Dortmund - FC Augsburg picked up where they left off in 2013, twice battling back from being a goal down to collect a well-deserved 2-2 draw on the road against Borussia Dortmund.
Positives and negatives
In a fast and frantic encounter, Sven Bender found the back of the net at both ends of the pitch either side of half-time, before Dong-Won Ji’s late header cancelled out Nuri Sahin’s unstoppable free-kick to leave BVB without a win in their last four home games.
Following a disappointing first half of the season that was blighted by injuries to key players, Dortmund head coach Jürgen Klopp will have been cursing his luck when Jakub Blaszczykowski went down clutching his knee inside five minutes. However, it was soon forgotten as Marco Reus’ quickly-taken free-kick caught the visitors napping, allowing Bender to sneak in front of his marker and head home from close range.
Borussia were showing no signs of needing to brush off any winter cobwebs and, though Augsburg enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the opening quarter of an hour, the hosts’ intense pressing prevented Markus Weinzierl’s charges from carving out chances from open play. Instead the Schwarz-Gelben were looking more likely to add to the scoreline, with Bundesliga joint-top scorer Robert Lewandowski wasting a golden opportunity on a one-on-one with Marwin Hitz.
Stroke of luck
Persistent fouling prevented the game establishing any real rhythm, but it was BVB who began cranking up the pressure approaching the half-hour mark. Henrikh Mkhitaryan dragged an effort wide after combining to great effect with Reus, who himself failed to capitalise on Hitz’s poor clearance just moments later. However, with their chance conversion proving as problematic as it had during the first half of the season, the hosts were forced to settle for a narrow lead after a heated first half.
Neither side let the level of intensity in proceedings drop after the break with Kevin Großkreutz twice producing threatening balls into the box that failed to get the crucial touch from a team-mate. However, it was the visitors who struck back with their first chance in the second half, when Bender got his bearings all wrong, turning Andre Hahn’s drilled cross into his own net to level the scores.
Ji to the rescue
The hosts responded to the setback by pushing forward with greater emphasis, but with Augsburg sitting deep, BVB had to rely on a set-piece to re-establish their narrow lead with Sahin curling a delightful free-kick into the top corner from 20 yards. Weinzierl reacted by throwing Ji into the mix with 20 minutes left to play, a decision which paid off immediately as the South Korean got on the end of Hahn’s cross to nod the ball past Roman Weidenfeller with his first touch of the ball.
With die Fuggerstädter’s battling qualities making life increasingly difficult for Dortmund and time winding down, there was a level of desperation that began creeping into the hosts’ forward movements. Lewandowski looped a header onto the roof of the net, before Hitz made two strong saves in the dying moments, first denying Reus and then comfortably collecting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s tame effort from six yards. In the end though, it wasn’t enough for Dortmund to take all three points as Augsburg were richly rewarded for their perseverance and never-say-die attitude.
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