The defending champions and Swabians slugged it out at the Westfalenstadion on Friday, and at the end of a hugely memorable match finished with a point apieceDortmund and Stuttgart played out a 4-4 draw on Friday in one of the most intense conclusions a European football game has seen this season.
VfB overturned a 2-0 deficit within eight minutes, making it 3-2 entering the closing stages of the game. Dortmund then went on score twice to take the lead before Stuttgart replied with a last-gasp equaliser.
In a highly entertaining first half, Shinji Kagawa put the hosts ahead on 33 minutes, and Jakub 'Kuba' Blaszczykowski scored a second goal on 49 minutes, putting the hosts in full control.
Stuttgart turned the game late and in emphatic manner with three goals in eight minutes. Vedad Ibisevic pulled one back in the 71st minute, and Julian Schieber (77', 79') scored a double that stunned the home fans and swung the score to 3-2 in favour of the visitors.
Three minutes after the go-ahead goal, Mats Hummels restored parity with a low drive from the edge of the box. And shortly thereafter, substitute Ivan Perisic restored the hosts' lead. But in the second minute of injury time, Christian Gentner, who also came off the bench, made it 4-4, earning a point for the visitors.
The hosts took no time to find their shooting boots, and Kagawa twice threatened Sven Ulreich's goal within the opening five minutes. The Japan international first flashed wide from distance, and then forced a fine save with a volley from the middle of the penalty box.
Stuttgart reacted well, and shortly thereafter ex-BVB man Tamas Hajnal forced a good stop from Roman Weidenfeller as he looked to cross. At the other end, Ilkay Gundogan began to show his influence, and the Germany international set up a host of chances: his crosses led to a Robert Lewandowski shot that was deflected en route to goal, and later a Kevin Grosskreutz volley that rebounded off the bar.
Gundogan played what might be remembered as the through-ball of the season on 21 minutes as he threaded a long pass to Lewandowski, but after beating a defender and rounding Ulreich, the Polish striker had his finish cleared off the line by Georg Niedermeier.
The visitors continued to prove a threat intermittently, and easily could have opened the scoring. Hajnal set up Schieber from close range, but the ex-Germany U21 international's volley sailed over the bar. On the half-hour mark, Vedad Ibisevic found himself through on goal and drew a challenge from Weidenfeller, but was found guilty of a dive and no penalty was given.
With both sides having earned their share of chances, Dortmund finally opened the scoring on 33 minutes at the end of a sequence that again began with Gundogan. The ex-Nurnberg man played in Marcel Schmelzer, and after a cross, Kagawa fired home from close range.
Dortmund again were quick out of the gate as the second half began, and Lukasz Piszczek struck the post before Kuba made it 2-0. The right-winger took down a well-weighted long pass from Mats Hummels and tucked his finish below Ulreich to deliver a critical second goal.
At the other end, William Kvist struck the post with a long-ranged blast that marked a massive swing in momentum. On 71 minutes, Stuttgart earned a deserved goal as the impressive Niedermeier flicked to Ibisevic, who fired a superb low strike inside the right post.
Not six minutes later, Schieber out-muscled his marker, shrugged off a pair of challenges and slipped in the equaliser, silencing the home fans. And within moments of the restart, the ex-Germany U21 international latched onto a fine ball from Hajnal and again beat Weidenfeller, remarkably turning the game in the visitors' favour.
But for all their efforts, Stuttgart would seem to have thrown the game. With eight minutes left to play, Hummels found space to shoot from the edge of the box, and struck inside the left post to make it 3-3. The hosts continued to pressure the Swabians, and three minutes before full-time, the substitute Perisic volleyed in the go-ahead strike.
However, Dortmund's come-back would not result in three points. Deep into stoppage time, Gentner capitalised on a defensive mistake, cut to his left, and hammered home an unstoppable finish to make it 4-4.
The result sees Stuttgart advance to fifth place in the Bundesliga table, with 40 points from 28 matches. Dortmund extend their lead to six points atop the standings, but could see that diminished to as few as three before the weekend is over.