Borussia Dortmund continued their domestic and international unbeaten streak this season but were denied a fifth successive home win in the Bundesliga by Hertha Berlin, who struck late to earn a 2-2 (1-1) draw on Matchday 9.
Boris Rupert reporting
The 81,000 spectators at a less-than-full Signal Iduna Park – there were several hundred empty spaces in the away end – saw Sancho's 27th minute opener cancelled out by Kalou on the stroke of half-time. BVB made a sluggish start to the second period but re-established their lead when Sancho claimed a second on the hour-mark, but two clear chances to put the game to bed were squandered before Kalou rescued a draw for the visitors with an injury time penalty.
First-placed Borussia Dortmund, who were the only team in the division yet to suffer a defeat, were up against a Hertha side that had only lost once (in Bremen) and sat sixth in the table with 15 points – six more than they had at the same stage last season. The Black & Yellows had only lost one of their previous nine meetings between the teams – the season before last, when they were beaten 2-1 in the capital.
BVB were without Alcácer (muscular problems), Delaney (bruised foot), Akanji (hip) and Schmelzer (bone oedema). Lucien Favre made three changes to the team that beat Atlético Madrid 4-0 in the Champions League in midweek, with Dahoud, Sancho and Guerreiro replacing Delaney, Pulisic and Bruun Larsen (both bench).
The visitors countered Dortmund's 4-2-3-1 system with a "Berlin Wall" that took the form of a 5-2-2-1 formation, but despite the congestion in midfield and the tight marking BVB consistently found ways to get in behind. Guerreiro often drifted inwards from the left flank into the centre, drawing two opposing players towards him and creating space for Hakimi to overlap on the outside.
The match & analysis:
Strong in the tackle, confident on the ball and quick on the counter, the Black & Yellows repeatedly launched attacks and created goalscoring opportunities in the opening stages. The first came when Hakimi received the ball on the edge of the box in the third minute but shot wide, before Sancho came close less than 60 seconds later. Reus received the ball from Guerreiro and found the Englishman, whose shot from a centre-right position was cleared off the line by Rekik with goalkeeper Jarstein beaten.
Hakimi's dipping drive from 18 metres was deflected wide of the upright for a corner on 16 minutes, but the hosts finally found the net two minutes later when Sancho beautifully flicked a Reus cross over the line. But the Germany international was narrowly offside when he received Dahoud's ball, according to the video assistant referee, who ruled that the goal should be disallowed.
The English youngster did eventually get on the scoresheet after 27 minutes, however. Dahoud won the ball back on the halfway line and Götze bore down on goal with Reus in support, squaring a perfectly timed pass into Sancho's path for the 18-year-old to slot home from a narrow angle.
Hertha's game became increasingly physical, while Borussia lost some of their early momentum and Duda's attempt from 18 metres in the 40th minute was followed by the equaliser barely a minute later. Mittelstädt received the ball on the flank and picked out Kalou in the penalty area after Dahoud had been dispossessed in midfield.
The Black & Yellows rediscovered some of their momentum 10 minutes into the second period and began to take a more direct approach that quickly bore fruit. Hakimi struck the side-netting in the 55th minute, and a few short minutes later BVB were back in the lead when the Moroccan combined well with Götze in the centre and played a perfect ball into the path of Reus, who let the ball run through for Sancho to tap over the line from close range (61). BVB were back in front, thanks to the Englishman's fourth goal in the space of eight days.
Guerreiro could have sealed the win with 12 minutes remaining after being played clean through by Dahoud, but he was denied by the head of Hertha shot-stopper Jarstein in a one-on-one and Stark scrambled the ball clear. Another gilt-edged chance was then squandered by Bruun Larsen, who failed to convert Reus' 86th minute cross, before the visitors came close to levelling the scores when Bürki made an excellent stop to thwart Selke.
But there was to be one final twist: the referee pointed to the spot following a stoppage-time tussle between Zagadou and Selke, and Kalou fired home the ensuing penalty to earn Hertha a draw.
BVB's next Bundesliga action comes next Saturday (15:30 CET), when they travel to VfL Wolfsburg. But before that they face a DFB Cup second round tie with Union Berlin, who visit Signal Iduna Park on Wednesday (kick-off 18:30 CET). Tickets are still available for that match and can be purchased online here.