Hoffenheim 1-3 Borussia Dortmund: Champions return to winning ways

The Schwarzgelben have ended 2012 in fine fashion, with goals from Mario Gotze, Kevin Grosskreutz and Robert Lewandowski helping them to secure a rare Rhein Neckar Arena victory
Borussia Dortmund eased to a 3-1 victory over Hoffenheim at the Rhein Neckar Arena in their final Bundesliga game of 2012.

The German champions took the lead through Mario Gotze, and although they were soon pegged back by Sven Schipplock, Kevin Grosskreutz and Robert Lewandowski found the net in the second half to ensure victory.

The match started fairly slowly, but out of the two sides, it was BVB who started slightly stronger, with the ball almost falling to Moritz Leitner after a tussle in the box, but Koen Casteels got down well to save.

Soon after, Gotze skipped inside from the left wing, dodging a string of tackles, but his eventual shot was blocked well by the stand-in keeper.

Just before the 20-minute mark, Hoffenheim were presented with an excellent opportunity to break the deadlock. A set-piece was swung in from the left wing, and Marvin Compper beat Roman Weidenfeller to the ball, only to head over from a matter of yards.

Soon enough though, BVB showed their class show, with Gotze once again dribbling inside from the left wing, and letting fly with an excellent shot which flew past Casteels and into the top-right corner of the net.

Seconds later, Dortmund had an excellent opportunity to effectively kill the game off, with Marco Reus dribbiling inside the box and prodding the ball to Lewandowski, who tried to nudge it home, but Casteels got out well to make a close-range block.

The match had opened up at long last, and Hoffenheim had chances of their own to grab a quick-fire equaliser. Kevin Volland skipped down the left, and crossed towards Sven Schipplock, but the ball narrowly evaded the striker and took a disastrous touch off Kuba Blaszczykowski, who recovered in time to clear before it cost him.

Eventually, though, they got their equaliser. A high ball came into the box which Weidenfeller came to claim, but a deft Volland touch presented Schipplock with a tap-in.

On the stroke of half-time, Leitner sent his shot goalwards, but once again, Casteels was there to make the save.

The young goalkeeper started the second half in much the same form, making fantastic saves to deny Reus from close range after a lovely Hummels through ball, and then from the defender himself, who had taken a fantastic shot from 20 yards.

Eventually, though, his resistance was broken. Leitner threaded a lovely ball through the defence to Reus, who selflessly gave it to Grosskreutz, who finally netted his first goal of the season from a matter of feet.

The onus was on BVB to take control of the clash and wrap up the win at this point, but Lewanowski missed a fantastic opportunity to make it 3-1, heading Reus' free kick wide.

Soon enough, though, Lewandowski made the most of one of his opportunities, taking a through-ball into his path, rounding the keeper and flicking into the top corner from a narrow angle.

The champions were still affording their opponents too much space in their own half however, and the hosts soon had a great chance to halve the deficit, with Tobias Weis heading wide from a matter of yards after a fortuitous deflection.

Hummels almost grabbed a fourth with a header after a Reus corner with a little over 10 minutes to go, but it was of little consequence. BVB had done more than enough, and now rise to third, while Hoffenheim remain in the bottom three, seven points adrift of Wolfsburg.