Borussia Dortmund 3-3 Hoffenheim
So, will there be a new name holding aloft the Bundesliga title this season?
There remains a long way to go and, no doubt the Bundesliga 2019 betting odds have many twists and turns remaining.
As it stands, Borussia Dortmund remain in pole position and are full of confidence to put their name back on the trophy after six successive championships for Bayern Munich.
But this could be the day they look back on and realise their failure to hold onto a commanding lead could haunt them.
Highlights of the game
As they welcomed Hoffenheim to town, Dortmund knew they could ill afford a slip-up and; they never looked like slipping for long spells.
For those us fans with an interest in the England national team, the match-up between young talents Jadon Sancho and Reiss Nelson – both of whom have been consistent this season (seven and six goals respectively) – was always going to catch the eye.
Indeed, Sancho thought he had made it eight for the campaign, but his early strike was ruled offside. The young Englishman actually wasn’t but, as a clearance bounced off him and into the net, his team-mate Maximilian Philipp had been moments earlier.
The frantic start at an extremely wet Signal Iduna Park didn’t see many chances created. But slowly but surely Lucien Favre’s team began to take control.
Even without talisman Marco Reus, there were signs the hosts were upping the tempo just before the deadlock was broken.
You can’t keep a good man down, and Sancho produced one of the Bundesliga 2019 highlights with a superb finish.
Goalkeeper Oliver Baumann was left with no chance as the youngster fired a shot across goal and into the bottom left-hand corner.
Lift-off for Dortmund with their first effort on target.
Another young talent in the home ranks, Achraf Hakimi, was nearly celebrating himself a short time later as Baumann managed to tip his shot away for a corner. But the second goal did arrive two minutes before the break.
Mario Gotze, the man who crowned Germany as champions of the world in 2014, was the milestone marksman and Sancho the creator.
He cut in from the left-hand side and called Baumann into a fine save, but the ball came straight out to Gotze who gleefully tapped home into an empty net.
Five minutes after the restart and Raphael Guerreiro went close to adding a third, although the visitors showed a glimpse of their quality, too, when Joelinton played a one-two with Nico Schulz, but his powerful shot went narrowly wide.
Players celebrate as Hoffenheim clawed its way back from three goals down
Joelinton again proved his threat, showing both power and pace before testing goalkeeper Roman Burki who Dortmund were grateful for again to deny Ishak Belfodil after he turned neatly in the box.
The visitors were building momentum but failing to reduce the arrears appeared to have cost them dearly midway through the second period.
Again, Sancho was the inspiration. He backheeled the ball and nutmegged his marker in the process to play through Gotze, who cut it back to Guerreiro for the simplest task with Baumann stranded.
A goal out of nothing which seemed to have, temporarily at least, moved Dortmund 10 points clear at the top (Munich play later and Borussia Monchengladbach were defeated at home by Hertha Berlin).
Nelson was introduced for the visitors who immediately pulled one back.
Pavel Kaderabek, who had gone close moments earlier, saw his cross reach Belfodil and he poked the ball through Burki’s hands to claim a consolation.
Sancho almost capped a man of the match display with another goal but hit the post, and the visitors threatened a nervous closing stage when Kaderabek added a second seven minutes from time, heading in off the far post.
Paco Alcacer came close to a fourth but then, the unthinkable happened for the hosts.
Belfodil flicked on a Dennis Geiger delivery to send the away fans into raptures and Dortmund, distraught.
A turning point in the title race?
Gotze’s strike was his 50th career goal in the Bundesliga. He has also been involved in four goals (two goals, two assists) in his last five matches in the German top flight.
Sancho, 18, is the youngest player in Bundesliga history to have reached eight goals.
This was the first ever time childhood friends Sancho and Nelson have shared a professional pitch.
It’s off to Wembley next for Dortmund as they travel to meet Spurs in the Champions League.
They return to domestic action with a trip to lowly FC Nuremberg on February 18 before entertaining Bayer Leverkusen and former manager Peter Bosz who they will be wary of after their impressive recent display against Munich.
Hoffenheim entertain strugglers Hannover a week today (February 16) before travelling to fourth-placed RB Leipzig.
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