A thrilling contest from start to finish saw Los Blancos steal a point at the death after being frustrated by the visitors for long spells throughout the match
A display of defensive diligence and deadly counterattacking seemed set to send the German outfit to its second victory over Jose Mourinho's men, but a free kick from Mesut Ozil in the 89th minute salvaged a point for the hosts.
Marco Reus gave Dortmund the lead in the 28th minute before Pepe leveled the scores six minutes later, but another charge forward on the break saw Alvaro Arbeloa turn into his own net moments before half time.
The visitors ramped up their defensive intensity in the second half and seemed set to frustrate the hosts into submission but, with stoppage time looming, Ozil stepped up to bury a set-piece to split the points and keep things tight at the top of Group D.
Mourinho made two changes from the 4-0 win over Real Zaragoza. Xabi Alonso returned from suspension to replace Michael Essien, while Raphael Varane came in for Raul Albiol in the home side’s defense.
Jurgen Klopp, meanwhile, opted to name the same XI that labored to a 0-0 draw with Stuttgart in the Bundesliga, as captain Sebastian Kehl, who was forced off with a facial injury over the weekend, started with a protective face mask.
Madrid could have been ahead as early as two minutes into the game had Gonzalo Higuain taken a better first touch after racing through on goal instead of allowing Roman Weidenfeller the time to remove the danger.
Dortmund’s counterattack was shaping up to be quite a threat for the home side, and Marcel Schmelzer nearly took advantage of a gap in defense, but Iker Casillas was able to make a smart save.
Los Blancos found it hard to create much space in the opposition half, as the pressure from the visitors off the ball forced them into a number of mistakes in possession.
In a rare successful attack, Higuain managed to spring the BVB offside trap, but his first-time cross to Cristiano Ronaldo at the far post was hit with too much purchase for the Portuguese international to steer on target.
Then with 28 minutes gone, Madrid was made to feel the true potency of Dortmund on the break. A perfectly placed flicked header from Robert Lewandowski released Reus on the left, and the German Footballer of the Year smashed a fine half-volley past Casillas.
However, the goal seemed to finally click Los Blancos into gear. After Dortmund had lost possession in its own half, the ball was worked wide to Ozil, who sent a fantastic cross to the far post, where Pepe charged in over Schmelzer to plant a punishing header into the roof of the net.
Madrid was well on top following the equalizer, and it seemed to be only a matter of time before the club struck again. A last-ditch tackle from Neven Subotic on Ronaldo sparked BVB on the beak, where Varane repeated the feat on the onrushing Ilkay Gundogan.
But, with seconds to go until halftime, Dortmund carved the opposition apart again. Lewandowski set things in motion with another flicked header, Kevin Grosskreutz took the ball in stride and centered across the face of goal, and Gotze’s finish was deflected past Casillas by Arbeloa.
Mourinho brought on Jose Callejon for Higuain at halftime, and moments after the restart, it appeared that he had struck gold with the change. The substitute bent a fine finish past Weidenfeller, but the goal was chalked off after he had strayed inches offside.
It was a much better start to the second half from the hosts, and Ozil’s cross shot from the flanks forced Weidenfeller into a quick parry at his near post.
Dortmund was able to regroup in defense though, and as the second half wore on, Madrid found it harder to create clear-cut chances, despite its dominance in possession.
Cracks began to appear in the visitors defense as the match entered its closing stages, but Los Blancos were unable to apply the finishing touch as Dortmund managed to hang on.
But with one minute of regulation remaining, just when it looked like there was no way back for Madrid, Ozil waved Ronaldo off a free kick and bent the set-piece expertly into the bottom corner past the scrambling Weidenfeller to give the home side the breakthrough right at the end.