Last but one
We are on the dying days of the Bundesliga season and Borussia Dortmund already secured the second spot behind back to back champions Bayern Munich. This Saturday TSG Hoffenheim made a visit to Dortmund's Westfalenstadion. In an entertaining match the black-yellows send the visitors back to Southern Germany with a 3-2 win.
The prefixes were clear. Borussia Dortmund and TSG Hoffenheim had no higher ambitions in Bundesliga anymore. TSG Hoffenheim already got clear of the relegation zone and had too many points distance to the European qualification. So for the Kraichgau team it was more about showing a good performance for the travelling supporters. All in all the blue ones are a really entertaining team. They have the third best attack with 67 goals scored but also have a horrible defence, that already received 66 goals - only "beaten" by Hamburger SV. This saturday Hoffenheim's coach Markus Gisdol had to do without striker Modeste due to a red card suspension. Adding to that Herdling moved onto the bench. Instead Strobl and Elyounoussis started.
For Borussia Dortmund there were some different thoughts about this match. It is Robert Lewandowski's last match at home before moving to Bayern Munich this summer. The Polish international top striker had played four years in Dortmund and scored an unbelievable amount of goals. Especially in mind are his four goals at home against Real Madrid last season. And he scored three goals in the 2012 DFB cup final win against Bayern Munich. The delicate thing about this is that Borussia Dortmund's last highlight this season is the DFB cup final. And again Bayern Munich is waiting - Lewandowski's new employer!
But it is not only about Lewandowski. Borussia Dortmund want to keep up there fantastic drive. The last matches saw BVB finding previous qualities with superb pressing and fast counter-attacks. These appearances were topped by Marco Reus' performances. The attacking midfielder is at the moment playing on world class level. His goals, assists and set pieces created a momentum that out-classed most of the opponents of the last weeks.
And maybe there is another thought about this match. On the final match day of last season TSG Hoffenheim had to visit Westfalenstadion. Hoffenheim was nearly directly relegated and needed a win in Dortmund with simultaneous losses of their rivals. Borussia Dortmund had this match under control with an early 1-0 and Hoffenheim were on the verge of 2. Bundesliga. With horrible last 15 minutes and a lousy attitude BVB brought the Kraichgau team back in business. With two penalties for Hoffenheim and a red card for Roman Weidenfeller the match was turned upside down. The 2-1 win in Dortmund with Düsseldorf losing in Hanover resulted in Hoffenheim moving to the 16th spot. In two relegation matches against Kaiserslautern they finally stayed in 1. Bundesliga!
Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp had to do without holding midfielder Oliver Kirch due to a cold. So Jojic is moving to defensive midfield and Großkreutz taking his spot on the wing. Left back Marcel Schmelzer is back from injury leaving Durm on the bench.
In front of a sold-out Westfalenstadion BVB had their first approach with Lewandowski being stopped by Hoffenheim defender Süle. On the other side of the pitch BVB's defence was able to clear the ball on the left. An unfortunate clearance by Mats Hummels found Roberto Firmino in front of Roman Weidenfeller. The Hoffenheim forward had no problem beating Weidenfelelr and it was 0-1 in minute 5! During these minutes BVB really lost control. Only two minutes later Firmino passed to Volland, whose shot was cleared by Hummels on the goalline. But now it was Dortmund's turn. Lewandowski made an assist for Reus, but his approach was saved by Hoffenheim goalie Grahl. Two minutes later another shot by Lewandowski was a little bit wide. All in all both teams had major problems in defence, leaving space for fast attacks. It took about 20 minutes when both teams found a better organization in defence. Mkhitaryan set the next highlight in minute 21, when his shot missed the goal by centimeters only. Volland in return tried a distance shot that was also wide.
Maybe this was the final trigger for Borussia Dortmund. In minute 29 central defender Sokratis conquered the ball in midfield. His pass to Jojic was forwarded to Kevin Großkreutz. The winger stormed towards Hoffenheim's box and instead of passing to Reus or Lewandowski, he tried a curved shot from 18 meters. Grahl tried to save but in the end had no chance to prevent the equalizer - 1-1! And Borussia Dortmund wasn't satisfied yet. Only two minutes later Marco Reus was suddenly unmarked on the right side of Hoffenheim's box. He did not try a desperate shot from narrow angle, but played a fantastic high cut-in that found Mkhitaryan in the middle of the box. The Armenian midfield fired a header into the net - 2-1 BVB! Only three minutes later BVB set another higlight. A freekick taken by Marco Reus was somehow deflected to Lukasz Piszczek. The Polish right back nearly missed the ball, but his shot found the right upper corner of Hoffenheim's goal - 3-1 BVB!
A couple of minutes later Mkhitaryan tried to reach a long ball by Großkreutz. Hoffenheim goalie Grahl was able to save but was accidentally hit by Mkhitaryan, leaving Grahl knocked out for a few moments. A last approach in minute 45 by Schmelzer and Lewandowski was blocked by Hoffenheim defender Abraham.
Both teams started a little bit more cautious. It took until minute 54 when Mkhitaryan got the ball in Hoffenheim's box but he was finally blocked by Hoffenheim's defence. Only 5 minutes later Kevin Großkreutz tried a copy of his first goal. But this time his curved shot from outside the box missed the goal by centimeters. And inspired by this approach he tried another copy in minute 60. This one was saved by Hoffenheim goalie Grahl. On the other side of the pitch Hoffenheim needed until minute 63 for their first chance. A fine pass by Rudy found Volland up and away. A last desperate tackle by Sokratis somehow cleared the ball but also axed Volland. Referee Welz didn't see any foul, leaving Volland frustrated. In minute 66 Hoffenheim defender Süle tried a desperate shot from about 30 meters. The powerful shot didn't look like a problem for Weidenfeller. But Dortmund's goal made a massive mistake that saw the ball going through between his legs - 3-2!
Dortmund in return reacted with an attack finding Lewandowski in the box. The Polish striker was brought down by Rudy, leaving most of the 80.000 spectators calling for a penalty. But again referee Welz didn't blow his whistle. Hoffenheim attacked with Volland and Firmino. The Brazilian's pass found Salihovic, who was blocked in the last moment. Jürgen Klopp now saw the moment for some changes. Aubameyang and Hofmann replaced Reus and Mkhitaryan. TSG Hoffenheim was willing but not really able to go for the equalizer and so the last 15 minutes hadn't many highlights. So Jürgen Klopp gave Robert Lewandowski the chance to say goodbye to the audience as Schieber replaced him in the dying seconds. After 4 minutes of extra time referee Welz blow his final whistle.
In an entertaining match both teams showed that they somehow lost higher ambitions in Bundesliga. Both defence lines were shaky and so 5 goals were scored. Borussia Dortmund can really be satisfied with the Bundesliga season so far. And there is yet one major goal in their minds with the DFB cup final in two weeks time.
Jürgen Klopp: "We had a hard task today. We lacked concentration at the beginning and needed some extra meters to compensate for that. We wanted to continue after the halftime break but weren't able to decide the match. All in all it was a deserved win."
Markus Gisdol: "I was quite satisfied with the beginning. We even had the chance to score the second early goal but then in return received the one or other goal. We did well in the second half but Dortmund remained concentrated."
BVB: Weidenfeller (4) - Piszczek (3), Sokratis (2), Hummels (3), Schmelzer (4) - Jojic (3), Sahin (3) - Mkhitaryan (3) (81. Hofmann), Reus (2) (76. Aubameyang), Großkreutz (2) - Lewandowski (3) (90. Schieber)
Coach: Jürgen Klopp
TSG Hoffenheim: Grahl - Johnson, Abraham, Süle, Beck - Strobl, Polanski - Elyounoussi, Firmino, Rudy - Volland
Coach: Markus Gisdol
Goals: 0-1 Firmino (5th, left-footed), 1-1 Großkreutz (29th, right-footed), 2-1 Mkhitaryan (31st, header, assist Reus), 3-1 Piszczek (34th, right-footed), 3-2 Süle (66th, right-footed)
Yellow cards: - / Polanski
Referee: Tobias Welz
Attendance: 80.200 (Westfalenstadion, sold out)