Sinsheim - TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and Borussia Dortmund dropped points in the race for next season's UEFA Europa League places after playing out a 1-1 draw on Saturday.
DFB Cup hangover
Mats Hummels cancelled out Kevin Volland's opener, but a lack of an end product coupled with results elsewhere mean both sides finish the weekend outside the top seven.
Six of the ten Dortmund squad members that featured in the DFB Cup semi-final win over FC Bayern München started in Sinsheim, with Serbian defender Neven Subotic the only man on the pitch not to have played a single minute in midweek. Volland was back from suspension for the hosts, the Germany Under-21 international taking his place in a hitherto untried front four alongside Roberto Firmino, Anthony Modeste and Adam Szalai.
Perhaps it was the tired legs, but Dortmund’s early play was uncharacteristically conservative. Hoffenheim enjoyed prolonged spells of possession as a result, yet on the two occasions in which they managed to get in behind the visiting back four through Modeste, Mitch Langerak was out in a flash to mop up the impending threat.
Hoffenheim had the game by the scruff of the neck as Volland rifled an effort wide from range. The 22-year-old was easily the best player on the park and it was he who broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute after skinning Marcel Schmelzer and slotting beyond the advancing Langerak. Dortmund had created little, but managed to level barely 60 seconds later when Hummels powered home Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s inswinging corner.
There was a much more open feel to the contest early in the second half, with Volland chancing his arm from range and Shinji Kagawa poking Mkhitaryan’s low cross wide when it looked easier to score. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang broke clear as BVB turned the screw, but the Gabon international rather selflessly squared for Mkhitaryan, who had his pockets picked at the last by David Abraham.
Baumann the hero
Dortmund were almost made to pay for those missed chances when Erik Durm’s errant back pass was picked up by Modeste, who slotted wide of the far post with only Langerak to beat. Firmino - anonymous for much of the game - then thundered a header against the crossbar, with both sides holding absolutely nothing back in their attempts to find a winner.
To that end, Jürgen Klopp threw on Ciro Immobile, while Sven Schipplock replaced Modeste for the home side. Hoffenheim failed to make use of a flurry of corners, however, and in the end were indebted to goalkeeper Oliver Baumann, who pulled off two excellent saves from Aubameyang and Immobile to ensure a share of the spoils.
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