BERLIN — Christoph Kramer's bizarre own goal gave Borussia Dortmund a 1-0 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach to end the side's five-game losing streak and lift it out of the Bundesliga's relegation zone on Sunday.
World Cup winner Kramer converted into his own net from the center circle in the 58th minute when he inadvertently chipped an attempted back pass over his goalkeeper and could only watch helplessly as the ball bounced in.
"I thought the ball was going to bounce up," said Kramer, referring to the pass he received from teammate Tony Jantschke. "It can happen. But how I played today, that shouldn't happen. The Dortmunders can thank me and I have to excuse myself to the 'Gladbachers."
Dortmund midfielder Sebastian Kehl immediately consoled the 23-year-old, and he said afterward, "I hope it doesn't harm him, because he's a good kicker. I wish him all the best for the next game."
It was a deserved lead for the home side which had dominated without converting any chances.
Marco Reus was a constant thorn for his former side and almost made it 2-0 three minutes after Kramer's mishap when he struck the crossbar.
Reus went agonizingly near the far post in the second minute, shortly before Yann Sommer pulled off a great save to push another Reus effort onto the post.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a goal ruled out for offside in the 19th, Lukasz Piszczek missed a good opportunity, Henrikh Mkhitaryan fired over with the goal at his mercy, and Sommer made another fine save to stop Aubameyang's free kick to keep it scoreless at the break.
Moenchengladbach only threatened in a frenetic finale when Dortmund again missed numerous chances to secure the result.
But the home side, which had 22 efforts to the visitors' one, held on for a much-needed win to move above Werder Bremen on goal difference. Bremen occupies the relegation playoff spot.
"We totally deserved to win," said Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp, who also had words of consolation for Kramer.
"If that had to be the tin opener then I'll take it and tell the tale later. Christoph Kramer now has his own little place in our history."
After its first defeat of the season Moenchengladbach is third, seven points behind Bayern Munich.
Earlier, Kevin de Bruyne created both goals for Wolfsburg to beat Hamburger SV 2-0 and consolidate second.
Ivica Olic opened the scoring in the 26th minute, deflecting de Bruyne's wayward effort inside the left post from close range.
Aaron Hunt made the game safe in the 64th, with a cool finish from de Bruyne's pass — his ninth assist of the season, a Bundesliga high. The Belgian midfielder ran half the length of the pitch before picking out Hunt, who took his time before picking his spot.
"Wolfsburg were simply better than us," said Hamburg defender Dennis Diekmeier, whose side slipped back into the relegation zone. "They deserved the win."
American midfielder Julian Green, on loan at Hamburg from Munich, made a 79th-minute substitute appearance.
Wolfsburg remained four points behind Bayern after its eighth consecutive win across all competitions.