BVB were well worth their 1-0 lead, which came courtesy of Raphael Guerreiro’s strike, but a lapse in concentration allowed Kevin Mohwald to draw the hosts level at the break.
The Black & Yellows, still without Haaland, Hazard, Meunier and Delaney, started the better as Gio Reyna found space but his low ball across was just out of Youssoufa Moukoko’s reach.
Then after 12 minutes the visitors got the breakthrough. A free kick from the right fell to Mats Hummels, saw his shot initially blocked but Dortmund kept the ball alive. Reyna cut it back from the byline to Jadon Sancho, whose shot came off Omar Toprak and fell to Guerrerio, who fired the loose ball beyond Pavlenka from ten yards.
Dortmund continued to pose a threat going forwards, with Jude Bellingham almost scoring after the half hour mark when his cross was deflected onto the post by a Bremen defender.
Hosts fight back
Four minutes later, however, and the Green & Whites were level. Theodor Gebre Selassie pounced a misplaced pass from Manuel Akanji and his cross found Max Eggestein, who in turn teed up Mohwald and the midfielder’s well placed shot from just inside the area found the bottom corner.
Akanji almost regained the lead just before the break when he met Reus’ free-kick, only to be denied by a smart save from Pavlenka, before Roman Burki make a great stop to keep out Ludwig Augustinsson’s curling effort at the other end.
Sancho had the ball in the net early in the second half, but his effort was ruled out for offside after good link up play with Bellingham but all in all Dortmund’s play was not as fluent as it was in the first 45 minutes.
Moments like the one in the 72nd minute – Mateu Morey bombed down the right wing and crossed in to Reus, whose diving header was kept out by Pavlenka – were few and far between.
Back in front
However, five minutes later the Bremen keeper was judged to have fouled Akanji and Dortmund were given a penalty by referee Schroder. Reus stepped up, but having seen his initial effort saved by Pavlenka he reacted quickest to fire home the follow-up.
With Bremen pushing forwards for the equaliser, it was actually the visitors who went closest to scoring late on, but Sancho and then Reus both spurned chances to add a third on the counter.