Hertha Berlin have brought an end to Borussia Dortmund’s storming winning streak after snatching a dramatic 2-2 draw at the Westfalenstadion on Saturday.
Dortmund started the game at a thrilling speed inside the first 20 minutes, and English wonderkid Jadon Sancho would open the scoring in the 26th minute.
Dortmund produced a trademark move which sliced Hertha’s defence open, and Mahmoud Dahoud sent Mario Gotze through. He committed the chasing defenders and the slid the ball through for Sancho to pass it into the net.
In the 40th minute, Dahoud's pass was intercepted by Maxi Mittelstadt. The left-back surged into the Dortmund half and pinged a gorgeous ball to Salomon Kalou. He brought the ball down and poked it past the onrushing goalkeeper.
After the break Hertha came out looking more assured, but Dortmund went back in front in the 61st minute - again through Sancho. Reus slipped the ball towards goal and ex-Manchester City man followed it up and tapped it in. After the goal Dortmund regained control of the match and stroked it about beautifully until around the 80th minute.
Hertha continued to push forward and increased the pressure in the last ten minutes. This resulted in winning a last minute penalty which was dispatched cooly by Kalou.
Key Talking Point
Having beat Atletico 4-0 on Wednesday, the question going into this game was whether Dortmund have the squad and energy to battle across multiple fronts.
The breathless football they play does not seem sustainable for an entire season and against Hertha there was a slight sluggishness in their finishing. As untouchable as Dortmund had looked for the majority of the game, in the last ten minutes they really struggled to maintain possession of the ball.
Lucien Favre was missing top goalscorer Paco Alcácer for this game and although Raphael Guerreiro was a fine replacement, he does not have the Spaniard's ability to sniff out a chance. There was a moment just before Hertha got their penalty that Reus slid the ball across the box, and it is not hard to imagine that Alcácer sticking that chance away.
Starting XI: Burki (6), Piszczek (6), Diallo (6), Zagadou (7), Hakimi (8); Witsel (7), Dahoud (7); Sancho (8), Gotze (8), Reus (8); Guerreiro (7).
Substitutes: Pulisic(5), Bruun Larsen (5), Toprak (5).
Marco Reus was at the heart of everything for Dortmund, popping up in space all over the final third of the pitch. Dortmund’s best, most incisive, lucid football came through the 29-year-old. Defenders did not know whether to get tight or try stand him up because he escaped them whatever they tried to do.
The German constantly combined with left-back Hakimi to slice open Hertha’s back five open on a number of occasions and it lead BVB's second. Reus has struggled with injuries for the past few years, but he now embodies Lucien Favre’s thrillingly energetic side.
The first goal they conceded could have been defended better but ultimately Burki should have made a better effort of saving it. When Dortmund were coming under pressure towards the end of the game Burki dropped the ball in the box, kept punching and kicking the ball away.
The goalkeeper was giving off a sense of panic and it did not take long for it to permeate throughout the defence.
Dortmund’s surprise slip-up and Bayern Munich's win has opened up the table, allowing Bundesliga fans to enjoy the potential for the league's first proper title race since the 2011/12 season.
Tougher tests await this Dortmund side, their next two league games are against Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich. If they remain top of the Bundesliga after these fixtures, then the title race is on.
Hertha’s next league game comes against an RB Leipzig side who have come into some form of late. The side from the capital will want to build on the result they managed to salvage this afternoon.