Borussia Dortmund put in a laboured performance in Cyprus, drawing 1-1 against APOEL as both sides picked up their first UEFA Champions League point of the campaign.
Dortmund were a shadow of their usual selves and went behind to Michaël Poté’s goal after a double error by goalkeeper Roman Bürki.
They was spared defeat after Sokratis headed in the equaliser five minutes later, but now face an uphill task to qualify out of Group H.
A first half of very little for Dortmund
Both of these teams had lost both of their previous matches in the group and needed three points from this one. Dortmund made five changes from their defeat in the Bundesliga to RB Leipzig on Saturday, whilst APOEL altered four from their last match against Doxa Katokopias.
The first half would be a very frustrating one for the German side. The hosts were defending tight, although Dortmund did have a few chances. Andriy Yarmolenko shot over the bar early on, as did Shinji Kagawa, with the Ukrainian then cutting inside and having his effort put out.
APOEL had a couple of bright moments going forward themselves. A cross from Lorenzo Ebecilio was struck wide by Igor de Camargo, who rather rushed his effort, before a dangerous ball in from Efstathios Aloneftis was taken by Bürki, getting ahead of Ebecilio, without impeding him either.
Dortmund were really toiling by that point to create much at all. APOEL though had to make two changes before the break. De Camargo was taken off with what appeared to be a dislocated shoulder, whilst goalkeeper Boy Waterman was injured punching away a cross from the fit-again Marcel Schmelzer.
Poté stuns Dortmund before Sokratis equaliser
Things did not get better for Peter Bosz’s side after the break, with the Dutchman resisting any temptation to make any changes. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had barely been involved in the first half, and his efforts now weren’t much better. He managed to lose the ball in the box, before on the hour recording a shot, but it was hopelessly wide of the goal.
The game was pretty much set up for APOEL to snatch something at the other end, but when they did it was handed on a plate to them by Bürki. First his poor attempted clearance went straight to Ebecilio, who weaved past a couple of defenders before striking on goal. Bürki blocked him, but couldn’t hold it, with Poté snapping up the chance to put the Cypriots ahead.
Dortmund woke up. Christian Pulsic put a strike over, before Sokratis popped up with the equaliser. From a corner, Schmezler and Mario Götze combined in the left side of the box, and his ball into the middle was headed in by the Greek defender. They nearly went in front soon after as well, however replacement goalkeeper Raúl Gudiño tipped Shinji Kagawa’s shot onto the bar and out.
Dortmund seemed to be pushing the hardest to win the match, with a chance for Pulisic as he was found by Kagawa, but he couldn’t control the shot and it went wide. APOEL remained dangerous though. Aloneftis’s cross-shot could easily have been put in by Poté, before Ghayas Zahid looped a great chance in the air to Bürki in stoppage time and a cross from Vinicius was headed away by Sokratis.
The final chance fell to Dortmund, created by Pulisic, as Aubameyang’s header was saved by Gudiño, before Marc Bartra put the rebound over. A frustrating night all-round for Dortmund, who remain six points behind both Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur after they drew in the Spanish capital. The same is true of APOEL, but they will be a lot happier with their performance.