Hoffenheim and Borussia Dortmund both missed an opportunity to strengthen their claims for a UEFA Europa League place following an entertaining 1-1 draw at the Rhein-Neckar Arena.
Kevin Volland fired the home side into the lead after 33 minutes, but Mats Hummels hit back for the visitors just two minutes later.
A string of chances then went begging at either end as both sides sought to secure a victory that would have piled the pressure on Bundesliga rivals Schalke and Augsburg, who occupy the last two European places.
Dortmund headed into the game buoyed by consecutive league victories and their midweek DFB-Pokal semi-final win over Bayern Munich on penalties, and Jurgen Klopp’s men were a touch unfortunate not to make it four on the bounce as they had the hosts on the ropes in the latter stages.
Hoffenheim fired an early warning after four minutes, with Dortmund goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak foiling Anthony Modeste as the home side’s leading goalscorer burst into the box.
And Markus Gisdol’s men continued to look the more likely as the half wore on, eventually making their pressure count just after the half-hour mark.
Volland had already found his range with a stinging 25-yard drive that flashed narrowly wide and, when he was allowed far too much space in the box, the former 1860 Munich man duly rifled a low shot past the helpless Langerak.
Hoffenheim’s lead, however, lasted only two minutes as Dortmund equalised with what was their first meaningful chance of the afternoon.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan swung in a corner from the left and Hummels somehow got between three defenders to nod home his second goal of the season.
In a breathless finale to the first half, the action then switched back to the other end where the lively Modeste came very close to restoring his side’s lead after capitalising on an error from Erik Durm.
And the half-time break did little to stifle the flow of chances, Volland again trying his luck from range in the very first minute and Dortmund immediately countering as a sliding Shinji Kagawa just failed to convert a teasing low cross from Mkhitaryan.
There was more end-to-end action to follow, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Modeste both failing to find the net when sent clean through and the Hoffenheim man going close yet again on the hour mark after a handling error from Langerak.
The young Australian goalkeeper made amends from the resulting corner, however, tipping a thumping Ermin Bicakcic header onto the bar.
Klopp’s men went on to finish the stronger, laying siege to the home goal for the final 15 minutes, but were ultimately unable to find the winner.
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