Another day, another stalemate that probably should’ve been three points for Borussia Dortmund.
Hertha Berlin held on late to draw 1-1 with the Black and Yellows on Friday at the Olympiastadion. BVB had to comeback to get the tie, but will be disappointed that they didn’t manage a late winner.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was again absent after not traveling with the team to Berlin. That meant Peter Stöger was able to give another start to 17-year-old Jadon Sancho, who came so close to winning last week’s scoreless draw with Wolfsburg when his late effort struck the post. André Schürrle was notably included in the lineup despite harsh recent words from Hans-Joachim Watzke. Christian Pulisic also made his return to the team after an injury kept him out last week.
Dortmund couldn’t afford another 0-0 scoreline, but the first half still began slowly. The pitch in the German capital was pretty bad, and thus the action was riddled with misplaced passes and generally sloppy play.
BVB eventually took charge and began to dominate possession, but chance creation was still at a minimum.
The visitors first real chance of the game came through Pulisic and Shinji Kagawa. Pulisic played in a dangerous cross that found Kagawa right on the six-yard-box, but the Japanese international was just a bit too short for it. His header wasn’t taken cleanly and went over the bar.
Dortmund’s attack sputtered at times without Aubameyang. Schürrle, who is not a natural striker, struggled throughout. Instead it was Sancho who picked up a lot of the slack on offense.
Hertha Berlin ominously grew into the game as halftime approached, and then came out and started the second frame in the best possible way. Play hadn’t been back underway for more than 40 seconds when Davie Selke scored his 5th goal of the season. Valentino Lazaro provided the assist, as Roman Bürki couldn’t get enough of a foot on the ball to keep things scoreless.
BVB responded well to the goal, but were lucky not to go down 2-0. Solomon Kalou broke in behind and took a shot that beat Bürki and was going to roll over the line. But the flag went up after it was finished by an offside (and embarrassed) Ondrej Duda.
A few minutes later Dortmund had their equalizer. Berlin gave the ball away cheaply, and Jadon Sancho made them pay. His first attack was thwarted, but he recovered and stood up a cross to the back post that was easily finished by Kagawa.
Alexander Isak made a big difference after coming on for Mario Götze just before 70 minutes. The Swede added much-needed energy to BVB’s attack. He set up Sancho with a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 81st minute, but Jadon couldn’t curl his shot inside the far post. Then Isak almost won the game himself, in the 86th minute, as he spun around and hit a volley that went just wide.
The last action of the match was a penalty appeal by substitute Andriy Yarmolenko. The referee did nothing when he was pulled down in the box, and it’s unclear if VAR was ever even consulted.
It’s an ending which will have left a sour taste in the mouth of Dortmund fans, but at least the team showed fight and desperation in an effort to comeback and nearly get a winning goal.