February 9, 2019 / 5:16 PM / 10 months ago

Dortmund lose three-goal lead to draw with Hoffenheim

BERLIN (Reuters) - Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund inexplicably surrendered a three-goal lead in the second half to draw 3-3 against Hoffenheim on Saturday as their advantage at the top was cut to five points.

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Borussia Dortmund v TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany - February 9, 2019 Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho and Lukasz Piszczek look dejected at the end of the match REUTERS/Leon Kuegeler

The leaders have only themselves to blame for the draw ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League last-16, first leg against Tottenham Hotspur in London, allowing Bayern Munich to move to within five points of them in the Bundesliga standings.

Jadon Sancho, in the absence of Dortmund captain Marco Reus, took control for the hosts in the first half, firing them ahead and slicing through the hapless Hoffenheim defence at will.

The England international set up Mario Goetze for Dortmund’s second goal before combining with Goetze to set up Raphael Guerreiro for an easy tap-in in the 66th minute.

Sancho almost got a second goal in the 75th but his low shot hit the post and bounced clear before the hosts stepped off the gas, allowing Ishak Belfodil to cut the deficit in the 75th.

Pavel Kaderabek rose above his marker to head in with seven minutes left and set up a nervous finale.

The visitors’ memorable comeback was completed when Belfodil headed in a free kick in three minutes from time.

“It was very bitter after a very good first half with Sancho playing an outstanding game,” said Dortmund assistant Edin Terzic, standing in for head coach Lucien Favre at the news conference after the Swiss missed the game due to flu.

“We lost possession far too often in the second half.”

Goetze said they made far too many mistakes, especially after such a dominant first hour.

“When you lead 3-0 at home and then you play a 3-3 then it obviously is extremely bitter,” Goetze told reporters.

“That should never have happened. Especially after such a performance for large parts of the game and after a strong first half.”

Dortmund are top on 50 points with champions Bayern in second place on 45 after beating Schalke 04 3-1. Borussia Moenchengladbach dropped to third place on 42 after their 3-0 loss to Hertha Berlin.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Ed Osmond

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