One week before the Champions League final, head coach Jürgen Klopp wasn’t going easy on his players or relegation-threatened opponents when he named a strong starting lineup for the final game of the season.
The visitors could have been forgiven on 6 minutes for thinking it was not going to be their day when Robert Lewandowski scored from close range to give Dortmund the lead.
Finishing runners-up this season after back-to-back title campaigns, Klopp’s side pushed for a second and came close to finding it when İlkay Gündoğan’s long range effort was goal bound for an outstretched Koen Casteels to tip it onto the post.
The goalkeeper was kept busy all afternoon, but at the other end Sejad Salihovic must have kicked himself for missing a one-on-one that he fired straight at Roman Weidenfeller. The Bosnian would have an opportunity to make amends in the second half.
With 15 minutes remaining, 1899 Hoffenheim were heading out of the Bundesliga, 2 points and 8 goals worse off than Fortuna Düsseldorf above them.
A clumsy tackle from Mats Hummels on Kevin Volland gifted a much needed penalty for Hoffenehim. Salihovic kept his nerve and blasted home into the top corner.
5 minutes later, substitute Sven Schipplock raced through on goal before being hauled down by goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller. Weidenfeller was shown a straight red and with all substitutes used, Kevin Großkreutz volunteered to go between the sticks.
Salihovic smased his penalty down the middle as Großkreutz ran out of the way. Hoffenheim had their 2-1 lead.
3 minutes into the allocated 4 minutes of stoppage time and Borussia Dortmund through they’d found their relegation-confirming equaliser. Marcel Schmelzer smashed home from long range after the opposition failed to properly clear a corner. After confirming with his assistant, the referee disallowed the goal for Robert Lewandowski interfering with play. Replays showed the Polish striker was standing offside as he attempted to make connection with Schmelzer’s shot.
1899 Hoffenheim have given themselves a lifeline by finishing third from bottom and booking a two-legged playoff with 1. FC Kaiserslautern for the rights to play Bundesliga football next season. The loser over two legs will play in the second tier with the likes of Karlsruhe and Arminia Bielefeld who are coming up from the third.