Ref Ruins The Show as Borussia Dortmund Draw Hoffenheim

In an incredibly entertaining match of football, Borussia Dortmund and 1899 Hoffenheim cancelled each other out in a 2-2 draw as this weekend in the German Bundesliga looks set to be another fiery one. Unfortunately, one of the main headlines of the match was the poor refereeing performance of German referee Benjamin Brand. The referee was conned by Hoffenheim midfielder Nadiem Amiri early on and foolishly sent off Dortmund superstar Marco Reus for a foul that should have gone the other way.

Coming into this match Hoffenheim were looking to extend their unbeaten run to 15 matches in the league and started the game off tremendously brightly when Mark Uth broke free of Dortmund’s defense after Benjain Hubner’s long ball forward, rounded Roman Weidenfeller and placed the ball into the back of the net. Roman Weidenfeller has been incredibly bad for Dortmund since returning to the side in Roman Burki’s sad absence in goal and unfortunately the former BVB captain was one of the main reasons why Dortmund could not claim all three points on Friday night.

Luckily for Dortmund it wasn’t too much longer until they got a goal back, courtesy of an insane Hatem Ben Arfa-styled run in which Ousmane Dembele raced past several defenders before finding an open Mario Gotze at the top of the box. The German midfielder then slotted in his first Bundesliga goal since returning to Dortmund with a fine right footed finish into the bottom corner.

Disaster struck for Dortmund soon after that goal however as a corner kick for the men in blue found the head of Benjamin Hubner who headed it goal-wards. Before the ball could find its way into the arms of Weidenfeller, Sandro Wagner gave it a slight nudge tipping it over the hands of the very poor goalkeeper. Sandro Wagner has recently claimed that he is the best German striker in the Bundesliga and with 8 goals in 15 matches so far it is beginning to get hard to argue with him. Very soon if he continues this kind of form, the Hoffenheim forward may earn himself a call-up to the German National Team.

Thirteen minutes after Wagner’s goal and as if things couldn’t get any worse for Borussia Dortmund, Marco Reus was wrongly sent off by the referee. The German winger first picked up a yellow card in the 9th minute for a foul that should never have been a card and was just a late foul with no intent. But then as Nadiem Amiri surged forward with the ball in the 40th minute, the midfielder was clearly aware of Reus’ earlier booking and as he carried the ball forward he decided to grab hold of Marco Reus’ arm and shirt before falling to the ground. As if he was some kind of skydiver, Nadiem Amiri decided to use Marco Reus as a parachute as he was falling to the ground and the referee fell for it, giving Reus his second yellow card and sending him off. This was Reus’ first ever red card in the Bundesliga. Why? Because Reus isn’t the type of player to make needless fouls or ever have any intent to injure anyone. His aggression rating on EA Sport’s FIFA Soccer should be around a 20. But somehow the referee was conned by Amiri’s act and in what wasn’t his first mistake of the night, Reus was shown red.

Shortly after half-time Dortmund’s persistence going forward earned them a second goal of the night as Ousmane Dembele again broke free of several Hoffenheim defenders and played in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with the perfect throughball. It was then all up to Aubameyang to do and as he has been all season, the Gabonian striker was as cool as you’d like in front of goal, rounding the goalkeeper and then placing it into the empty net to restore Dortmund back on level terms.

Dortmund would dominate the rest of the game without generating a good opportunity to find a third goal and with the pressure on Hoffenheim to maintain their unbeaten run Die Kraichgauer earned their 9th draw of the season. But the end of the match wasn’t short on controversy and entertainment either as late on in the game, Benjamin Brand made another mistake when Jeremy Toljan went down in the box for Hoffenhim. The German midfielder clearly dove to the ground like his compatriot Amiri from earlier and should have been shown a yellow card for such a ridiculous dive. Luckily enough the referee spotted the dive and decided not to award a penalty kick. Hoffenheim also had a massive chance to score late on but Andrej Kramaric’s effort was unfortunately for them straight into the goalkeeper’s arms.

Although the ridiculous red card and Dortmund now going a third game in a row in all competitions without a win, there were still plenty of bright spots for Thomas Tuchel’s men. Mario Gotze scored his first goal since returning to the side and if he can find top form again could be a very important player for the future. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also found his 16th goal of the season and is now tied with Edinson Cavani for most goals scored this season in all of Europe. Beyond Gotze and Aubameyang, the major bright spot for Borussia Dortmund was that of teenage sensation Ousmane Dembele who was in inspired form against Die Kraichgauer. 1899 Hoffenheim could not stop him no matter what they tried and the 19-year old midfielder was absolutely unplayable. The Dortmund man looked like Lionel Messi out on the pitch tonight, full of energy and running power and assisting two goals with two magical runs and passes. He was majestic in possession of the ball, dancing around the defenders, gliding by them with his raw pace and power and pulling out all kinds of tricks with his fantastic skill on the ball. Nearly every single chance that Dortmund created in the match was as a direct result from the French winger getting the ball at his feet, racing past defenders and then delivering a wonderful ball into the box. In fact both of Dortmund’s goals were assisted by the Frenchman after he darted his way around several Hoffenheim defenders and found a teammate. The only time Hoffenheim could ever stop Dembele in the match was when his own trickery fooled himself (which hey it happens to the best of us) or Hoffenheim’s defenders kicked him or body-slammed to the ground. After several fouls on the man, some called, some completely disregarded by the referee, Ousmane Dembele had to be stretchered off the field in what was arguably his best Bundesliga match of the season. So with their best performer on the night and their star man both off the field, Bourssia Dortmund’s chances of getting back into the match had sadly disappeared. Without support, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would also find it tremendously difficult to find the back of the net and with Mario Gotze going completely missing towards the end of the match, it was only a matter of time before Thomas Tuchel’s men had to sit back and hold out for a draw against the rambunctiously physical Hoffenheim.

Marco Reus’ red card will sadly probably not be rescinded and if Thomas Tuchel can’t find a win next game it’ll be his longest winless run ever as Dortmund manager.

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