Borussia Dortmund blew an opportunity to close to within six points of league leaders Bayern Munich after being held to a 1-1 draw by Fortuna Dusseldorf at Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday evening.
Jakub Blaszczykowski gave the champions the lead in spectacular fashion at the tail end of a disappointing first half, but Stefan Reisinger deservedly drew the visitors level on 78 minutes.
Kevin Grosskreutz missed a glorious chance to win it for Dortmund but, in truth, they did not deserve all three points after a horribly disjointed display.
With both sets of supporters at Signal Iduna Park partaking in a 12-minute silent protest related to ticketing, the opening exchanges were played out in a very surreal atmosphere. However, in truth, they wouldn’t have had much to cheer about anyway, a compact Dusseldorf restricting Dortmund to a couple of speculative efforts from Marcel Schmelzer.
Of course, the unavailability of Mario Gotze - who was watching on from the stands - also contributed to the home side’s subdued start and his absence became increasingly obvious the longer the half wore on. Indeed, a low drive from Marco Reus, which was easily turned around the post by Fabian Giefer in the Dusseldorf goal, was the best Dortmund could muster before they took the lead in a manner that was completely at odds with what had gone before.
Lukasz Piszczek was released into space down the right-hand side and he swung over a cross that Blaszczykowski chested down into the path of the supporting Grosskreutz. The winger immediately cushioned the ball back to his team-mate, who promptly dispatched a sublime volley past a helpless Giefer.
Dusseldorf had offered little by way of an attacking threat up until that point but they should have levelled not long after. Robbie Kruse sprung the offside trap down the left-hand side before driving infield. The Australia attacker should have shot early but he took too much out of the ball in trying to go around Roman Weidenfeller and only just managed to toe the ball to Reisinger, who then saw his goal-bound effort comically blocked by team-mate Ken Ilso.
Startled by that close call, Dortmund upped their game and Grosskreutz fired just over the bar soon after. However, they continued to look vulnerable at the back, so it came as no great surprise when Dusseldorf drew level with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Kruse found himself in space down the left wing once more and this time he made it count, sending over an inviting cross which Reisinger headed home at the back post.
Dortmund had an almost immediate chance to reclaim the lead when Piszczek nodded the ball down into the path of Grosskreutz, but the Germany international criminally ballooned the ball over the bar from just eight yards out with the goal at his mercy.
Jurgen Klopp's men threw everything they had left at Dusseldorf during a frantic finale in which Ivan Paurevic was harshly sent off for a second yellow, but they were unable to find a way through, meaning Bayern can now put 11 points between the two sides ahead of Saturday's clash at the Allianz Arena.