Borussia Dortmund’s winless streak extended to seven games and, with two more points dropped, they find themselves in sixth place after 14 match days and losing further ground on the Champions League spots. To add injury to insult, Peter Bosz was forced to make two substitutions in the first half: Striker Maximilian Philipp picked up a knee injury and midfielder Gonzalo Castro rolled his ankle after a foul by Wendell.
After Wendell was sent off in the 41st minute, the Black and Yellows controlled the match and had 89 percent possession in the second half. Andriy Yarmolenko’s equaliser in the 73rd minute was deserved and the Ruhr Side had the chance to nick the game in stoppage time with a chance falling to Raphael Guerreiro. Considering BVB were outplayed by the hosts when it was 11 vs. 11 and had Roman Burki to thanks for still being in the game, they can be happy with a point against a direct opponent for the top-four spots.
Leverkusen were firmly in the driver’s seat before Wendell’s sliding tackle caught Castro’s ankle and Heiko Herrlich’s squad were deserved leaders through Kevin Volland. The home side are a team on the rise and boast an unbeaten streak of nine games, but that Bosz’s men were outplayed is a concern.
Manager rating out of 10
4 — Bosz stuck with the 3-4-3 shape that he fielded in the derby vs. Schalke and Marcel Schmelzer confirmed that this system gives the players more sense of stability. The manager gets credit for dictating patience in build-up play during the second half, which was probably the right choice given the team’s brittle mental state
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Roman Burki, 10 — Silenced his critics with a masterclass. Burki made six crucial saves to keep his team in the game and one second-half effort, one-against-one vs. Volland, was crucial.
DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 5 — The central defender stood his ground, kept a cool head in most situations and had a few vital interceptions.
DF Neven Subotic, 4 — Considering it was only his second match of the season, he made the most of it. Leverkusen’s goal was due to his mistake, though.
DF Marcel Schmelzer, 5 — As left central defender rather than full-back, Schmelzer was less in danger to be overrun on his side due to a deeper positioning. It suits him well.
MF Christian Pulisic, 4 — The U.S. international won’t be happy with his performance. His decision-making looked hasty and he moved to right wing-back after Castro’s injury.
MF Julian Weigl, 3 — After a performance that was rather uninspiring, Weigl was brought off after 65 minutes even with Nuri Sahin sitting on a yellow.
MF Nuri Sahin, 5 — Sahin had a few spectacular diagonal passes but, more often, the midfield veteran should have opted for the simple ball.
MF Gonzalo Castro, 3 — Started as right wing-back and was owned by Leon Bailey. But he deaprted in the 41st minute after being brutally hacked by Wendell. The VAR intervened and sent off the Leverkusen centre-back.
MF Raphael Guerreiro, 6 — The left wing-back showed Weigl and Sahin how it’s done in the 73rd minute, popping up in space with a defence-splitting pass toward Andre Schurrle that led to Dortmund’s goal.
FW Andriy Yarmolenko, 6 — Too often the Ukrainian forward tries to dribble and slows down play when he could keep combinations going with a layoff. His goal, however, was well-taken.
FW Maximilian Philipp, NR — Many wanted to see how Philipp would work out as a No. 9 in the wake of the suspended Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but the 23-year-old picked up a nasty knee injury and was carried after eight minutes.
FW Andre Schurrle, 6 — Came on for the injured Philipp and picked up a fine assist for Yarmolenko but could have dropped deeper more often to instigate link-up play and draw defenders out of position.
MF Shinji Kagawa, 6 — The Japanese international was brought on for Castro and reinvigorated Dortmund’s attacking play with his creative spark.
MF Mahmoud Dahoud, 6 — The midfielder replaced Weigl and, while he has the most assists in the Bundesliga for Dortmund despite limited playing time, he couldn’t create the golden opportunity.
Stefan Buczko covers Borussia Dortmund for ESPN FC. Twitter: @StefanBuczko.