Borussia Dortmund lost both ground in the Bundesliga race and one of its most important players in a disastrous 2-2 draw with Hoffenheim.
The club gained just a point, forced to fight back twice after Marco Reus was sent off by the card-happy referee just four minutes before halftime. They failed to take advantage of the upcoming fixture between RB Leipzig and Hertha Berlin, with one of the clubs above them guaranteed to drop points.
A win would have sent the team clear into third ahead of the weekend’s round of fixtures, but instead they can only muster fifth on goal differential, and could end up right back in sixth at the conclusion of the weekend with an even larger disadvantage.
The two points may not be the most important loss, however. Past the hour mark, playmaker Ousmane Dembele was clearly struggling with an injury. Having bossed the game, Dembele was eventually stretchered off in the 69th minute, replaced by fellow youngster Emre Mor. With the 19-year-old Frenchman keeping Dortmund in the game despite the man disadvantage, the loss is a huge blow moving forward.
Before his departure, Dembele had assisted both Dortmund goals, completed a whopping six take-ons, and created two more chances. The youngster’s influence was clear, as his departure immediately swung the game in Hoffenheim’s favor, and they looked the more likely team to snatch a win down the stretch up a man.
Depending on Dembele’s length of absence, it could mean more playing time for both Mor and American winger Christian Pulisic. Manager Thomas Tuchel has used less of Pulisic recently, although he started the Hoffenheim match on the wing and completed the full 90 minutes.
Hoffenheim, meanwhile, remains unbeaten on the year with its whopping ninth draw in league play.