Brandt goal the difference as BVB go top at Hoffenheim
A late first half goal from Julian Brandt proved to be the winner in an even encounter between Borussia Dortmund and Hoffenheim.
Both goalkeepers were kept busy in an end-to-end battle at the PreZero Arena, but it was Edin Terzic’s men who earned the valuable three points to go top of the Bundesliga.
Borussia Dortmund in 2023:
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 25, 2023
Facing Hoffenheim at the PreZero Arena has never been Borussia Dortmund’s favourite fixture; the club have won just four of their 14 trips there and until 2020, had only won two in 12.
From 2013 to 2019, BVB were winless there in seven matches. But at home, their record has been much stronger.
Ahead of this one, the Black and Yellows had won each of their first eight games of the new year and had climbed to second place in the Bundesliga, level on points with both Bayern Munich in first and Union Berlin in third.
Those teams face each other tomorrow, meaning that at least one of them will drop points, putting Dortmund in a strong position.
Hoffenheim, meanwhile, were winless in 12 matches since the middle of October, having lost 10 games in that time, which has seen them thrown into the midst of a relegation battle, sitting just a point above the relegation zone.
1. Oliver Baumann (C)
3. Pavel Kaderabek
5. Ozan Kabak
22. Kevin Vogt
25. Kevin Akpoguma
16. Sebastian Rudy
40. Umut Tohumcu
14. Christoph Baumgartner
9. Ihlas Bebou
27. Andrej Kramaric
1. Gregor Kobel
17. Marius Wolf
4. Nico Schlotterbeck
25. Niklas Süle
13. Raphael Guerreiro
22. Jude Bellingham
23. Emre Can
43. Jamie Bynoe-Gittens
11. Marco Reus (C)
19. Julian Brandt
9. Sébastien Haller
From the first whistle, we could tell that this one was going to be an incredibly entertaining, end-to-end encounter.
Both sides had their chances and we saw goalmouth scrambles at both ends of the pitch.
Early on Jamie Bynoe-Gittens did well to cut inside and draw a good save from Oliver Baumann, who started as he meant to go on.
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) February 25, 2023
Andrej Kramaric, who scored four goals in one game against Dortmund back in 2020, dragged a shot wide of the post soon after, before Ozan Kabak somehow couldn’t convert from close range after a scramble involving Gregor Kobel and Nico Schlotterbeck.
The latter then saw a chance at the other end of the field, but directed his header from a corner wide of the target.
The visitors were starting to build some real pressure; Sébastien Haller showcased some incredible ball control and strength in the box before his shot was saved by Baumann. The Ivorian was then denied a goal by a great goal-line clearance from the following corner.
Emre Can then had a go from the edge of the area but his effort was tipped over the crossbar by the hosts’ skipper. The following corner then saw Schlotterbeck work the ball across the goalmouth but again, no one could quite convert.
But two minutes from half-time (43’), that sustained pressure was made to count, as a terrific Marco Reus delivery from a free-kick ghosted the attempted flick-on by Marius Wolf and found the back of the net via the back of Julian Brandt.
That was the German’s fourth goal in as many Bundesliga games, and it was of great importance too, as Edin Terzic’s side found a breakthrough.
Early in the second half, referee Martin Petersen and the video assistant referee were very busy; first to deny 1899 a penalty, as Emre Can’s foul was eventually adjudged to have been harsh.
Then BVB thought they had doubled their lead, as a nice counter-attack saw Brandt lay the ball off for Marius Wolf, who smashed it in off the post. However, the referee pulled play back with Schlotterbeck adjudged to have fouled Ihlas Bebou earlier in the build-up.
From the resulting free-kick, Gregor Kobel was forced into a very good save, the first of many he was required to make throughout the second half.
The Swiss international kept out Christoph Baumgartner with a good diving save, before denying substitute Kasper Dolberg with a strong hand at the near post.
But Baumann was continuing his impressive display at the other end too; he kept out Raphael Guerreiro with a fantastic fingertip save, before making a double save to keep out Brandt from distance and Jude Bellingham from the follow-up.
The Black and Yellows had seen several chances but they were far from being home and dry, as contrary to their form, the Blues were still putting pressure on the Dortmund goal.
Kramaric came close again, as did Sebastian Rudy from a corner, while substitute Fisnik Asllani had a gilt-edged chance with five minutes to play, yet he could only head Angelino’s delivery wide from close range.
Bellingham struck the post in stoppage time, as the visitors showed their threat on the counter-attack and successfully held the ball up to effectively see out another important win and a ninth in a row.
7 – Borussia Dortmund won their seventh Bundesliga match in 2023, equalling the club's record at the beginning of a new calender year set in 2012, when they became German champions for the last time at the end of the season. First. #TSGBVB pic.twitter.com/ikx1RDxc6h
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) February 25, 2023
How the players fared
Gregor Kobel – 7.5
Marius Wolf – 7
Nico Schlotterbeck – 7
Niklas Süle – 6.5
Raphael Guerreiro – 7
Jude Bellingham – 7
Emre Can – 7
Jamie Bynoe-Gittens – 6
Marco Reus (C) – 6.5
Julian Brandt – 7
Sébastien Haller – 6.5
Donyell Malen – 5.5
Salih Özcan – N/A
Mats Hummels – N/A
4 – In today's game against TSG Hoffenheim, Borussia Dortmund's Julian Brandt scored in his fourth Bundesliga game in a row – no other BL player has managed such a long scoring streak in 2023. Run. #TSGBVB pic.twitter.com/QeW7PkY76J
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) February 25, 2023
What we learned
It’s nine straight wins now for Borussia Dortmund, whose confidence and mentality are clearly growing.
Such is the unpredictability of the Bundesliga, Hoffenheim were very impressive despite their tragic form; Gregor Kobel had to stay alert to secure his eighth clean sheet in the league this season.
Dortmund possessed plenty of threat going forward and if it wasn’t for Oliver Baumann in the Hoffenheim goal, BVB would’ve likely won by four or five, based on the number of great chances they had.
Thankfully for them, Julian Brandt, albeit in fortuitous circumstances, stepped up to score again, his fourth in as many games, proving how reliable and important a player he has become.
The defence was also solid and this consistency, which we’ve not seen at the Signal Iduna Park in quite some time, is only a good sign for the club’s title hopes.
BVB Top Scorers 2022/23 (All competitions)
- Jude Bellingham (10)
- Julian Brandt (9)
- Yousouffa Moukoko (6), Karim Adeyemi (6)
- Marco Reus (5), Giovanni Reyna (5)