Borussia Dortmund met high-flying Hoffenheim in a huge game for both sides. It ended 2-2 as Dembele inspired a Dortmund fightback, but they face an anxious wait on a serious looking injury to the Frenchman.
Hoffenheim 2-2 Borussia Dortmund
(Uth 3, Wagner 20 - Götze 11, Aubameyang 48)
After a performance like this, Borussia Dortmund should really consider writing a release clause into Ousmane Dembele's contract.
The French sensation, still only 19, produced arguably his best performance since joining the Bundesliga club from Rennes in the summer, and the strongest evidence yet that he is one of the world's most exciting talents in the making.
He chipped in with two assists – one for Mario Götze to score his first Bundesliga goal since rejoining Dortmund – and another for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with a perfectly weighted pass that allowed the striker to caress the ball over Baumann.
It wasn't just those key contributions that set him apart under the lights on a cold night at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena. His mesmeric runs and positivity is key to Thomas Tuchel's attacking philosophy, and there were times when Hoffenheim were reticent to tackle him. It was a genuine shame to see Dembele stretchered off in the second half with an injury that Dortmund will be desperately hoping is less serious than it looked.
Dembele needed to step up, with Marco Reus sent off late in the first half for two bookable offences, in what was just his fourth Bundesliga appearance of the season. Reus' perplexing moment of madness will be of concern to Tuchel, who regards him as one of his wise heads – fortunately for the coach, Dembele bailed them out with a majestic display on a night when defeat would have been hugely damaging to Dortmund's hopes of staying in touch with the leaders.
But Hoffenheim started much the stronger and raised the roof inside three minutes when Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller found himself in no man's land and Mark Uth calmly rolled the ball into the empty net.
Hoffenheim's lead lasted only eight minutes when Dembele found Götze who finally scored his first Bundesliga goal since returning to Dortmund, slotting in from just inside the box.
Dortmund were on top at this point but couldn't build on it as Hoffenheim re-established their lead through Sandro Wagner, whose quick reactions allowed him to flick the ball in with his head from close range.
But Dortmund, led by Dembele, came out strongly at the start of the second half and the Frenchman slotted the ball through for Aubamayeng, whose finish to make it 2-2 was of the highest quality.
While a victory is what Tuchel's men really craved to move back into the rear view mirror of Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig, a draw against a Hoffenheim side that are still unbeaten this season is far from a bad result.