Borussia Dortmund’s poor form continued when it was held by visiting Hoffenheim to 2-2 in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Erling Haaland’s 16th goal of the season salvaged the draw for Dortmund, but will do little to address questions of defensive frailties and charges of complacency among the home team. “In the end it was closer to 3-2 to Hoffenheim than 3-2 to us,” Dortmund defender Mats Hummels said.
Dortmund has won only one of its last six league games and is dropping back in the race for the top four Champions League qualification places. The gap is likely to grow with Eintracht Frankfurt, Wolfsburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach all playing on Sunday.
“We’re going to keep working hard,” Dortmund coach Edin Terzić said. “Our number of individual defensive mistakes is very high. It’s not easy to stay stable.”
Dortmund next faces a trip to Sevilla in the Champions League on Wednesday.
ALSO READ | Leipzig warms up for Liverpool by beating Augsburg
The team has claimed only 14 from 30 possible points since Terzić took over from the fired Lucien Favre, and he was already under increasing pressure after three defeats from the previous four Bundesliga games.
Terzić raised eyebrows by dropping captain Marco Reus to the substitutes. The 17-year-old Jude Bellingham started in a bid for defensive stability.
Sporting director Michael Zorc would not be drawn before the game when asked if he agreed with Terzić’s dropping of Reus, but it was clear from his general responses that the pressure was getting to him, too.
Andrej Kramaric scored four goals in Hoffenheim’s 4-0 win on its previous visit. Fortunately for Dortmund, the Croatian forward was injured. American Chris Richards also dropped out after picking up a knock in training.
Ihlas Bebou missed two good chances for Hoffenheim before Jadon Sancho beat the offside trap at the other end to open the scoring in the 24th minute.
Munas Dabbur equalised in the 31st. Stefan Posch produced a last-ditch tackle to deny Bellingham then Dabbur scored on the counterattack.
Dortmund’s shaky defence always looked susceptible, so it was no surprise when Bebou scored Hoffenheim’s second goal in the 51st. Goalkeeper Marwin Hitz punched the ball but only as far as Bebou’s forehead, from where it rebounded in.
Haaland had a goal ruled out for offside before he finally equalised in the 81st.
There was some pushing and shoving afterward as a Hoffenheim player was down injured when Haaland scored, but Bebou played on and Sebastian Rudy’s botched back pass gave Haaland his chance.
Saturday’s games all ended in draws.
HOPE FOR HERTHA
After two defeats, Hertha Berlin drew at Stuttgart 1-1 for its first point in three games since Pál Dárdai returned as coach. Saša Kalajdžić scored for Stuttgart just before the break with a header to a free kick.
Sami Khedira went on against his former club in the 58th and crossed for fellow substitute Luca Netz to net the equaliser in the 82nd. The 17-year-old defender became Hertha’s youngest goal-scorer in the Bundesliga.
“Sami did us good. We need that, what he brings,” Dárdai said of the former Germany midfielder. “And Luca Netz is a good hard-working young guy.”
UNION RUES MISSED CHANCES
Liverpool’s Loris Karius made a late save in his first start for Union Berlin to preserve a scoreless draw against Schalke. Karius, on loan to the end of the season, saved from Nassim Boujellab in the 89th.
Union’s winless streak stretched to five games, while Schalke’s hopes of survival remained slim with just nine points from 21 games. Also, Mainz scored two late goals at Bayer Leverkusen for 2-2, and Freiburg drew at Werder Bremen 0-0.