute, mistakenly, in an incident from which Diego scored an equalising penalty to level an earlier free kick by Marco Reus.
Highly-rated FIFA referee Stark ruled that Schmelzer had handled a goalbound shot from Bas Dost with his hands but TV replays showed the ball hit the Dortmund leftback’s knee rather than his hand.
Later Stark admitted his error, saying: “I’ve looked at it again now and, unfortunately, it was an error of perception on my part. I’m sorry, that should not happen. The penalty and the red card were a mistake on my part. That’s annoying.”
Dortmund had dominated the opening stages but the penalty furore upset their momentum and Naldo put Wolfburg ahead four minutes before the interval. Blaszczykowski pulled Dortmund level on the hour from a penalty of their own before Dost snatched Wolfsburg’s 73rd-minute winner.
Diego, a Europa League winner last season with Atletico de Madrid, provided the assist.
Bayern Munich won 2-0 at Augsburg. They lead second-placed Leverkusen by 11 points and third-placed Dortmund now by 14.
In Bulgaria champions Ludogorets beat 10-man Montana 3-0 to make it seven wins from seven games at home and stay one point clear at the top at the mid-season break. Their marksmen were Slovak defender Lubomir Guldan, Bulgaria international Ivan Stoyanov (penalty) and Mihail Alexandrov. Ludogorets were in the third division two and a half years ago.
In France Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his 14th goal in 13 league games as Paris Saint-Germain claimed a 4-0 home win against Evian to go second in the league and ease pressure on coach Carlo Ancelotti after having lost three of their previous five previous league matches.
In Italy veteran captain Francesco Totti struck twice to lead Roma to a fourth successive win, by 4-2 over Fiorentina. Leandro Castan and substitute Pablo Osvaldo were also on target for Zdenek Zeman’s side who moved up to fifth in the table, level on 29 points with sixth-placed Fiorentina and Lazio who are fourth.
In Spain Mesut Ozil netted a superb double to fire Real Madrid to a 3-2 comeback win at Valladolid and lift Jose Mourinho’s side within two points of second-placed Atletico Madrid.
Madrid risked another setback, after defeat at Betis two weeks earlier, when they fell behind twice to first-half goals from Angola forward Manucho.
Each time, howeverm, Karim Benzema and then Ozil levelled before the break and the Germany midfielder then converted a delicious left-foot free kick in off the crossbar for a 72nd-minute winner. As assistant coach Aitor Karanka said: “This is the Ozil we all know and we all want to see.”
** Dutch clubs held a minute’s silence and teams wore black arm bands before all Saturday’s professional matches in memory of a linesman who died following an incident during a youth competition the previous weekend.
Richard Nieuwenhuizen, 41, was attacked while officiating for the Buitenboys team in an under-17 match in Almere last Sunday and died the following day. Four teenage Nieuw-Sloten Amsterdam players have been arrested.
# # # #