Borussia Dortmund were able to start Marco Reus, Mario Gotze and Andre Schurrle together for the first time in the Bundesliga on Sunday and were rewarded with a 1-0 victory at Borussia Monchengladbach, but it was goalkeeper Roman Burki who proved to be the hero for the visitors.
Dortmund have enjoyed an upturn in form of late and extended their winning run to four matches in succession thanks to a stunning goal from Reus in the 32nd minute.
The forward, having finally regained full fitness after suffering a torn cruciate knee ligament in May, partnered his fellow Germany stars in attacking midfield against his former team.
Reus starred for Gladbach between 2009 and 2012 before moving to Signal Iduna Park, and his brilliant effort would have come as no surprise to supporters of Die Fohlen.
The hosts created more chances than Dortmund but found Burki in determined mood, and Dieter Hecking's team have now gone four matches without hitting the back of the net in a slumped that has seen them drop to 10th.
Dortmund, meanwhile, are up to second, with their campaign for Champions League qualification firmly back on track after replacing head coach Peter Bosz with Peter Stoger in December.
A terrible playing surface contributed to a scrappy first half hour at Borussia-Park, where Gladbach's Lars Stindl had a shot saved by Burki in the 13th minute following a dangerous counter-attack.
Burki received lengthy treatment nine minutes later after a heavy challenge from Raul Bobadilla, prompting Roman Weidenfeller to warm up, but the first-choice goalkeeper proved able to continue.
Dortmund then took the lead with their first real chance in the 32nd minute.
Reus, making only his second Bundesliga start since May, was found just inside the area by Schurrle and lifted a clever, eye-catching finish over goalkeeper Yann Sommer and in off the underside of the crossbar.
The video assistant referee (VAR) system correctly denied Gladbach a goal when Jannik Vestergaard poked home in the 42nd minute, having been found by Bobadilla in an offside position following a free-kick.
The hosts should have gone in level at the break, though, Thorgan Hazard cutting in from the left and gliding past three opponents only to fire wide of the far post with Burki beaten.
Burki was called on again to deny Gladbach 10 minutes into the second half, stretching to stop Stindl's strike and then smothering Bobadilla's attempt to convert the rebound, with Sokratis Papastathopoulos hooking the ball clear following a deflection off the attacker.
Nico Elvedi should have equalised in the 69th minute, the left-back heading straight at Burki when left unmarked from Hazard's cross.
And the Gladbach onslaught continued to no avail six minutes later, Bobadilla denied once more by the goalkeeper, who kept out a firm strike from the centre of the penalty area.
Hecking's side were left to rue that catalogue of missed opportunities, as Dortmund survived a handball from Michy Batshuayi inside the area that went unseen by the referee to secure all three points in a tense finale.
Key Opta stats:
- Marco Reus, Andre Schurrle and Mario Gotze started for the first time in a competitive match for Borussia Dortmund.
- Gotze played his 153th competitive match for Borussia Dortmund, levelling Matthias Sammer.
- In his second Bundesliga appearance of the season Reus scored his first goal. Reus has scored in six of his last eight Bundesliga games.
- Dortmund have won the last five Bundesliga games where Reus has been captain.
- Peter Stoger is the first BVB manager to remain undefeated in his first eight Bundesliga games (five wins, thre draws).
|Jason Day hungry to reclaim top ranking: My game is close|
|Iconic 2002 World Cup haircut was media distraction, reveals Ronaldo|
|New Zealand star Taylor fit for day-night Test|
|Teenager Anisimova to face Muguruza in Miami|
|McIlroy credits Wayne Rooney for improved putting|
|Stokes return a ´huge boost´ for England – Root|
|Wright: Difficult for Liverpool sensation Salah to resist Real Madrid|
|Yaya Toure yet to report for international duty, confirm Ivory Coast|
|Masters favouritism could hinder Woods, Thomas claims|
|I wish I could still play with him – Ortiz on Red Sox addition Martinez|
|Morrison confirms plans to play for Jamaica|
|Warriors target Friday return for Curry against Hawks|
|Starc and Marsh set to play at Newlands|
|Red alert: Richard Sherman ´excited´ to be a 49er|
|Germany should be proud to have Sane, says Tah|
|Bertrand out of England friendlies with back injury|
|Optimistic McIlroy ´crossed that line´ with Bay Hill win|
|Young backs Mourinho over Shaw treatment|
|BVBolt? Athletics great scores header while training in Dortmund kit|
|Fekir will look to leave Lyon the right way, says agent|
|Ex-Springboks coach Meyer takes charge at Stade|
|Spieth relishing Reed match play showdown|
|Alisson loves Roma and we haven´t discussed Liverpool move, insists agent|
|Henderson becomes third Ireland player to sign new deal|
|Romo ready to create ´mental bubble´ ahead of PGA Tour debut|
|McTominay: I always wanted to play for Scotland|
|Chiesa vows to honour Astori with Italy displays|
|England´s Pope ready for Heaton challenge amid World Cup race|
|Lautaro Martinez confirms impending Inter move|
|Morata wasn´t happy with Spain snub, admits Alonso|
|Raiola rages over Italy´s Balotelli snub|
|Injured Saunders postpones Murray fight|
|PGA tightens security at Dell Match Play in wake of Austin bombings|
|Raiola hopes Reina to Milan hastens Donnarumma exit|
|F1 Raceweek: Hamilton prepares to begin title defence in Melbourne|
|Former Sevilla coach Berizzo eyeing return after beating cancer|
|Cutrone did not expect whirlwind Milan season and Italy call-up|
|Saints punish North for missing training|
|´Happy´ Kepa mulled over Real Madrid move|
|GGG wants Saunders next if Alvarez bout is called off|
|Former All Black Mika passes away|
|Lucas Vazquez keen on Real Madrid stay|
|South Africa delighted to call on ´world´s best´ Rabada|
|Tiger Woods continues climb in FedEx Cup, world rankings|
|Juventus clear Chiellini of serious injury|
|Newcastle charged as youth team allegedly breach advertising regulations|
|Kearney joins Best in extending Ireland contract|
|I did not betray Roma – Pjanic could not pass up Juventus opportunity|
|Cardiff Blues appoint Mulvihill as Wilson replacement|
|Title-chasing Sarri closes on Napoli renewal as he hopes to repay fans|
|Cook: I wasn´t close to quitting during Ashes|
|Messi and Ronaldo reveal World Cup kits|
|Nara praises Inter project as Icardi talks continue|
|Best to lead Ireland in World Cup after signing extension|
|Marseille´s Rami wants to ´tickle´ PSG|
|Fury targeting Louis´ record for title defences|
|Salah can push on to Messi´s level - Robertson|
|Rabada free to play in rest of South Africa-Australia series|
|F1 2018: Halo splits opinion ahead of Australia debut|
|Iniesta better than last year – Lopetegui|
|Federer yet to decide on clay-court season|
|Okon quits as Mariners head coach|
|LeBron triple-double powers Cavs past Bucks as Love returns|
|Lopetegui: Morata must earn World Cup spot|
|Ronaldo has asked about China – Scolari|
|Ebron signs two-year deal with Colts|
|Spieth, Reed to do battle in Match Play|
|Rangers´ Perez slaughtered, ate bull that caused broken elbow|
|Bills improve offensive line with Bodine, Newhouse|
|Braves phenom Acuna to start season in minors|