Donyell Malen bagged a hat-trick of assists as Borussia Dortmund secured a hard-fought 3-2 win over TSG Hoffenheim on Saturday.

Borussia Dortmund maintained their hundred percent winning record in the Bundesliga this year by churning out yet another closely fought win against TSG Hoffenheim. The 3-2 victory at the Rhein-Neckar Arena helps the Black and Yellows once again plug the gap to league leaders Bayern Munich to just three points, though the Bavarians have a game against Hertha Berlin on Sunday.

Coming on the back of a shock exit from the DFB Pokal in midweek, the pressure was on Marco Rose’s side to deliver. They did not disappoint either, capitalising on an excellent start to the game to secure a sixth-minute opener from Erling Haaland. However, Hoffenheim fought back well to put the pressure back on Dortmund.

The hosts created multiple scoring opportunities and tried to break the shackles of the opposition’s vulnerable backline. Their consistent pressure paid off when Andrej Kramaric’s excellent finish helped Hoffenheim level the scoring at the stroke of half-time.

In the second half, there was no shift in mentality in Dortmund’s game. However, a couple of smart substitutions from Rose saw the match turn on its head, with the visitors looking much more proactive after the first ten minutes. Their confident approach paid off when Marco Reus calmly converted an opportunity just before the hour mark to restore his team’s lead.

Shortly afterwards, Dortmund extended their lead through an own goal from David Raum, though there was still time for drama as Georginio Rutter pulled one back for Hoffenheim in the 77th minute. Fortunately for the visitors, their defence did just enough to hold on to the slender lead and secure three valuable points. Here at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Borussia Dortmund players in their narrow win over TSG Hoffenheim this weekend.

Gregor Kobel: 7/10

Gregor Kobel made a couple of extraordinary saves to prevent an early equaliser from Hoffenheim. His overall goalkeeping was top-notch, with the Swiss international doing well to nullify multiple crosses from the wider areas of the pitch. Unfortunately, he could not have done much to stop any of the two goals scored by Hoffenheim on the night.

Marius Wolf: 5/10

Filling in for the injured Thomas Meunier, Marius Wolf had a disappointing game on the right flank. He struggled in dealing with the presence of Georginio Rutter and David Raum, invariably becoming a weak link in the Dortmund backline. He did not offer much inspiration going forward either and was subbed off around the hour mark.

Manuel Akanji: 7.5/10

Manuel Akanji had a rather excellent game at the heart of the Dortmund backline. He was strong and firm with his challenges and notably made a goal-saving intervention to deny Kramaric his second of the game. Unfortunately, his night was cut short when he picked up a knock in the second half. Dortmund fans will hope it is not too serious, given Akanji is undisputedly the best defender at the club right now.

Mats Hummels: 6/10

It was yet another disappointing display from Mats Hummels. His lack of pace made him vulnerable against the Hoffenheim attack that boasted the raw pace of Rutter and Ihlas Bebou. The veteran’s positioning was questionable at times, leading to another nervy defensive display.

Raphael Guerreiro: 7/10

Raphael Guerreiro once again had a mixed evening in the left-back position. He was seemingly a liability in defence, failing to keep up with the likes of Bebou and Rutter. However, the Portuguese international offered real quality in the build-up, often establishing himself as a reliable creative outlet on the left-hand channel.

Mahmoud Dahoud: 7/10

Coming back into the side at the expense of Axel Witsel, Mahmoud Dahoud noticeably improved the build-up play for Borussia Dortmund. His more direct style of play aided the team as a whole. Although the German international was not as involved as he would have hoped, his presence did make the team much more efficient in possession.

Julian Brandt: 6/10

It was not the best of performances from Julian Brandt. The playmaker had a few good moments in the first half, but he was not consistent enough to truly make a difference to the proceedings. He was taken off around the hour mark.

Jude Bellingham: 7/10

Jude Bellingham was one of the few players who had some energy left even during the dying minutes of the game. The young Englishman looked energetic throughout the ninety minutes, offering aggression and fighting spirit that Dortmund had clearly needed in order to fend off the threat from a spirited Hoffenheim side.

Marco Reus: 6.5/10

Marco Reus did not have the best of games either, lacking the usual incision and consistency with his attacking play. But it was an improved display from the midweek showing against FC St. Pauli. The Dortmund captain also scored the all-important second goal, while his defensive contributions were far more prevalent than other attackers.

Erling Haaland: 7/10

Erling Haaland made an early mark on the proceedings by capitalising on Donyell Malen’s cross. The Norwegian looked more energetic on the pitch, but was not given an opportunity to extend his goalscoring tally. He also picked up a knock that forced him off in the second half.

Donyell Malen: 8/10

Donyell Malen was the undisputed Man of the Match in Borussia Dortmund’s win over TSG Hoffenheim. The new signing from PSV Eindhoven was smart with his attacking approach, utilising the spaces well and linking up brilliantly with his teammates out wide. It paid off well, with the Dutchman bagging a hat-trick of assists.

SUBSTITUTES

Thorgan Hazard: 6.5/10

Thorgan Hazard was not overly involved in the proceedings after replacing Brandt around the hour mark. But he did offer more energy to the Dortmund frontline, despite mostly operating as a wingback.

Dan-Axel Zagadou: 5.5/10

Dan-Axel Zagadou struggled to keep a leash on Bebou and Rutter after coming on for Wolf in the 56th minute. He was nowhere near solid enough on the left-hand side of the Dortmund back-three and could have conceded a goal had it not been for some shoddy finishing from the opposition.

Axel Witsel: 5/10

Axel Witsel did not offer anything to the game in the second half. He was passive and opted to resort to back-passes even in the face of a clear counter-attacking opportunity.

Marin Pongracic: N/A

A late replacement for the injured Akanji. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Youssoufa Moukoko: N/A

A late replacement for Malen. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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