Borussia Dortmund will spend the night atop the Bundesliga table for the first time since the penultimate round of last season, winning 3-1 at Hoffenheim on Friday despite finishing with 10 men.
Taking the lead early through Niclas Fuellkrug’s first goal for the club, Dortmund conceded almost immediately, Mats Hummels giving away a clumsy penalty to allow Andrej Kramaric to equalise from the spot.
Marco Reus scored with a spectacular, acrobatic attempt to edge Dortmund ahead again in first half injury time, the former captain’s third goal in three games.
With Dortmund withstanding waves of Hoffenheim attacks, wing-back Ramy Bensebaini picked up two yellow cards in four second-half minutes and was sent off.
Defender Julian Ryerson added the third goal, scoring on the counter in the fifth minute of injury time.
“It was an important win for us” said Dortmund coach Edin Terzic, “but there’s room to improve.”
“After the red card it was another game. We showed another side of ourselves, we showed we wanted to defend the victory.”
Captain Gregor Kobel said the win “wasn’t as dominant as we wanted” but credited his teammates for doing “those small things, which maybe aren’t so spectacular” to secure the win.
Despite an unbeaten start to the league, Dortmund came into the match under pressure, with Terzic’s side failing to impress.
Hoffenheim defender John Brooks gifted Dortmund the early lead, allowing the ball to slip to on-rushing Julian Brandt, who let the ball roll into the path of Fuellkrug, the striker blasting home.
With Dortmund comfortable and in control, it was their turn to invite the opposition into the game, Hummels bringing down Anton Stach on the edge of the box.
Having awarded a free kick, the referee then pointed to the spot on VAR review, before Kramaric sent Kobel the wrong way to level the scores.
With the first half winding down, Dortmund retook the lead through a piece of individual brilliance, Malen barrelling his way down the right flank and laying on a cross for Reus to score.
Fearing a first loss of the season Hoffenheim roared out of the blocks and looked certain to equalise early in the second half, Grischa Proemel forcing a desperate close-range save from Kobel just before Robert Skov’s free kick rattled the bar.
Disjointed but holding on, Bensebaini handed his coach another challenge, picking up two yellow cards in four minutes — the second for kicking the ball away in frustration — reducing his side to ten men.
Terzic made all of his five changes as the clock wound down and Ryerson celebrated his 100th Bundesliga match, scoring on the counter to deliver the visitors to the top of the table.
On Saturday, German Cup holders RB Leipzig host champions Bayern in the match of the round, with both sides having a chance to leapfrog Dortmund with victory.
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