Hanover - Hannover 96 were five minutes away from seeing their 21-game unbeaten streak on home soil brought to an end, but a late equaliser stretched their record to 22 matches as they snatched a 1-1 draw at the death against reigning Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund.
BVB head coach Jürgen Klopp made one change from the 1-1 draw with Manchester City in midweek and will have been pleased to see his side take a first-half lead through Robert Lewandowski. However, there was a late twist in the tale as second-half substitute Mame Biram Diouf equalised with a scrappy goal in the dying moments to secure a deserved point for the Reds.
The defending champions began their assault on Hannover's backline from the very first whistle and almost ended up scoring the fastest goal of the season. Konstantin Rausch was caught out of position by Mario Götze, but had keeper Ron-Robert Zieler to thank for coming to his rescue, after the German international got down well to palm Marco Reus' subsequent header away from danger after just twelve seconds.
The hosts weren't about to sit back and rest on their laurels, though, as Artur Sobiech had Roman Weidenfeller at full stretch to prevent his rising half-volley from finding the back of the net. After a frantic start, the game soon calmed down, but a scrappy midfield battle prevented either side from establishing any real rhythm. Having dominated possession, though, it was the visitors who took the lead, when Sven Bender picked out Lukasz Piszczek on the right and the Pole's first-time ball across the six-yard box provided compatriot Lewandowski with the simplest of tap-ins at the back post.
With the wind in their sails, Dortmund almost doubled their lead, but Jakub Blaszczykowski could only drag his effort wide of the target having been set up by Lewandowski. BVB were certainly dictating the pace of the encounter, but that didn't stop Hannover twice going close to an equaliser before half-time. Jan Schlaudraff's shot beat Weidenfeller, but not Mats Hummels, despite his clearance almost cannoning off Lars Stindl and into his own net, before Didier Ya Konan rounded the Dortmund keeper only to see Piszczek scramble his effort off the line to keep the visitors in front at the break.
Dortmund heeded the warning and went in search of a second goal after the restart. Having opted against delivering the ball into the box, Piszczek smashed an effort off the far post, before Götze failed to make the best use of a one-on-one situation with Zieler. BVB's profligacy almost cost them as Hannover thought they had leveled the scores when Mario Eggimann headed home a corner, but the goal was correctly ruled out for a foul on Marcel Schmelzer.
Persistent fouling in a physical encounter led to several stoppages, but both sides still sensed there were more goals to come. Weidenfeller was forced to tip an effort around the post after Schlaudraff's cross was deflected dangerously towards goal by Piszczek. Dortmund were looking to exploit the space in behind on the counter, but their ruthlessness had disappeared as they conceded possession far too often.
As a result Hannover looked the more likely to score and should have done so with just over ten minutes remaining. Konstantin Rausch burst to the byline to pick out substitute Mame Biram Diouf unmarked six-yards out, but the striker scuffed his shot allowing an out-of-position Weidenfeller to claw the effort into his grasp. However, the Senegalese striker spared his own blushes when he produced a poacher's finish to level the scores after Dortmund failed to clear their lines from a Szabolcs Huszti free-kick, leaving BVB with no time to respond before the final whistle.
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