Dortmund - Unusually, very little went right for Borussia Dortmund in their final competitive test ahead of the biggest game in the club’s recent history.
The Yellow Blacks slumped to a 2-1 defeat against survival-chasing 1899 Hoffenheim, Robert Lewandowski was pipped to the top goalscorer’s award by Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s Stefan Kießling and Mats Hummels had to be withdrawn with injury, potentially endangering his appearance in next weekend’s UEFA Champions League final against FC Bayern Munich. All in all, it couldn’t have gone much worse for Jürgen Klopp’s team.
And yet for long periods of Saturday’s action, such an ending seemed inconceivable. Lewandowski had put Dortmund in front inside six minutes with his 24th goal of the season, taking him level with Kießling. However, BVB then spurned a host of chances to let Hoffenheim back into the game and, after two recklessly conceded penalties, the second of which led to a red card for goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller, Hoffenheim were 2-1 in front.
“We didn’t make the most of the chances we had and that’s what really annoys me,” commented head coach Klopp after the game. His players might yet have scraped a point - and condemned Hoffenheim to relegation - had Marcel Schmelzer’s strike not been ruled out for an offside flag, but the footballing gods had deserted BVB and 2-1 it remained.
This was after Hummels had been substituted from the action after turning awkwardly on his ankle, an injury that will have the medical team sweating over his fitness ahead of next Saturday's Wembley showpiece. His ankle ligaments are not believed to be torn, though, and chief medical officer Dr. Markus Braun rated his chances of featuring next week as ‘not unrealistic'. Still, it was hardly positive news, especially with star attacker Mario Götze already a doubt.
Meanwhile, news filtered through that Kießling had scored late on for Leverkusen at Hamburger SV, taking him to 25 for the season, one more than Lewandowski. The Polish striker was understandably disappointed, not only at the result but also at missing out on winning the Torjägerkanone. “That's unfortunate as I would like to have won it,” said the 24-year-old. “You never know - I might win it next season.”
Focused on London
As the former Lech Poznan man explained, however, there are more important things on the players' minds than individual gongs, namely Wembley next week. “It’s no use talking about [the Hoffenheim] game. What matters now is the final and that’s what we’re concentrating on," added Lewandowski, adamant that the result will bear no relevance to the clash with Bayern.
“Neither this game, nor the draw against Wolfsburg will be in our heads when we take to the pitch. What's done is done. The final will be a totally different game, you can be sure of that.”