Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a penalty saved but then rescued a point for Borussia Dortmund as they set a new club record of 25 home games unbeaten in the Bundesliga with a 1-1 draw against Hertha Berlin.
Dortmund were far from their best at Signal Iduna Park and wasted chances before Aubameyang’s late strike, sparing his blushes after he was thwarted by Rune Jarstein from the spot in a match that saw both sides reduced to 10 men.
It took a while for Friday’s game, the first following the international break, to get going. With 51 minutes played Hertha sparked the contest into life as Valentin Stocker, who was dismissed in stoppage time, latched onto Vedad Ibisevic’s superb pass to score his second of the season.
Stocker’s strike was a wake-up call for Dortmund – who had Emre Mor sent off late on – and they duly responded, with Aubameyang twice going close before seeing his 75th minute spot kick saved by Rune Jarstein.
He was not to be denied, though, as Ousmane Dembele’s low cross gave him a simple tap-in, securing a point and preserving Dortmund’s impressive home record.
Having had almost two weeks to dwell on the loss to Bayer Leverkusen before the break, Thomas Tuchel’s side were surprisingly sluggish in front of their vociferous fans.
The lively Christian Pulisic tried in vain to get his side fired up as his deep cross picked out Mor, but the youngster volleyed high and wide.
Instead it was Hertha who looked the more likely to break the deadlock and Alexander Esswein curled over from 20 yards after a Marvin Plattenhardt free-kick had been blocked.
Chances were at a premium after that 15th-minute effort, with Dortmund lacking their normal flowing rhythm as Hertha remained disciplined without testing Roman Burki.
Dortmund continued to struggle after the restart and they were punished six minutes into the second half by Stocker.
A sumptuous back heel from Ibisevic released the Switzerland international in behind the defence and he calmly poked past Burki.
Tuchel turned to Dembele and Shinji Kagawa from the bench and on the hour the new-look Dortmund finally worked Jarstein with a Marcel Schmelzer drive.
Dortmund’s pressure continued to build and Aubameyang spurned two openings in as many minutes to restore parity, his second a chip that was superbly kept out by a combination of Jarstein and the woodwork.
With 15 minutes to play Dortmund were seemingly given a lifeline as Genki Haraguchi was adjudged to have handled Kagawa’s shot.
Aubameyang assumed responsibilities from 12 yards only for Jarstein to make a fine save down to his left.
Hertha were unable to hold on, though, as Dembele found room on the left and provided the perfect cross that Aubameyang converted from inside the six-yard box.
Both sides finished the game a man down as Mor was dismissed for lashing out at Sebastian Langkamp before Stocker was shown red in stoppage time as the spoils were shared.
Key Opta Facts:
– Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is now the top scorer in the Bundesliga this season with six goals.
– Vedad Ibisevic has had a hand in each of Hertha Berlin’s last six league goals (four goals, two assists).
– For the first time this season there were two red cards in a Bundesliga match.
– Dortmund fielded their third youngest starting 11 in Bundesliga history (22 years, 337 days in average).
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