Sinsheim - Borussia Dortmund overturned a two-goal deficit, but fell further adrift of the Bundesliga title race as they dropped points in an enthralling 2-2 draw against 1899 Hoffenheim on Saturday afternoon.
Out of the blocks
Goals from Sven Schipplock and Kevin Volland had rewarded the hosts for their lively start to proceedings and, though Dortmund mustered up a dramatic turnaround as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal just before half-time was followed up by Lukasz Piszczek’s first of the season, it wasn’t enough to prevent them falling twelve points behind league leaders FC Bayern München.
In light of his side’s midweek UEFA Champions League exploits, Dortmund head coach Jürgen Klopp opted to compensate for some weary legs by making four changes to his starting line-up, yet it was the hosts’ unchanged first eleven that got the better of the opening exchanges. Hoffenheim demonstrated great bravery in trying to allow BVB as little time on the ball, with Eugen Polanski drawing an early save out of Mitchell Langerak, who was hoping to preserve his record of winning every Bundesliga match in which he has featured.
The chance sparked the visitors into life as Marco Reus was twice denied the opening goal, with Lewandowski adjudged to have obscured Jens Grahl's view from an offside position for the first, before Volland produced an outstanding last-ditch tackle to prevent the German international slotting home with the goal gaping. However, less than a minute later it was the Sinsheim side celebrating the deadlock being broken after Robert Firmino threaded the ball through to Schipplock, who kept his cool before lifting the ball over the onrushing Langerak.
Glimmer of hope
With momentum on their side and Dortmund looking vulnerable, Hoffenheim sought to press their advantage and almost did just that when Polanski smashed an effort off the bar from range. The hosts' patience paid off though, when a Firmino-inspired counter saw Sebastian Rudy’s throughball tucked into the bottom corner by Volland. Markus Gisdol’s charges were good value for their lead, but couldn’t stifle BVB for the entirety of the first half, as Jens Grahl dropped a routine corner, allowing Aubameyang to reduce the arrears.
It was a mistake which blemished a flawless first-half performance by the hosts and handed Dortmund a lifeline they seemed intent on capitalising on after the restart. However, with the entertaining nature of the encounter showing no signs of waning, Hoffenheim’s intensity and discipline continued to make life difficult for the visitors, whilst offering a regular threat in front of goal when they were afforded the chance to break.
Reduced to carving out clear-cut chances from set-pieces, Reus and Aubameyang both chanced their arm from long-range dead balls, yet it was Nuri Sahin who managed to magic an equaliser out of thin air, drifting a ball into the danger area where Piszczek was on hand to tap home after seeing his initial header saved by Grahl. With the wind in their sails and three points in their crosshairs, Dortmund upped the pressure in the hopes of carving out a late winner.
Half-chances for Piszczek and second-half substitute Henrikh Mkhitaryan both went begging, before Lewandowski’s shot from 15 yards squirmed under Grahl, but failed to creep inside the post. It was predominantly one-way traffic during the closing stages, yet Hoffenheim weren’t without their chances and Firmino and Volland both went close either side of Reus drawing a fine save out of Grahl with a dipping volley. In the end though, neither side managed to produce a winner as the spoils were shared at the end of the thrilling showdown in Sinsheim.
Line-ups and statistics