Hoffenheim staged a heroic second-half comeback to steal a point against Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday afternoon, condemning the Bundesliga leaders to a third straight game without victory.
After a fairly uneventful opening 10 minutes the game burst into life, as Dortmund had the ball in the net in bizarre fashion. However, the referee chalked Jadon Sancho’s goal off after a VAR check.
When a legitimate goal eventually came and there was no surprise that it was Sancho who got it. The former Man City youth star played a neat give and go with Lukas Piszczek before dragging the ball across Oliver Baumann and into the bottom left hand corner.
Dortmund controlled the game with ease in the first half and saw plenty of ball at Hoffenheim’s expense. Julian Nagelsmann’s side struggled to keep at pace with Dortmund and found themselves chasing the game.
The second goal for Dortmund came just before the half time whistle. A slick passing counter attack that began in their own box was eventually finished off by Mario Gӧtze.
Raphael Guerreiro was the next name of the score sheet as Dortmund looked to have sealed the victory early in the second half. Sancho and Gӧtze linked up again with short passes before finding Guerreiro to fire home.
It looked as the though the game was over but Hoffenheim grabbed two goals late in the second half to give Naglesmann’s men a fighting chance. Pavel Kaderabek’s cross was helped on by Dortmund defender Abdou Diallo to find half time substitute Ishak Belfodil who narrowly beat Bürki at his near post.
Kaderabek then turned from provided to scorer as he headed home a Florian Grillitsch cross with seven minutes remaining.
The incredible comeback was complete when Belfodil grabbed his second of the game with five minutes to go of regular time. Denis Geiger’s free kick curved round the wall and met the diving head of the Algerian to claim his sixth goal of the season, leaving the home fans stunned.
Here’s our breakdown of this one.
Key Talking Point
The big question before kick-off was how BVB would cope without key man Marco Reus.
Well, the hosts played exceptionally in the first half and few would’ve even noticed the star’s absence.
Dortmund’s forward three had countless opportunities towards the end of the first half and were unlucky not to score more.
Maximillian Phillip proved that he is not a suitable replacement for the captain though. He struggled to get on the ball as Sancho and Gӧtze ran the game before Hoffenheim’s second half comeback. Since his move from Freiburg Phillip has struggled to keep a place in the starting eleven but unfortunately didn’t do himself any favours after that performance.
Sancho, Gӧtze and Guerreiro though, were outstanding for Dortmund and proved that even without the star man Reus, Dortmund can still be deadly this season.
Starting XI: Bürki (8), Piszczek (7), Weigl (6), Diallo (6), Hakimi (7), Dahoud (6), Witsel (6), Sancho (9*), Phillipp (5), Guerreiro (8), Gӧtze (8).
Substitutions: Alcacer (6), Toprak (5), Wolf (N/A).
Jadon Sancho controlled the game in the first half and looked as lively as ever. The Englishmen was involved in three goals for Dortmund in the first half, albeit one was chopped off by VAR. His confidence on the ball was admirable and he took his goal well placing the ball across Baumann.
Sancho formed a deadly partnership with Gӧtze and Guerreiro and terrorised the Hoffenheim defence in the absence of Reus. He grabbed the assist for Guerreiro’s goal and cracked the post in the second half.
Maximilian Philipp didn’t fit in with the system for Dortmund today and failed to make impact as the replacement for Reus.
Starting XI: Baumann (6), Bicakcic (6), Posch (6), Hübner (7), Grillitsch (7), Kaderabek (8*), Bittencourt (7), Demirbay (5), Schulz (7), Joelinton (8), Kramaric (5).
Substitutions: Geiger (7), Belfodil (8), Nelson (6)
Up next for the Bundesliga leaders is a trip to Nürnberg as they try to regain their winning touch.
Dortmund will hope their manager Lucien Favre will be back on the touchline next week after missing today’s game due to illness.