Borussia Dortmund extended their unbeaten run to nine Bundesliga matches with a 1-1 (1-0) draw against FC Augsburg on Matchday 24. The Black & Yellows, who remain in second spot, went in front through Reus in the opening stages of their Monday evening clash at SIGNAL IDUNA PARK but could not stop FCA from levelling late on to snatch a draw.
Dennis-Julian Gottschlich reporting
BVB dominated the opening 45 minutes and broke the deadlock through Reus following a quick counter-attack on the 16-minute mark, but they failed to carve open any more clear-cut chances before the break. Even after the restart, the Black & Yellows initially did not look convincing in front of the Augsburg goal and missed the chance to double their lead when Schürrle spurned an effort on 69 minutes. Augsburg grew in confidence and deservedly levelled the scores through Danso from a corner in the 73rd minute, before riding out a late spell of pressure as Batshuayi, Dahoud and Götze all went close to grabbing a winner in the closing stages.
It was second-placed Dortmund versus eighth-placed Augsburg, who had three points more than they did at the same stage last season but had tailed off in recent weeks, having failed to score or register a point in two consecutive games for the first time all season. BVB had won their last three matches and were unbeaten in eight Bundesliga outings. Only Bayern had won more often (19/11) and lost more rarely (2/5) this season than BVB.
Kagawa (ankle), Guerreiro (muscular problems), Philipp (match fitness), Sancho (ankle ligament injury), Yarmolenko (foot tendon injury), Durm (injury to lateral collateral ligament in ankle) and Rode (rehab) were unavailable for BVB. Peter Stöger made several changes to the XI that started the last match, bringing in Weigl, Schmelzer, Castro and Reus in place of Sahin, Toljan, Dahoud and Pulisic, who all started on the bench. Augsburg, meanwhile, travelled to Westphalia without Gouweleeuw, Opare, Baier, Finnbogason and Richter.
Both teams took to the field in a 4-2-3-1 formation, although hosts Borussia Dortmund naturally adopted a more attack-minded approach than visitors Augsburg, who looked to close down space. One of the home side's main tactical objectives was to nullify the threat posed by the Bavarians down the flanks.
The match & analysis:
BVB came racing out of the blocks and created their first chance after just 45 seconds, although an outstretched leg blocked Schürrle's attempt from 17 metres out. The hosts continued to pile on the pressure after their initial foray forward and controlled the match against an Augsburg side who did not shy away from the challenge and always looked to make an impact. The first clear-cut opportunity for the hosts culminated in the opening goal, with Reus starting the move by dispossessing Framberger in midfield before launching the counter with a pass to Götze. The 25-year-old broke forward and picked out Schürrle, whose low cross from the right wing was intended for Batshuayi at the back post. But when Hinteregger slid in and failed to clear the danger, Reus latched on to the loose ball and chipped it over the line from two metres out (16).
The visitors, meanwhile carved open two opportunities for Gregotisch (7) and Framberger (26) but neither troubled Swiss shot-stopper Bürki, who clawed a Schmid free-kick away from the bottom left corner of the goal on the stroke of half-time (44). Those incidents aside, the visitors were mainly preoccupied with closing down space at the back and blocking off the passing channels. They managed to do so relatively well after the opener, with BVB creating no further gilt-edged chances in the remainder of the first period despite having much more of the ball.
BVB caught napping
BVB sustained their pressure in the opening stages of the second period but continued to struggle to find solutions. It was a tense encounter with few real highlights for much of the evening and Borussia Dortmund, despite their efforts, were not under pressure to do more than necessary given they had a lead to protect. FCA, meanwhile, caused headaches for their hosts with two dangerous counter-attacks before the hour-mark: Schmid directed his header inches wide of the far post following a brilliant cross from Max in the 57th minute, then missed from a narrow angle barely two minutes later (59). Borussia did not create another chance until the 69th minute, when Schürrle shot at least half a metre wide from 16 metres out.
The equaliser came a few minutes later, when Danso had a header from point-blank range following a corner. Having been denied from the initial attempt by Bürki, the midfielder followed up on the loose ball and the Swiss custodian was powerless to prevent him from tapping home (73). Conceding the equaliser seemed to spark Dortmund into life, with Dahoud curling an effort towards the far corner from 20 metres that Hitz parried away for a corner (74) before Batshuayi missed a chance from the edge of the area (84). In the final minutes both Dahoud (86) and Götze (89) came close to getting a winner for the hosts but the second goal simply would not come.
Next up for BVB is a Bundesliga clash at Rasenballsport Leipzig on Saturday (15:30 CET). That duel will be followed by a Europa League Round of 16 first leg meeting at home to Red Bull Salzburg the following Thursday.