Aubameyang, Pulisic and Gotze among the strugglers for fading Dortmund
DORTMUND -- Borussia Dortmund's tumble continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw by APOEL Nicosia at the Westfalenstadion in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
Raphael Guerreiro, who made his first starting appearance of the season, put the hosts 1-0 up in the 29th minute. It should have been a straightforward win from then on for the Black and Yellows but Nicosia's Mickael Pote finished off a counter-attack with a shot on the turn in the 51st minute. Barring a header against the woodwork by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Dortmund hardly created any threat in the second half.
It was the fifth winless match for Peter Bosz' side out of the last six and Bayern Munich are looming next on Saturday in the Bundesliga; the upcoming international break could be a very uncomfortable one should they add another loss. As for the Champions League, Dortmund supporters can hope for a third-place finish at best if they beat Nicosia on goal difference; that sums things up.
BVB look as though they have at least saved some energy for Saturday's Klassiker.
One could not help but sense a lack of tension. Due to Dortmund's bad start in Champions League, the buzz was already gone before the game had kicked off. It felt like a preseason friendly. To make matters worse, the guests once again reminded the Ruhr side that it does not take much to score against them shortly after the break. Whistles on the main stand ensued as fans aired their discontent.
Manager rating out of 10
3 -- Another bad night for Bosz. With almost every match since the beginning of October, Dortmund are taking a step back rather than forward. The positional play once again looked all over the place and static in a match where the hosts enjoyed almost 77 percent possession.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Roman Burki, 4 -- After giving away penalties in consecutive league matches and a massive blunder in the reverse fixture, Burki had hoped for a quiet night. He had to pick the ball out of his own net for the eighth time in the Champions League.
DF Marc Bartra, 3 -- The centre-back was once again deployed as stop-gap solution for the injured right-back Lukasz Piszczek. Even after getting a few games under his belt at that position he still looks out of place.
DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 4 -- He was waving his arms around in frustration in the second half with no vertical passing option.
DF Omer Toprak, 4 -- Made his return from injury. Not much else of note can be said about Toprak's performance.
DF Raphael Guerreiro, 7 -- The left-back underscored how much of an asset he can be in Bosz' system, creating a lot of attacking threat with darting runs. It was no surprise that he was the first to put his name on the scoresheet.
MF Shinji Kagawa, 5 -- The Japanese midfielder set up Dortmund's opener in the 29th minute with a pass vertically into the channel between the centre-backs for Guerreiro to put away.
MF Julian Weigl, 4 -- Dropped a bit deeper than a No. 6 usually would under Bosz. His pre-assist led to the 1-0 lead as he sped up the play with a quick pass. It's something Dortmund need more often.
MF Mario Gotze, 3 -- The opponent made sure that Gotze always had at least one orange shirt at his heels whenever he got the ball.
FW Christian Pulisic, 3 -- Pinned to line on the right side, Pulisic was not as involved as he would probably hope for but on the flipside he had space to run into when he got the ball.
FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 3 -- Aubameyang's slump continues as he could not convert one of his promising opportunities. He has to snap out of his funk quickly.
FW Maximilian Philipp, 4 -- Philipp tested the keeper just before coming off with a cross that turned into a shot. In the 65 minutes beforehand, he made a few good runs and helped out at the back with a vital interception.
FW Andrey Yarmolenko, 3 -- The Ukrainian international replaced Philipp in the 65th minute but did not do much to help his team get back into the lead.
DF Marcel Schmelzer, NR -- Came on for the tired Guerreiro after 72 minutes but could not replicate the Portuguese's swagger.
FW Andre Schurrle, NR -- Was thrown on the field in the 86th minute. He recorded three touches and one shot.
Stefan Buczko covers Borussia Dortmund for ESPN FC. Twitter: @StefanBuczko.