First things first, yes Peter Stöger wore a pair of jeans...and Julian Nagelsmann didn’t wear anything yellow.
The duel between Borussia Dortmund and TSG Hoffenheim was highly anticipated for a slew of reasons. First of all it was the first home for newly appointed coach Peter Stöger who had a good start with the 2-0 victory over Mainz in his first game, secondly and possibly even more intriguing is the fact that the opposing coach was Julian Nagelsmann. The young coaching phenom has been heavily rumored as Dortmund’s next coach.
A disappointing first half
Dortmund started strong out of the gate, dominating the first 20 minutes of the game and creating several good chances. Problem is, those chances were all wasted by the BVB attackers, most notably Andriy Yarmolenko. The Ukrainian winger had several opportunities to give Dortmund the lead but his decision-making was severely lacking and his options are limited simply because he refuses to use his right foot which makes him easy to decipher for defenders.
After 20 minutes Dortmund should have had the lead but instead they found themselves trailing Hoffenheim after 21 minutes. Guerreiro wasn’t aggressive enough on defense giving Amiri enough time to play an easy through ball to Kaderabek who was left completely alone by Schmelzer on the left side. The Hoffenheim right back had no trouble finding Uth in the middle of the box for the easy tap in.
Stöger’s team was visibly shaken after the goal, making far too many mistakes and as a result letting Hoffenheim dictate the pace of the game. Dortmund had a couple more chances at the end of the half but they still lacked the needed precision and forcefulness needed to equalize.
A messy 2nd half...and a happy end
The second half started out a bit different, Dortmund pressed higher and didn’t let Hoffenheim control the game as much but it led to a messy game where neither team could hold onto the ball for very long.
Nevertheless the black and yellows were able to dial up the pressure and their first really good combination of the second half led to a penalty when Kagawa was fouled in the box. Aubameyang converted to equalize and score his 15th league goal of the season.
The rest of the half was just as messy as it began. Neither team really had any control over the game. Dortmund’s confidence was still shaky and the lack of quality wingers like Reus and Philipp was visible. Hoffenheim was a bit better but couldn’t convert their chances or made crucial mistakes.
One of those mistakes helped Dortmund score the late winner. Kagawa played a beautiful pass to Pulisic and then the young American did this:
GOAL! Christian Pulisic with a late game winner?! Beats the keeper with skill and puts it home in the 89th minute!! 2-1! #BVB #TSG #BVBTSG pic.twitter.com/6T4MQaC9V6— GolazoJuice (@GolazoJuice) December 16, 2017
What a move to secure Dortmund three crucial points and third place in the table just before the winter break.
- BVB really need their wingers back, Pulisic was good but not great and Yarmolenko wasted too many chances. The problem is that Stöger had no other options with Reus, Schürrle, Sancho, Philipp and Bruun Larsen all out injured
- Toljan has been better under Peter Stöger. He looked like a bust for the most part this season but he’s been solid the past two games
- Guerreiro needs to defend better. He was at least partly at fault for the Hoffenheim goal and he needs to cover more space on defense
- The high backline is definitely gone (thank goodness)