Borussia Dortmund have extended their winning start to 2023 to 09 matches in all competitions with a 1-0 (1-0) away victory over TSG Hoffenheim that puts them top of the Bundesliga table until Sunday evening at least.
Boris Rupert reporting from Sinsheim
Borussia Dortmund were the superior side in the opening half but also wobbled defensively on a couple of occasions at the outset. They deservedly opened the scoring through Brandt in the 43rd minute and could have extended their lead before the break. Wolf’s goal in the 56th minute was also disallowed by the video assistant referee, as a wild second period brimming with opportunities at both ends ultimately ended with a ninth victory in a row.
TSG Hoffenheim went into the match down in 15th place in the table following an 11-match winless run, while six league wins on the bounce had lifted Borussia Dortmund up to second spot. The Black & Yellows had won four and drawn one of their previous five Bundesliga encounters with Hoffenheim.
Ryerson (training regime), Adeyemi (torn muscle fibres), Moukoko (partial tear of the syndesmosis ligament) plus Morey and Duranville (both fitness training) were unable to travel to Sinsheim. Süle, Guerreiro, Bellingham, Bynoe-Gittens and Haller came in for Hummels, Ryerson, Özcan, Adeyemi and Malen compared to the team that beat Hertha 4-1.
BVB lined up in their tried-and-tested 4-1-4-1 formation with holding midfielder Can dropping between the two centre-backs during the build-up play. Brandt started over on the right flank but frequently drifted into the centre towards Reus. That left space on the right wing for Wolf to push forward. Hoffenheim lined up in a 3-4-2-1 system.
The match & analysis:
A brief but heavy downpour occurred at kick-off, which made for a slippery surface and a fast-moving ball. Possession was dominated by the Black & Yellows, who created their first chance early on: Reus played the ball to Bynoe-Gittens, who turned Vogt with a drop of the shoulder and shot from the left corner of the six-yard box, but Baumann turned it behind for a corner (4). Five minutes later, Reus was afforded lots of space following a short corner and pulled the trigger from 18 metres out, only for Kabak to head clear. It was the Hoffenheim defender who had the first opportunity for the hosts at the other end when he received the ball on the right of the six-yard box, but the offside flag went up (15).
Borussia had significantly more of the ball (65% midway through the opening half), but the team did not really have the game under their firm control. Up to that point, TSG had ventured forward and posed a threat from time to time, with one such moment coming in the 35th minute when Rudy fired just wide of the left post from 18 metres out. A foul on Süle had gone unpunished in the build-up.
That opportunity had been preceded by two major chances for Borussia, both of which fell to Haller and were thwarted by goalkeeper Baumann. Haller first got the better of two Hoffenheim players and went for goal from the edge of the box, only for the TSG shot-stopper to turn it behind for a corner. Schlotterbeck then flicked it on towards Haller, who was kept out by Baumann from close range (34). BVB were now playing more directly. Can shot from distance and although it was central, Baumann struggled with it and turned it behind for another corner (41). From the ensuing set-piece, Haller missed Schlotterbeck’s cross and then Brandt was fouled on the left corner of the box. Reus whipped the ball in and Brandt guided it into the back of the net with his back!
Borussia could have doubled their lead to 2-0 before the break. Reus first played Haller in down the right and then just missed his cross in front of goal (45). An even better opportunity then fell for Wolf, who had clear sight of the target following Guerreiro’s cutback behind the defence, but he could not put it in the back of the net from 14 metres out.
BVB were pinned back in their own half at the start of the second period and could not build on their strong, dominant spell between the 30th and 45th minutes. VAR was deployed twice, with a free-kick against Borussia reversed before a Borussia goal was disallowed. Wolf’s wonderful strike into the top right corner at full sprint was not given as Schlotterbeck had caught Bebou’s foot in the run-up to the Dortmund counter-attack (56). A free-kick was instead awarded to TSG and taken by Rudy, who cut it back towards Kramaric. His shot was saved by the leg of Kobel, who kept the lead intact (59).
What followed was a period with chances at both ends. Wolf (63), Guerreiro (save by Baumann, 65) and Bellingham (66) could have all made it 2-0, as could Brandt and Bellingham with a later double-chance (76). At the other end, Kobel turned Baumgartner’s effort from 15 metres behind for a corner (67), Kramaric went agonisingly close (71), Kobel saved against Dolberg (73) and Asllani missed from point-blank range (85).
Guerreiro (88) and Bellingham (90+3) were denied the chance to wrap it up by Baumann, but the Black & Yellows were ultimately celebrating three more points after the seven and a half minutes of stoppage time had drawn to a close.
BVB will next be in action at home to Leipzig on Friday.
Teams & goals
Bundesliga Matchday 22
TSG HOFFENHEIM 0-1 (0-1) BORUSSIA DORTMUND
TSG Hoffenheim: Baumann – Kabak (Bicakcic, 29), Vogt, Akpoguma – Kaderabek, Rudy (Stiller, 78), Tohumcu (Dolberg, 65), Angelino – Baumgartner, Kramaric – Bebou (Asllani, 65)
Bor. Dortmund: Kobel – Wolf, Süle, Schlotterbeck, Guerreiro – Can – Brandt, Bellingham, Reus (Hummels, 89), Bynoe-Gittens (Malen, 64) – Haller (Özcan, 77)
Substitutes: Philipp, Dabbur, Delaney, Becker, Brooks – Meyer, Reyna, Dahoud, Modeste, Meunier, Passlack
Goals: 0-1 Brandt (Reus, 43)
Corners: 12-11 (3-9 at half-time), chance ratio: 6-14 (2-7)
Referee: Petersen (Stuttgart), yellow cards: Kabak, Baumann, Vogt – Bellingham
Attendance: 30,150 (sold-out), weather: changeable, 5 degrees