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Second-placed Borussia Dortmund reduced Bayern Munich's lead at the top of the Bundesliga to a single point Saturday as Marco Reus' late winner sealed a 2-1 home victory against Stuttgart.
Dortmund's Dutch striker Donyell Malen scored his first Bundesliga goal since his summer transfer from PSV Eindhoven, but Stuttgart forced a mistake in the hosts' defence which led to an equaliser by Roberto Massimo.
With time running out, Dortmund counter-attacked from their own box and Reus tapped into an empty net to snatch victory after Bayern suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at strugglers Augsburg on Friday.
"We didn't really shine, but we fought," Dortmund defender Mats Hummels told Sky. "It was another step in the right direction."
Dortmund host Bayern in a potential top-of-the-table clash in a fortnight's time.
Bayern's defeat at Augsburg was only their third loss in all competitions this season, but Julian Nagelsmann admitted being "really angry" for the first time as coach after a poor first-half performance.
Yet less than 24 hours later, Dortmund laboured in their bid to bridge the gap in the table.
Home goalkeeper Gregor Kobel showed why Dortmund paid Stuttgart 15 million euros ($17 million) for him in the close season as he denied former team-mate Tanguy Coulibaly with a superb save just before the break.
The injured Erling Haaland celebrated in the stands when his stand-in Malen scored from the edge of the area.
However, Dortmund's defensive frailties this season were again exposed when Manuel Akanji cheaply yielded possession and Stuttgart quickly moved the ball to Massimo who fired past Kobel.
However, Reus finished off a counter-attack to claim his 145th goal for Dortmund and secure a crucial three points.
- Marsch fumes as Leipzig slump -
RB Leipzig coach Jesse Marsch slammed his side's half-hearted display after losing 2-0 at Hoffenheim, two weeks after a home win over Dortmund.
Malian midfielder Diadie Samassekou and Israel striker Munas Dabbur scored for the hosts as Leipzig suffered a fourth away defeat this season.
"I am really disappointed," fumed the American ahead of Wednesday's Champions League game at Club Brugge with Leipzig out of contention for the last 16.
"Hoffenheim's will was much greater than ours. That is unacceptable. We were flat, soft, not good enough, not intense enough.
"It's difficult for me to understand why."
Borussia Moenchengladbach continued their climb up the table with a 4-0 romp at home against bottom side Greuther Fuerth.
Midfielder Jonas Hofmann scored twice in the rout, while Germany team-mate Florian Neuhaus capitalised on a poor pass from Fuerth goalkeeper Marius Funk to fire into an empty net.
Wolfsburg scored two goals in as many minutes to seal a 2-2 draw at Arminia Bielefeld as striker Lukas Nmecha scored his fourth goal in as many games under new Wolves coach Florian Kohfeldt.
Goals by Japanese midfielder Masaya Okugawa and Bielefeld striker Fabian Klos put the hosts 2-0 up, but Wolfsburg hit back as Dutch striker Wout Weghorst and Nmecha scored in quick succession.