Eurovision grips Hoffenheim and Borussia Dortmund with promise of spectacular end-of-season contest
Forget Lisbon, Eurovision fever has descended on Sinsheim where Hoffenheim will host Borussia Dortmund in an end of season date that could decide the European fates of two teams determined to hit all the right notes.
Israel, Estonia, Norway and Cyprus are among the favourites to gather a gaggle of douze points in Saturday night’s song contest in Portugal, but trying to pick a winner when fourth host third in the Bundesliga might be a bet too far. Julian Nagelsmann’s hosts haven’t been in tune against Die Schwarzgelben of late, Dortmund boasting a ten match unbeaten run against Saturday’s opponents.
Watch: The moment Pulisic broke Hoffenheim hearts on Matchday 17.
However, Hoffenheim have the chance to overhaul their rivals to attain what would be a highest ever third-place finish, an enticing proposition that necessitates victory by at least a two-goal margin.
Borussia are in the box seat, their three point advantage telling. Yet coach Peter Stöger must muster a favourable song from the fat lady, for until then, it ain’t over. A rousing ditty to the tune of the UEFA Champions League theme would suffice, a repeat result to that of the corresponding fixture between these teams a welcome return. Then, Christian Pulisic produced an 89th minute winner to gift Stöger his first home win in charge at the Westfalenstadion, Hoffenheim’s hearts broken to the tune of a 2-1 loss.
Watch: How will Nagelsmann get the better of BVB in the Championos League decider on MD34?
With the chorus craving a slip-up by those ahead of them – Bayer Leverkusen, RB Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt all salivating at the thought of nipping into the top four at the death – surely the focus will be firmly on winning for both sides at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena on Saturday afternoon. And with that in mind, we are surely set for a spectacle more mesmerising than any musical extravaganza could manage.
Don’t believe us? Then how about this: in the last 21 meetings between Hoffenheim and Dortmund, there have been eight penalties and seven red cards. Even Marco Reus got sent off in this fixture last season, something that never happened before.
Hoffenheim’s last home win against BVB was riddled with drama, the home team triumphing by 2-1 on the last day of the season in May 2013 to avoid automatic relegation. The Sinsheimers subsequently saved their Bundesliga status by winning the relegation play-off that year.
Not that you’d catch Die Kraichgauer anywhere near the relegation zone under Nagelsmann these days. That said, among the young tactician’s Greatest Bundesliga Hits, there is only one notable absentee. He has never masterminded a win against Dortmund in four previous attempts (D1, L3), making them the only Bundesliga team the 30-year-old has failed to find a way past.
Their nine match unbeaten run ending with a reverse in Stuttgart last time out, Hoffenheim will take heart from the fact that Dortmund haven’t won any of their last six away fixtures in all competitions, their longest such sequence for three years.
So will it be Hoffenheim singing a victory song after Saturday’s contest, or can Dortmund find their voice to seal third spot and tip Hoffenheim’s Champions League bid into peril? Find out on Saturday when the final day of the season is certain to produce some sweet, sweet music.