Borussia Dortmund came from three goals down to draw 3-3 with SC Paderborn and rescue a point on Matchday 12 of the Bundesliga season.
Boris Rupert reporting
The 81,365 spectators at a sold-out Signal Iduna Park witnessed a perfect counter-attacking first-half performance from Paderborn, who converted three of their four chances to lead 3-0 at the break. Sancho sparked hopes of a resurgence when he reduced the deficit to two goals 108 seconds after the restart, but Reus had a golden chance kept out by SCP shot-stopper Zingerle moments later and it was not until the closing stages that BVB snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat thanks to goals from Witsel (84) and Reus (90+2).
BVB had never lost a competitive match against Paderborn, winning three and drawing one of their previous four meetings with their fellow Westphalians – two in the Bundesliga and two in the DFB Cup. BVB won their last two meetings – in April and October 2015 – by a combined scoreline of 10-1.
The Danish duo of Delaney (torn ankle ligaments) and Bruun Larsen (minor knee problem) aside, there were no injury absentees. Reus was back in the team, while Alcácer and Dahoud started for the first time since Matchday 5 and 6 respectively.
The introduction of Dahoud meant a more attack-minded double pivot for BVB, but they had two strong centre-backs behind them in Hummels and Weigl. The Black & Yellows took to the field in their usual 4-2-3-1 system, while their visitors opted for a deep-lying and compact 4-4-2 formation. Paderborn looked to win the ball back and switch the play at lightning speed via wingers Pröger and Holtmann.
The match & analysis:
The newly-promoted outfit's counter-attacking approach quickly paid dividends as Paderborn took the lead on the five-minute mark. Pröger broke down the right flank following a BVB corner and outsprinted the pacey Schulz before crossing precisely towards Mamba, who slotted home from close range. It was real hammer blow for the hosts so early on.
At no point did the Black & Yellows manage to impose their usual dominance, though Guerreiro did have two opportunities to equalise. The first came in the 16th minute when Sancho beat Schonlau and fed the Portugal international, whose strike from 18 metres was slightly high and wide; the second followed nine minutes later when Piszczek volleyed a Hummels cross into the path of Guerreiro, but his low effort crept wide of the upright.
Unfortunately, such moments of pace and precision were a rarity. The passing in the final third frequently lacked accuracy and the attacking efforts looked laboured. Paderborn, meanwhile, continued to deploy their straightforward tactics to devastating effect, scoring twice more before the break. Zolinski played a through-ball from his own half towards Mamba, who broke free before slotting past Bürki in the 37th minute. The third came six minutes before the interval when Holtmann went on a solo run down the left before cutting in and firing home.
Injury forced off Alcácer in first-half stoppage time and he was replaced by Brandt. Two more substitutions followed at the break as Schulz and Dahoud made way for Hazard and Hakimi. The second period was only 108 seconds old when the hosts pulled their first one back, Brandt and Hakimi starting a move that culminated in Sancho firing home a precise effort from 11 metres. Goalkeeper Zingerle denied Reus with an outstretched leg moments later – Brandt was again the provider – while Hummels headed centimetres wide in the 56th minute.
BVB – who lined up in a 4-1-4-1 formation in the second half with Reus and Brandt deployed in central attacking midfield, Hakimi and Sancho on the flanks and Hazard alone up front – piled the pressure on their opponents but lacked the penetration required to build on their strong start to the half.
It was only in the final quarter-hour when the opportunities started to flow, with Hazard and Brandt spurning a double chance on 76 minutes and Hazard firing straight at the keeper seven minutes later. But Witsel did get a much overdue goal 60 seconds later when he headed home a cross from Hummels. The pressure continued to mount with Sancho missing in the 87th minute. But the Englishman then produced a cross for Reus to head home a leveller in stoppage time and at least rescue a point.
BVB are in UEFA Champions League action away to FC Barcelona on Wednesday. That will be followed by a trip to Hertha BSC in the Bundesliga on Saturday.