With one eye on Saturday's heavyweight clash against Bayern Munich in mind, and possibly with concerns about the playing surface, Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel rested a few key names. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Nuri Sahin and Shinji Kagawa were all amongst the substitutes, whilst there was a senior debut for talented youngster Felix Passlack.
Dortmund ahead towards the end of a scrappy first 45
The visitors were almost gifted an early opening goal, with the aforementioned low quality pitch nearly proving to be the hosts' downfall. Looking to catch a low ball in from Ilkay Gundogan, Christian Mathenia could only parry the ball as it bounced unnaturally on the surface, before gathering at the second attempt, with a swarm of yellow running at him.
Following that scare, Dirk Schuster's side did fairly well to keep Dortmund at bay, but missed a huge chance to go ahead shortly past the half hour mark. Florian Jungwirth picked up the ball on the right hand side, crossing to the feet of Sandro Wanger, whose effort rolled agonisingly wide of Roman Weidenfeller's far post.
They would live to regret that, as Adrian Ramos grabbed a rare goal to put the away side ahead minutes later. Following patient build up play across the pitch, Gonzalo Castro floated a dangerous cross towards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Although the frontman didn't score himself, he made things easy for Ramos, Mathenia's save from Aubameyang's header falling to the feet of the Colombian, who stroked the ball across the line with ease.
It could, and should, have been two before the break. More impressive possession ended with Gundogan breaking beyond the defence from Castro's pass, but the midfielder could only shoot straight at Mathenia.
Durm doubles the lead after the restart
It didn't take long at all for Dortmund to get a second goal following the interval, Castro again at the heart of the move, on a night where his playmaking talents were on full display. Picking up the ball in the centre, he found the run of Durm with an inch perfect pass, allowing the defender to tuck the ball away inside the penalty area.
Aubameyang missed a good chance to add to his impressive goalscoring tally for the season just after, dragging an effort wide, with the pitch playing an obvious part in his failure to make it three.
Darmstadt's chances were few and far between all night, but they weren't helping themselves, as Mario Vrancic put an excellent chance over after latching on to Wagner's header down.
As solid as their performance was, Die Schwarzgelben couldn't shake off a little sloppyness, with it not being Aubameyang's night at all. In the final stages of the game, he again used his rapid pace to break beyond the defence, but a dinked effort was straight down the throat of Mathenia.
Still, it was an important three points, one that moved them to within five points of rivals Bayern, who lost 2-1 at home.