A fine defensive performance from Hertha Berlin earned a scoreless draw against Borussia Dortmund at the Olympiastadion as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang failed to make an impact.
The Bundesliga’s leading scorer had netted 20 goals in as many appearances heading into the game, but was shut out by the Hertha defence before he was taken off in the second half.
BVB had won their first two games of 2016, but Thomas Tuchel’s men struggled right from the start as they failed to create any chances of note in the opening 45 minutes.
Hertha, who have not lost in six league games, looked dangerous via Vladimir Darida and John Brooks before the break, but failed to beat Roman Burki.
Dortmund looked slightly more threatening after the interval, but Hertha’s solid defence proved to be too much of obstacle as the Bundesliga’s second and third-placed sides spilled points in their attempts to cling onto Bayern Munich’s coat tails.
Hertha would arguably have been the worthier winners and went close after just five minutes of play following some poor defending from Dortmund, but Darida’s attempt from close range lacked the power and accuracy to worry Burki.
The hosts caused the BVB defence plenty of problems from set-pieces and they came close again midway through the first half when Brooks beat his marker to the ball after Darida’s corner, only to see his header go inches over the bar, while Jens Hegeler headed Marvin Plattenhardt’s delivery straight at Burki.
Dortmund, meanwhile, looked dangerous twice when Marcel Schmelzer charged forward down the left, but his final pass let him down on both occasions.
Long-range strikes from Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Ilkay Gundogan did not trouble Rune Jarstein between the sticks, while the Hertha goalkeeper did well to deny Mats Hummels around the half-hour mark after a rare chance for the away side.
BVB pushed hard for the opener early in the second half, with Marco Reus and Henrikh Mkhitaryan each trying their luck from a dangerous position, but they both failed to get their shot on target.
Hertha were happy to sit deep and try to hit Dortmund on the counterattack after the break in an attempt to keep Aubameyang quiet.
Their pragmatic approach nearly paid off in the 70th minute when Vedad Ibisevic got a good chance just inside the box, but the striker failed to properly connect with the ball and Burki easily saved.
Mkhitaryan should have broken the deadlock just minutes later after some good work from Aubameyang, but the Armenian midfielder aimed just wide from 15 yards out.
Salomon Kalou came close in the closing stages after Aubameyang had been withdrawn from yet another quick Hertha break but, with team-mates well positioned ahead of him, the former Chelsea attacker’s low shot went inches wide to cap a frustrating outing for both attacks.
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