Edin Terzić’s side shocked the Leverkusen faithful when Norwegian defender Julian Ryerson opened the scoring with just five minutes on the clock.
It would take 74 minutes of play for Die Werkself to finally respond through Victor Boniface, but it was too little too late for a comeback.
The weight of Leverkusen’s failure to capitalise on their dominant display will remain unknown until Bayern Munich can play their postponed fixture against Union Berlin, but those two dropped points will surely delight Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel.
Though it is worth remembering, Leverkusen are still unbeaten at the top of the table, with a lot of football to yet be played.
Patrik Schick returns to Bundesliga football with a bang
Czech international Patrik Schick has returned from injury in spectacular fashion. The 27-year-old has had a torrid time with injuries stretching back to last season, where he missed most of the campaign.
On a personal note it has been a week to remember for the Leverkusen man, starting with a goal in the Europa League in which he celebrated triumphantly with the medical team.
Added to by assisting Victor Boniface against Dortmund with a perfect squared ball, which ensured his side’s unbeaten record in the Bundesliga remains intact while salvaging a point that felt like the least they deserved.
For Leverkusen it is phenomenal timing. Before tonight, Boniface had been going through a minor goal drought in the Bundesliga by his own high standards, having failed to score in his last five matches.
It is easy to forget that the Nigerian is just 22-years-old and having now scored eight goals, leading the line in a side mounting a title bid is undoubtedly going to bring a lot of pressure and expectation.
Schick’s timely return and assist for Boniface will impact the summer recruit in a massively positive manner, having showcased his ability to pick a pass to Boniface almost immediately after coming on the pitch.
The responsibility of goal scoring may now also be shared between the two, similar to what Bundesliga defences are witnessing with VfB Stuttgart’s Deniz Undav and Serhou Guirassy.
Dortmund cannot afford to lose Nico Schlotterbeck to injury
Schlotterbeck has not had the most consistent season, finding himself left out of Julian Nagelsmann’s most recent international squad list.
Having gone off the pitch prematurely in both the Champions League clash against Milan and now in Leverkusen this week, Schlotterbeck may well be facing a spell on the sidelines.
Dortmund were already without defenders Niklas Süle and Ramy Bensabaïni due to illness, forcing Terzić to rely on Mateu Morey, Thomas Meunier and Antonios Papadopoulos, who replaced the German at centre back.
The 24-year-old made his first appearance of the season for the Black Yellows’ first team and despite an impressive performance after coming on, highlights a glaring lack of depth in defence.
If Schlotterbeck did sustain an injury tonight, Terzić faces a daunting run of games across three different competitions leading up to the Winterpause and the January transfer window, where Dortmund will almost certainly look to bring in defensive reinforcements.
Leverkusen fail to capitalise on immense domination
Leverkusen had the necessary goals to win the game on the night, but VAR intervention ruled out Florian Wirtz’ first half ‘equaliser’ just before the break.
Dortmund were pinned in their own half for the vast majority of the game, limited to Ryerson’s crucial opener and the occasional chance on the counter.
Xabi Alonso will lament his side’s inability to grab a second goal, while dominating the game in such a way.
Die Werkself had a whopping 61% of possession and despite Leverkusen having 16 shots, only six of those were on target.
On the back of a colossal performance in Milan, Mats Hummels was once again in fine form.
Ryerson’s goal earned Terzic’s side a massive point, but his on-pitch spat with Wirtz summed up Leverkusen’s frustrations as they ultimately let two points escape them.
Despite their defensive resilience, Dortmund lacked any real ambition to win the game
Dortmund have shown twice this week they are capable of solid defending, but only on one occasion have they performed like a winning team.
Camped in their own half for most of the game, Dortmund really struggled to make inroads and test Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky who only faced two shots on target, resulting in the visitors’ xG figure of 0.92.
Die Schwarzgelben were 90 minutes away from lifting the Meisterschale for the first time since 2012 last season, but this season they are 10 points adrift of top spot and look far from the finished article in the Bundesliga.
The feeling that Dortmund were playing for the draw was compounded by Terzić’s decision to bring on Meunier for Marco Reus after Boniface’s leveller, with the Dortmund boss deciding to hold what he had rather than gamble on a second.
Niclas Füllkrug did well to hold off the Leverkusen defender before laying the ball to Ryerson to finish, but cut a largely frustrated figure for the rest of the night.
By no means is a point an unacceptable haul from the BayArena this season, but it is the manner in which it was gained that has sections of the Dortmund fanbase worried.