Dortmund - Robert Lewandowski failed to get on the scoresheet in his final appearance at the Signal Iduna Park as Borussia Dortmund enjoyed the perfect send-off, coming from a goal down to clinch a 3-2 win against 1899 Hoffenheim in a thrilling end-to-end affair.
Borussia on the back foot
The hosts got off to the worst possible start when Roberto Firmino bagged his 15th goal of the campaign early on, but three goals in five minutes before half time, courtesy of Kevin Großkreutz, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Lukasz Piszczek, soon swung things back in BVB’s favour. Niklas Süle managed to reduce the arrears in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the hosts stretching their unbeaten run to eight games.
In an encounter between two of the league’s highest scoring sides it came as no surprise that the opening exchanges were played at a frantic pace. However, after Robert Lewandowski failed to get his shot off inside the first minute, it was the visitors that broke the deadlock when Kevin Volland’s ball from the right found its way through to Firmino, who took a touch to burst to the edge of the area before firing past Roman Weidenfeller.
Hoffenheim should have doubled their lead soon after when a mistake by Sokratis allowed Firmino to tee-up Volland, but the German U-21 captain failed to capitalise on BVB’s backline being at sixes and seven, allowing Mats Hummels to clear off the line. The second scare in quick succession snapped Dortmund back to reality and elicited the desired response as Jens Grahl was forced to spread himself at the feet of Reus, while Lewandowski and Mkhitaryan were both guilty of dragging chances wide of the target.
The pressure finally told approaching the half-hour mark though, with Dortmund grabbing two goals inside of 93 seconds as first Großkreutz curled a shot into the bottom corner, before Reus picked out Mkhitaryan, who beat Grahl all ends up with a bullet header, his first in the Bundesliga. The damage wasn’t done either as Piszczek chipped in with an effort of his own, producing a vicious volley with the outside of his boot to hand the hosts a comfortable two-goal lead at the break.
The pace of proceedings showed no signs of dissipating after the restart with Dortmund intent on extending their lead and the visitors desperate to reduce the arrears. As a result, both sides were affording their opponents time and space on the ball as the encounter evolved into an end-to-end affair in which neither could produce the final pass. Großkreutz twice went close to bagging his brace on the hour-mark, but had to watch on helplessly as his side conceded their second of the afternoon.
Fast-paced and frantic
Dortmund were slow to react, allowing Süle to maraud forward uncontested with the ball before unleashing a powerful effort from 30 yards which Weidenfeller somehow allowed to slip between his legs. Far from taking their foot off the pedal, the hosts sought an immediate response, yet an element of defensive uncertainty continued to cause them problems as substitute Sejad Salihovic squandered a golden opportunity to level the scores.
Spurred on by their phenomenal home support, Dortmund remained unsatisfied with a narrow lead as Großkreutz continued to provide the greatest threat in front of goal. At the other end, Weidenfeller produced a smart stop to tip another Salihovic effort around the post, a save which ensured Dortmund took all three points at the end of a highly-entertaining encounter in their final home game of the campaign.
Line-ups and statistics
Watch Robert Lewandowski bid farewell to the Signal Iduna Park faithful, courtesy of the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel.