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Pre-match report

Bundesliga

End-to-end encounter in Frankfurt ends in 2-2 stalemate

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Borussia Dortmund deservedly drew 2-2 (1-0) with Eintracht Frankfurt in a spectacular, fast-paced Bundesliga clash that hung in the balance right until the death. Whether the Black & Yellows stay top of the table depends on the outcome of Bayern's meeting with Hamburg this evening.

Dennis-Julian Gottschlich reporting

The match, which was attended by 51,500 spectators at a sold-out Commerzbank Arena, developed into an extremely intense encounter in which the visitors took a 19th-minute lead through Sahin, though they could perhaps consider themselves fortunate that hosts Frankfurt did not convert any of the promising opportunities they created in the remainder of the first period. Philipp doubled the visitors' advantage in the 57th minute, only for Haller to convert a 64th-minute penalty and Wolf to add another four minutes later as the hosts fought back to level the scores at 2-2. In the closing stages, Bürki made some key saves at one end and Sahin's effort was cleared off the line by Hasebe at the other as both sides failed to force a winner.

Watch all the match videos on BVBtotal!

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Götze was included in the starting XI

The scenario:
League leaders BVB travelled to seventh-placed Frankfurt having failed to win their last two games (1-1 draw at Apoel Nicosia in the UEFA Champions League and 3-2 loss to Rasenballsport Leipzig in the Bundesliga). Speaking the day before the game, Peter Bosz said: "My players need a good result to turn around this feeling of disappointment. That's why we need to win in Frankfurt." Their last meeting ended with some fond memories for the Black & Yellows, who beat the Eagles 2-1 in Berlin in May to claim the DFB Cup.

Personnel matters:
The absence of six defensive players – Sokratis (suspended), Ömer Toprak (thigh strain), Marcel Schmelzer (individual training), Lukasz Piszczek (torn lateral collateral ligament), Raphael Guerreiro (rehab) and Erik Durm (hip operation) – saw Subotic make his first start for BVB in over one and a half years. The other absentees were Reus, Schürrle (both rehab) and Rode (pubic bone). Subotic aside, Toljan, Castro and Philipp were the only changes to the starting XI that featured in Cyprus on Tuesday. Kagawa and Yarmolenko dropped to the bench. Frankfurt were without da Costa, Falette, Regäsel, Fabian, Fernandes, Mascarell, Mbouhom and Meier.

Tactics:
Frankfurt lined up in a 3-5-2 formation with Wolf sitting in the hole behind centre-forwards Rebic and Haller, while wingers Chandler (right) and particularly Willems on the opposite flank repeatedly looked to get forward. When the men from Hesse didn't have the ball, Chandler and Willems dropped back into defence as Frankfurt switched to a back five. In midfield, Gacinovic stuck to Götze like glue. Dortmund, playing in their usual 4-3-3 system, fielded a new-look back four that had never played together before. Bartra continued at right-back, while Weigl made his first appearance in central defence and Subotic made his first start since March 2015. Toljan lined up at left-back. Bartra then moved into the middle once Zagadou came on in the second half.

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Boateng and Castro were locked in a fierce midfield battle

The match & analysis:
It was an action-packed encounter from the very first minute, characterised by numerous challenges, a frenetic pace and a number of forays forward at both ends. The first two chances for the visitors fell to Philipp in the sixth and 11th minutes respectively, though on both occasions the midfielder's volleys were blocked by Frankfurt players in the box. Rebic came close at the other end six minutes later with a shot that found the back of the net from 14 metres out, but it was correctly disallowed for offside. Barely 60 seconds later, Bartra brilliantly and fairly challenged the Frankfurt man to prevent him going clean through on Bürki.

The Black & Yellows remained unperturbed by those moments of danger in their final third, however, continuing to drive forward with pace and deservedly opening the scoring one minute later through Sahin. Bartra drove the ball low across the penalty area from 17 metres out and the Turkey international escaped his marker Hasebe at the right moment in the box, connecting with the cross and steering it into the net from six metres out (19).

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Sahin puts the Black & Yellows 1-0 up

Bürki and Subotic keep lead intact until interval

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Sahin, Bürki and Castro celebrate the opener

But Eintracht soon rallied and began their hunt for an equaliser. Subotic made an incredible tackle to dispossess Haller (30), before Bürki made a last-ditch save to deny Wolf (30) and then prevented what would have been a deserved equaliser for Rebic two minutes later. There was then a break in the play after Chandler sustained a knee injury (not caused by an opponent) and had to be substituted off. Borussia Dortmund used to the time to rally themselves and, for the most part, continued to look solid until the break. They almost doubled their lead through Götze and Aubameyang three minutes before the break, but both players missed within seconds of each other.

The first chances after the restart fell to Philipp (46) and Castro (48), who was played in by Aubameyang, though both players were unable to direct their shots on target. At the other end there were shots for Rebic (47) and Boateng (49), both of whose attempts from promising positions were blocked by the outstretched legs of BVB defenders. By this point the game was on a knife edge, with both teams taking it in turns to drive forward. Philipp was denied by Hradecky from 18 metres (50) and then Aubameyang had two chances, first missing after receiving a super pass from Götze (51) and then failing to beat Hradecky from an unmarked position (53). Three minutes later, he missed a low Philipp cross into the six-yard box by millimetres (56).

Philipp doubles lead, Frankfurt mount fightback

It was not a game for the faint-hearted. For as good as BVB were creating chances going forward, they looked equally vulnerable in defence. The Black & Yellows' new-look back four especially had problems springing the offside trap, allowing Rebic, Haller or Wolf to break through their ranks frequently, though fortunately they were always denied at the last second. Then, in the 57th minute, Götze did well to win the ball in midfield. He threaded it through to Philipp on the left and the midfielder dispatched a precise low shot into the far corner from the edge of the box to make it 2-0.

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But whoever thought this 2-0 lead meant game over was very much mistaken. Frankfurt continued to play as offensively as they had before, next threatening the BVB goal only six minutes later when Rebic was felled by Bürki in the box. Referee Hartmann pointed to the penalty spot and Haller converted the ensuing spot-kick to make it 2-1 (64). Straight from kick-off, Pulisic had the next clear-cut goalscoring opportunity in the penalty area from seven metres out but Hradecky made an outstanding save with his foot (66). Two minutes later, Wolf again went clean through at the other end and fired into the far corner to level the score at 2-2 (68).

Bürki then saved Gacinovic's header from four-metres out to deny Frankfurt a third (70), before making another sensational save to keep out Boateng in the closing stages. At the other end, substitute Sancho and Sahin both missed from four metres out in the final minute, with Hasebe making a goal-line clearance (90). Shortly afterwards Pulisic dragged a shot millimetres wide of the back post (90+3).

Watch all the match videos on BVBtotal!

Prospects:
Next up on the agenda is a DFB Cup second round clash at 1. FC Magdeburg on Tuesday evening (20:45 CET). It will be followed by a Bundesliga trip to Hannover 96 next Saturday (15:30 CET).

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