December 17, 2016 9:24:41 am
Marco Reus was sent off and 10-man Borussia Dortmund had to settle for 2-2 at Hoffenheim in a bruising Bundesliga match on Friday.
Hoffenheim, the only remaining unbeaten side, climbed to third before the rest of the 15th round, while Dortmund moved to fifth, but could find itself 10 points behind leader Bayern Munich on Sunday.
“It’s not for nothing that they’re unbeaten this season. With 10 men I can only compliment the team,” Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said.
Hoffenheim got off to a great start when Mark Uth rounded Roman Weidenfeller in the Dortmund goal to open the scoring in the third minute.
Mario Goetze equalized eight minutes later, firing inside the right post after a fine run from Ousmane Dembele, who eluded four Hoffenheim defenders with a touch of luck.
Another touch helped Sandro Wagner restore Hoffenheim’s lead less than 10 minutes later, TV replays showing he gave Sven Bender a shove before he grazed the ball with the back of his head past the disorientated Weidenfeller.
“I didn’t realize it at the time. Intuitive. But when I see it now, it’s a foul, yeah,” Wagner acknowledged.
The foul count increased with committed challenges flying in from both sides.
Referee Benjamin Brand showed four yellow cards before sending Reus off with his second before the break. TV replays cast doubt on the decision as both he and Nadiem Amiri were fouling each other before the Hoffenheim player went to ground. Amiri rubbed salt in Dortmund wounds by trying to fire up the crowd as Reus was walking off.
“Two unbelievable decisions in the first half,” Watzke complained. “Unbelievable, incredible.”
Aubameyang equalized with a delicate chip over Oliver Baumann after being played through with a perfectly timed pass from Dembele.
It was Aubameyang’s 100th goal across all competitions for Dortmund. He nearly followed up with another two minutes later, while the irrepressible Dembele almost forced an own goal minutes after that.
Hoffenheim’s numerical advantage appeared nullified by the visitors’ efforts, but the home side gradually managed to slow the game before Dembele was forced off on a stretcher with more than 20 minutes remaining. The 19-year-old French player held his hands to his face as he was carried from the pitch.
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