For the second time in just three days, Borussia Dortmund somehow found a way to lose a game they were in control of. Individual errors are a problem, and Dortmund will have to spend winter break cutting down on them.
Hoffenheim 2-1 Borussia Dortmund, PreZero Arena
(Adamyan 79', Kramaric 87' - Götze 17')
Borussia Dortmund's festive spirit got the better of them once again leading to more questions about the mental fortitude of Lucien Favre's side. After twice letting leads slip in Tuesday's thrilling 3-3 draw with RB Leipzig, BVB were desperate to show a response. Instead, Dortmund repeated the behavior that drew criticism in midweek as they gifted all three points to a Hoffenheim side that struck twice in the final 11 minutes.
With Marco Reus out injured, Mario Götze was drafted into the BVB starting line-up and the World Cup winner rewarded Favre's faith by opening the scoring just past the quarter hour mark. With Hoffenheim struggling to carve out goalscoring opportunities, aside from Robert Skov rattling the woodwork, Dortmund appeared to be in complete control.
That all changed after the restart as both sides made changes at halftime. While Hoffenheim's Sargis Adamyan stole the show off the bench, Dortmund substitutes Lukasz Piszczek and Jacob Brunn Larsen failed to make an impact. As Dortmund's performance levels dropped, Hoffenheim grew into the game. Adamyan leveled the scores, before providing the cross that was headed home by Andrej Kramaric for the win.
At risk of being outside the top four at the turn of the year, questions are again being asked about the mentality of Favre's charges after another head-scratching drop off cost BVB points.
The individual errors from Roman Bürki and Julian Brandt against RB Leipzig were perhaps more obvious than tonight, but Dortmund's collective inability to clear the ball for Hoffenheim's equalizer was equally as glaring. Kramaric's winner came from a cross that Manuel Akanji judged poorly. It was an all-too familiar tale for Dortmund, as the week and the first half of the season ended with five dropped points rather than six gained.
"We played well and had our chances, but didn't convert them," Favre said after the game. "It was poor of us to give this game away. Some of our chances to make it 2-0 or 3-0 were so easy to put away. We shoot when we should pass and the other way around, it's dumb."
The inquest will continue throughout the winter break, but Dortmund's final flourish in 2019 will leave many wondering why they spent most of the festive period giving out more gifts than Santa Claus.
As it happened:
Hoffenheim forward, Sargis Adamyan: "Dortmund are an incredible team with incredible players. At half-time we knew we had more in us and we were able to show that in the second half."
Dortmund forward, Julian Brandt: "It's not going to killl us, but it's tough to accept. We played well and somehow let this game slip through our hands. When you lead 1-0 there's always an element of risk as you push to double your lead. We should have scored more and cut out the mistakes we made."
FULL TIME VERDICT: Hoffenheim are in dreamland as they bolster their standing in the battle for European qualification, but the inquest will go long into the night for Dortmund. After gifting Leipzig two goals in midweek, they've gifted Hoffenheim all three points tonight. They've got more presents in their sleigh than Santa!
96' - The corner comes to nothing. The game is over as Hoffenheim clinch a come-from-behind 2-1 win.
95' - Bürki is up for the final corner!
93' - This is the first time Dortmund have let a lead slip since the Revierderby defeat to Schalke.
91' - Dortmund are throwing everything forward, but look spent.
90' - Five minutes of time have been added on at the end of the 90.
87' - GOAL! Hoffenheim 2-1 Dortmund (Kramaric)
Adamyan flits in behind Dortmund's backline to whip in a cross which is met by Kramaric, who guides a fantastic aerial effort into the far corner. How have Dortmund let this one get away from them? Video Assist has conducted a check. The goal stands.
85' - Nico Schulz against his former club has flattered to deceive once again in Dortmund colors. The left-back bursts into the box, but slashes his effort well wide with his weaker right foot.
84' - Fun fact! Borussia dortmund's last seven Matchday 17 fixtures have all ended in a 2-1 scoreline, not always in BVB's favor. They have won the last three.
81' - Adamyan is proving to be a player for the big moments. The summer signing from Jahn Regensburg scored twice against Bayern on Matchday 7 and has now scored against Dortmund to potentially rescue a share of the spoils.
79' - GOAL! Hoffenheim 1-1 Dortmund (Adamyan)
Hoffenheim's half-time substitute has done it! Dortmund were inviting pressure and the hosts have punished them for it. Locadia's initial effort was well blocked by Bürki, but when the ball squirmed loose to Adamyan he somehow found the angle to place the ball through the bodies in the box.
SNAPSHOT FROM SINSHEIM
73' - As things stand Dortmund will close the gap on the top two of Leipzig and Gladbach to just a single point with both of those sides in action tomorrow. They are, however, guaranteed to be in the top four come Christmas if they hold onto three points.
70' - This hasn't the the barnstorming affair we've come to expect from games between Hoffenheim and Dortmund in recent seasons. For the most part, both have cancelled each other with misplaced passes littering the build-up.
68' - It's Dortmund's turn to start dropping deep and Hoffenheim, as they look to generate pressure, will have to be wary of Borussia breaking at pace.
63' - Hoffenheim aren't doing enough to make life difficult for Dortmund at the back or up front. They've had 58% possession since the break, but given how little pace their injecting into the game, Dortmund are reading the danger levels well.
60' - WHAT A CHALLENGE! Sancho weaves his way int he Hoffenheim and goes down in the box. Dortmund fans want a penalty, but replays show that Hübner's slide was perfectly timed as he got the ball cleanly before making contact with Sancho. A world class tackle.
SNAPSHOT FROM SINSHEIM
55' - Hakimi bursts to the byline, but instead of getting his head up to pick out a teammate, drills a low delivery that evades everyone in the box.
54' - Hoffenheim have come from behind to win twice the season against Bremen and Köln. Tonight is a different challenge and we're not seeing much fight back from the hosts.
50' - CHANCE! Dortmund work it well in tight spaces as Sancho finds Brandt, who skips past the lunging legs to stings the palms of Baumann.
48' - Akanji can't believe it, and it does look a little harsh, but his coming together with Bebou has given Hoffenheim a free kick from the right, 10 yards or so from the right-hand side of the box. Geiger to send it, but it's cleared by Piszczek.
We're back underway in Matchday 17's curtain raiser and both sides have made changes at the break. Adamyan is on in place of Samassekou for Hoffenheim, meanwhile Dortmund have brought on Piszczek and Brunn Larsen for Hummels and Hazard.
It's a narrow lead, but having invested more into the game and posed a greater threat in the first half, Dortmund are deserving of being ahead at the break. Hoffenheim need to up the ante after the break if they want to take anything from this game, while BVB will be intent of avoiding a re-run of the horror start to the second half against Leipzig.
45' - Corner for Dortmund is taken short and whipped in by Hakimi. With the ball pinging around the box it eventually falls to Götze who tires to curl one into the far corner only to see his shot blocked behind for another corner which comes to nothing.
42' - The pace in proceedings is waning as we approach half-time.
38' - With Hoffenheim dropping deep and backing off, Hazard accepts the invitation to chance his arm from range as he forces Baumann to tip his effort behind for a corner.
35' - Brandt plays the ball around the corner for Hakimi to run onto in the Hoffenheim box. It's weighted well, but the Moroccan can't steer his effort past the onrushing Baumann.
34' - Ihlas Bebou has had just four touches of the ball so far.
33' - The difference maker...
30' - Hoffenheim have had four shots to Dortmund's three so far, but three of the hosts efforts have come from outside the box. BVB are snuffing out the danger well so far.
28' - Skov's stunning set piece was as close as Hoffenheim have come, but the hosts are struggling to assert themselves. Dortmund have had 57% possessions and won 55% of the challenges so far.
26' - WOODWORK! Hoffenheim go within a few inches of an equaliser as Robert Skov's free-kick from 30 yards dips and whips towards goal only to come crashing back off the bar with Roman Bürki rooted to the spot.
SNAPSHOT FROM SINSHEIM
22' - In his first start since Dortmund's loss in Der Klassiker, Mario Götze has made the desired impact. Tonight's opener is the first time he's scored on foreign soil in the Bundesliga a 4-0 win against Freiburg in April. His last four goals before tonight all came at the Signal Iduna Park.
20' - Sancho break the offside trap, but with the angles against him fails to test Baumann or find a teammate with a teasing delivery from the left.
17' - GOAL! Hoffenheim 0-1 Dortmund (Götze)
A cheeky one-two with Hazard allows Hakimi to break in behind and, this time, he finds Götze, who turned the cross goalwards. Rudy did his best to prevent the effort crossing the line, but both his momentum and that of the ball worked against him as it trickles over the line. Dortmund lead!
16' - Hummels registers the first shot of the game as he gets on the end of Hazard's corner, but looks to have hurt his wrist.
15' - Quarter of an hour played and we're still waiting on the first shot on goal.
13' - Hoffenheim are holding their own and starting to have some promising spells of possession. The final ball is lacking though.
10' - Agonisingly close for Dortmund. Lovely play sets Achraf Hkimi away on the right wing. He only has Götze to aim for in the box, but provides a devilish delivery into the box which just needed a touch. Götze was unable to provide it though as the cross flashes across the face of goal and to safety.
8' - Mats Hummels makes an important interception at the back as the hosts look to break in behind. He's captaining Dortmund for only the second time this season - the last time he wore the armband BVB lost 4-0 to Bayern.
6' - Sebastian Rudy is starting at right-back for the first time in three years since a 1-1 draw with Darmstadt in September of 2016.
5' - Brilliant challenge from Benjamin Hübner to pick the ball of the toes of Thorgan Hazard as Dortmund break into the Hoffenheim box for the first time. Hoffenheim are keeping it at the back with a four-man backline - Hübner the only recognised defender amongst them.
3' - Both sides are feeling each other out in the opening exchanges as we wait in the first shot of the game. Dortmund are enjoying more of the ball, but for the most part the two teams are cancelling each other out.
We're underway in the opening game of Matchday 17, the final set of games before the Bundesliga goes into winter hibernation. Will Hoffenheim or Dortmund plunder more points?
Shy in front of goal
Hoffenheim have scored just 23 goals this season. They’ve only been worse off after 16 Bundesliga games on 3 occasions: 16 in 2011/12, 17 in 2015/16 and 22 in 2012/13.
Jadon Sancho has recovered from a knock in time to feature from the off. The Englishman has scored in seven consecutive matches in all competitions for the first time in his professional career (8 goals, plus 5 assists). The last Dortmund player to go on such a scoring run within a single season was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from February to April 2017.
Friday night lights
Dortmund have lost just one of their last eight matches on a Friday evening (W4, D3): 2-1 away to Augsburg on MD24 of 2018/19.
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS: HOFFENHEIM
Baumann - Nordtveit, Grillitsch, Hübner - Rudy, Geiger, Samassekou, Skov - Baumgartner - Kramaric, Bebou
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS: DORTMUND
Bürki - Akanji, Hummels, Zagadou - Hakimi, Weigl, Brandt, Guerreiro - Sancho, Götze, Hazard.
BVB singing from the same song sheet
The interviews may be in German, but it's still worth checking out the Christmas celebrations witnessed in Dortmund.
Fun fact: Goals guaranteed?
Hoffenheim have scored in all of their home games against Dortmund since winning promotion to the Bundesliga in 2008 (11 games) – their longest scoring streak in the BL against any side.
Pre-match chatter: Alfred Schreuder
"I was very happy for the boys [after the win over Union]. They really fought hard and deserved to win. Tomorrow we need to have courage and be stable in defence. Dortmund possess brutal quality and a lot of pace. My wishes for the rest of the season are for the squad to keep developing and for the team spirit to strengthen. That will make our future look bright."
Pre-match chatter: Peter Bosz
“Everyone makes mistakes. We have to accept the game against Leipzig and look ahead and think positively. We played very well, our mistakes just need to be corrected. Hoffenheim are very difficult to make heads or tails off. They were on a really good run of form in terms of their results, and then they ended up losing. They are capable of posing a real threat. We respect them - nothing more."
What a glorious chirstmas jumper!
Team news: Hoffenheim
With no fresh injury concerns to contend with, head coach Alfred Schreuder is expected to switch to a three-man backline for the visit of Dortmund. Samassekou could make way for either Geiger or Adamyan to provide an more attacking pivot in behind the front two.
Possible line-up: Baumann - Posch, Vogt, Hübner - Kaderabek, Grillitsch, Rudy, Skov - Samassekou - Bebou, Kramaric
Team news: Dortmund
Marco Reus (torn muscle fibres) was ruled out by BVB boss Lucien Favre, who also admitted that Jadon Sancho's inclusion against Hoffenheim was in doubt due to a thigh injury. As a result, Paco Alcacer and Mario Götze are vying for the lone striker's role.
Possible line-up: Bürki - Akanji, Hummels, Zagadou - Hakimi, Weigl, Brandt, Guerreiro - Hazard, Götze, Sancho
The curtain raiser
Hello, and welcome to DW's live blog of the last Friday night game before the Bundesliga takes almost a month off. Lucky Bundesliga.
Three league wins in a row before RB Leipzig's visit on Tuesday looked to have steadied the good ship BVB but a chaotic stint early in the second half meant Dortmund's excellent first half showing against the league leaders only earned them a point. That is exactly what the gap between RB and Dortmund will be if Lucien Favre's men pick up three points tonight, with Leipzig, Bayern Munich and Borussia Mönchengladbach all playing on Saturday.
Hoffenheim had hit a worrying run of form of their own, with just one point from four, before an impressive 2-0 away win at Union Berlin on Tuesday. There'll be plenty of time to think on this one whichever way it goes.