Andrej Kramaric set Hoffenheim on their way to a 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund on Saturday that took them ahead of their final-day opponents and into third, and left Dortmund clinging on to a place in the top four and next season's UEFA Champions League.
Goals: 1-0 Kramaric (26'), 1-1 Reus (58'), 2-1 Szalai (63'), 3-1 Kaderabek (74')
High stakes can often mean low entertainment, but neither coach set up conservatively, and their teams - in fourth and third respectively at kick-off - responded in kind. With Jadon Sancho prompting, BVB set the early pace: Raphael Guerreiro's left foot twice brought saves from Oliver Baumann in the home goal. Roman Bürki responded in kind from a Kramaric drive, but when the Dortmund goalkeeper got all befuddled with a backpass, Kramaric seized onto his poor clearance before sending a low effort zipping into the bottom corner. Andre Schürrle should have levelled before the break, but sank to the Sinsheim turf, head in hands, after firing wide with only Baumann to beat.
Reus' instinctive half-volley soon after the restart was comfortable for Baumann; Dortmund were much less so as Bürki and Lukasz Piszczek denied Adam Szalai and Steven Zuber in quick succession. Poised to net a second, Hoffenheim were rocked by Marco Reus, who gave his FIFA World Cup squad bid a boost, showing remarkable persistence — and a good deal of luck — to eventually scramble the ball beyond Baumann. Szalai's deft chip quickly restored the hosts' advantage though, and when Pavel Kaderabek volleyed home after another fragile Bürki moment at a Kramaric free-kick, Peter Stöger's men only held on to their top-four place on goal difference from Bayer Leverkusen.
Congratulations to @tsg1899hoffenheim who finish 3rd and book their ticket to the @championsleague! . . . . #TSG #TSG1899 #Hoffenheim #Bundesliga #Football #Soccer #Germany #fussball #futbol #goals #lovefootball #thebeautifulgame #instasport #team #soccerislife #footy #skills #matchday #player #match #footballgame #ball
Hoffenheim: Baumann – Akpoguma, Vogt (c), Bicakcic – Kaderabek, Grillitsch, Zuber (Amiri 64'), Schulz – Kramaric (Polanski 80'), Uth (Hack 88'), Szalai
Unused subs: Kobel, Zulj, Hoogma, Passlack
Absentees: Posch (groin), Geiger (thigh), Rupp (knee), Demirbay (ankle), Gnabry (groin)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
Dortmund: Bürki (Weidenfeller, 90+4')- Piszczek, Akanji, Schmelzer (c) - Pulisic, Weigl, Sahin, Gurreiro - Reus, Sancho - Schürrle (Kagawa 74')
Unused subs: Zagadou, Götze, Toljan, Philipp, Castro
Absentees: Sokratis (suspended), Toprak (calf), Rode (groin), Batshuayi (ankle)
Coach: Peter Stöger
- Kramaric finished on 13 goals for this season, two fewer than his 2016/17 tally.
- Since returning from injury, Dortmund's Reus has plundered seven goals in 11 Bundesliga games.
- Dortmund's veteran goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller got onto the pitch to make a final appearance before retiring, ending on 349 Bundesliga matches played since joining in the club in 2002.
- Dortmund had undefeated in 10 matches against Hoffenheim. Their previous loss to Die Kraichgauer had come back in August 2011.
- This was Hoffenheim boss Julian Nagelsmann's first Bundesliga win over Dortmund in five attempts. He had only taken a point from the four previous encounters.
Watch: Nagelsmann: "It took six weeks to find our form"