With five new starters, Dortmund tops Hoffenheim to escape last place
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- Borussia Dortmund earned a much-needed, confidence-boosting 1-0 victory over Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on Friday to lift itself from the bottom of the table.
Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp made five changes in his lineup and one of the newcomers, Ilkay Gundogan, scored with a fine header in the 17th minute that was enough for the three points.
The 2011 and '12 Bundesliga champion produced a fighting performance and wasted several good chances as it dominated the match. Efficiency has been one of Dortmund's main problems this season, but it also had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside.
One of the five men benched by Klopp was goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller, whose place was taken by Mitch Langerak, a rarely used Australian who had a quiet evening.
Klopp said Langerak's promotion was not a permanent move, but the coach added that he would make another decision after this match.
"I wanted to see Mitch's freshness, his smile in the goal," Klopp said.
Klopp also had central defender Mats Hummels returning after injury and the World Cup winner added stability to Dortmund's defense, which allowed Hoffenheim few openings. Hummels made a key clearance at the start of the second half, heading away a free kick by Pirmin Schwegler that appeared headed for the net.
"It was a very important victory," Hummels said. "We played a very good game."
Dortmund's fourth victory of the season gave it 14 points and lifted it to 14th place but it remains to be seen if it will remain out of the danger zone once the weekend is over.
Gundogan, starting in place of Shinji Kagawa for the first time this season, scored at the far post after a pinpoint cross from the right from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, while goalkeeper Oliver Baumann also mistimed his exit.
Aubameyang had a header disallowed for offside but television replays showed it was a wrong decision.
Baumann compensated for his early mistake by foiling Aubameyang and then tipping over a powerful header from Hummels, before Aubameyang hit the post in the 75th.