The final three minutes of Borussia Dortmund's trip to VfL Wolfsburg on Matchday 15 were symptomatic of the transformation the club have undergone this term.
Fortune and finesse - two characteristics which were distinctly lacking last term but appear to be creeping back into the Westphalians' game under Thomas Tuchel - combined to earn three points that reduced the arrears on Bundesliga leaders FC Bayern München to just five points.
No shortage of bad luck - which was also par for the course a year ago, when BVB dropped to bottom of the table - preceded the excitement of the final moments in Wolfsburg, with a Ricardo Rodriguez penalty in stoppage time threatening to deprive Borussia of two crucial points. That all changed, however, as Shinji Kagawa wrested control of the game back Dortmund's way 118 seconds later, with the visitors holding on for a priceless victory.
Frustration turns to delight
"It's always frustrating to concede a goal so close to the final whistle," said Marco Reus (l.), whose goal had put Dortmund in the driving seat. "That made it all the nicer that we were able to produce such a great counter-attack, which Shinji finished off."
Dortmund's never-say-die attitude is one of the traits of a successful club, and although nobody will be openly admitting it, they still believe they have a chance of catching Bayern this season, especially after the boost of knowing they can eke out results from tough away games in which points appear to be slipping away from them.
Bayern 'not an issue'
"The way we fought back is simply outstanding," enthused Sven Bender. "To break like that right at the end is just fantastic. It’s a hard-fought win at the end of the day – but it feels great.” That BVB did not even need to rely on a goal from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who drew a blank for only the third time in the Bundesliga this season.
Indeed, the fact that others stepped up to the plate is also a sign that Dortmund are serious contenders for silverware this season, as well as a mental strength that is building week by week. "We showed a very special mentality," said Tuchel. "It’s an incredible result. We knew we’d need a top performance, especially given all of the players we’re missing. We're very happy."
Just do not mention the pursuit of Bayern at the top. "Absolutely not," said Reus, dismissing the notion instantly. "Bayern are not an issue," added Bender with a shake of the head. "I'll only be looking at the league table after the final day of the season."