Nuri Sahin scored a superb goal and set up another as Borussia Dortmund sealed a narrow 2-1 victory at Fortuna Dusseldorf on Saturday.
The Turkish midfielder put the visitors in front with a long-range effort in the 20th minute before setting up substitute Jakub Blaszczykowski to double their lead.
However, there was a nervy end to the game for Dortmund as Dusseldorf pulled one back through Adam Bodzek and goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak had to make a goal-line save in injury time.
Following their comprehensive 4-1 victory over Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, Jurgen Klopp was keen to rest several of his star men ahead of the second leg.
In-form striker Robert Lewandowski, who scored all four goals against Madrid, dropped to the bench, handing Julian Schieber the opportunity to start up front.
There was an early penalty claim from the full-strength hosts after Dani Schahin went down under pressure from Felipe Santana and goalkeeper Langerak, but referee Michael Weiner waved away appeals.
Klopp’s side subsequently weathered some early pressure, and even went close to scoring when Schieber hit the bottom of the post following a corner.
Dortmund went on to take the lead just moments later when Sahin struck a fantastic long-range effort into the top corner despite Fabian Giefer’s best efforts.
Jonas Hofmann then tricked his way past two players down the right as Dortmund continued to push forward for a second as the first half drew to a close.
The hosts could have grabbed an immediate equaliser after the restart but Dortmund skipper Sebastian Kehl managed to divert Ken Ilso’s effort away from the bottom corner.
Dusseldorf started to control proceedings, and almost grabbed an equaliser after mistakes at the back from both Santana and Mats Hummels meant Langerak had to rush from his line to prevent Axel Bellinghausen.
However, a double change from Jurgen Klopp saw Polish duo Lewandowski and Blaszczykowski enter the fray, with the latter making an immediate impact.
Sahin slipped the ball to Blaszczykowski from the top of the box and the midfielder slotted home, despite being marginally offside.
Dusseldorf then had a clear penalty waved away by the referee after Stefan Resisinger’s ball struck the arm of Hummels inside the box.
Geifer prevented Dortmund’s Schieber from sealing a third down the other end of the pitch, as he emerged from his line to make a full-stretch save.
The German keeper then made two more stops as he parried a cross from Blaszczykowski before blocking Reus on the follow up.
Dusseldorf could have pulled one back with six minutes remaining but Reisinger planted his header straight at the goalkeeper after Hummels failed to intercept the cross.
But the hosts eventually found the net after Dortmund failed to deal with Andreas Lambertz’s free-kick into the box and Bodzek headed home.
Dortmund’s Langerak was then forced to make a fantastic save to prevent the home side from grabbing an injury-time equaliser.
Martin Latka’s header was heading straight for the bottom corner but the keeper managed to get down and claw the ball off the line to extend Dortmund’s unbeaten run in all competitions to nine games.