1899 topple table toppers!

Thanks to a much-improved performance and a level of courage that has been missing in recent weeks, 1899 Hoffenheim were able to return to winning ways against Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund. A single goal was enough to win it, despite numerous chances at either end, with Vedad Ibisevic dispatching his effort just after the hour mark to win the match 1-0. It's a huge result for the Kraichgau outfit who have been struggling for form of late.

Following the disappointing defeat to Borussia Mönchengladbach, Marco Pezzaiuoli made wholesale changes to his team forsaking their standard 4-3-3 formation for a makeshift 4-1-4-1. It saw Vedad Ibisevic return to the starting line-up in place of Gylfi Sigurdsson, which shifted Ryan Babel to the right of a four-man midfield, alongside Salihovic, Alaba and Vukcevic, while Rudy slotted into the defensive midfield role. Elsewhere, Isaac Vorsah reclaimed his starting spot in place of Matthias Jaissle having recovered from injury. On the other hand, Pezzaiuoli's counterpart, Jürgen Klopp, opted not to make any changes to the side that beat 1. FC Köln 1-0 last weekend as he kept faith with the same starting eleven, while Mohamed Zidan returned to the bench.

Matthias Jaissle put it perfectly in the pre-match press conference when he said: "We've got absolutely nothing to lose." The opening exchanges were a feeling out process for both teams, with Dortmund doing what they could to control the match and it was the away side who had the first chance inside ten minutes. A short free kick found Nuri Sahin on the right who cross, which caused confusion at the back for Hoffenheim before eventually falling to Felip Santana, who was so surprised that he couldn't control the chance. Moments later and 1899 had their first chance when Andreas Beck whipped in a ball that found Alaba unmarked in the box; unfortunately the Austrian's header flew just over the crossbar. The Bosnian connection then found a way in behind Dortmund's defence, but Ibisevic was ruled offside when he met Salihovic's ball into the box. It was clear that the highly regarded BVB attacking line was struggling to break down the 1899 defence who were playing with a deep backline, while the home side looked to attack on the counter at every opportunity. The Sinsheim side were giving away their fair share of fouls, but despite looking dangerous Dortmund couldn't use the set-pieces to their full potential. Sahin attempted to hit a direct effort, but was only frustrated further as it flew over the bar.

Dortmund continued to dictate the play, but goalscoring chances were few and far between. Hoffenheim were defending valiantly, but kept giving the ball away in dangerous positions to keep the under pressure. They were fortunate that BVB weren't more clinical in front of goal, but just after the half hour mark were almost caught out when Schmelzer got down the left before cutting the ball back to a waiting Mario Götze. Luckily for 1899 Edson Braafheid was on hand to put in the last-ditch tackle, but the chance inspired Dortmund who really should have taken the lead just before half time. Robert Lewandowski fluffed the best chance of the half, though, when the ball found him unmarked six yards out, sending the teams in at half time after a stalemate in the first 45 minutes.

After the break 1899 were demonstrating more courage going forward in search of the opening goal, while Dortmund looked dangerous in possession and almost got the breakthrough themselves just before the hour mark. Schmelzer had the ball played to feet before shifting it onto his left-foot for the shot, which had Starke at full stretch to keep it from crossing the line. The league leaders looked like they were in control of the match, but the breakthrough finally came moments later with Hoffenheim catching Dortmund on the counter attack after a one-two between Ibisevic and the advancing Beck. The captain's return pass was perfectly weighted and the Bosnian striker had the simplest of tasks sending Weidenfeller the wrong way and slotting home right-footed for 1-0. Despite dominating possession after the goal, the impetus in Dortmund's attacking intent gradually diminished as the match became more and more disjointed due to the physical nature of the encounter. Subotic was given a chance for a response, but failed to direct a Götze corner on target.

1899 were holding firm as the league leaders kept trying to build their play down the flanks, but their passes were becoming increasingly inaccurate, with the Hoffenheim players snapping at their heels. In the latter stages Ibisevic had several chances to add a second to his tally, firstly latching onto the end of Salihovic's free-kick, before rising highest to meet a corner, unfortunately neither header tested Weidenfeller. Then with time winding down, the Bosnian hit a stunning strike from roughly 30 yards, which had Weidenfeller beaten all ends up, only to come crashing back off the crossbar, much to the disappointment of the home fans. The missed chances almost cost the home side when, with seconds remaining in the match, a goalmouth scramble saw the ball fall to Barrios. Starke was off his line quickly, though, to make sure 1899 weren't on the receiving end of yet another late goal against Dortmund with what would have virtually been the last kick of the game.

The victory sees Hoffenheim return to winning ways with a resounding performance to banish the embarrassment of last weekend and move them within 4-points of the legendary 40-point mark.


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