Reus, Dortmund fortunate to salvage a point at Cologne
Borussia Dortmund's sluggish away form continued as they dropped two points in a 1-1 draw against FC Cologne. A late Marco Reus equaliser salvaged a point in what was another uninspired Champions League hangover.
The only positive for Dortmund must be the point they got out of a truly horrific performance.
The Ruhr side looked sharp in the first 10 minutes, but afterwards looked like an uninspired team in their trademark slump away from home following a European night.
Apart from the black and yellow colours there was little resemblance to the team that dazzled Real Madrid in a 2-2 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night.
Dortmund conceded their token set-piece goal after 28 minutes to allow the hosts to make the most out of very little attacking flair. On the other end, BVB created next to nothing despite having the grand share of possession.
And there might be another problem looming for this team, as they did not leave the impression that they left everything on the field on Saturday. Dortmund supporters are very forgiving when it comes to bad performances as long as the effort was there, but the calm build-up play that predominantly yielded in tame half field crosses didn't do much to impress the yellow clad supporters in the ranks.
To add insult to injury, Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel had to make three substitutions due to injury.
Manager rating out of 10
3 -- It was Groundhog day for Dortmund, who per usual looked uninspired on the road after the mid-week European match. Thomas Tuchel will have to take his fair share of blame for that as many players looked unfit to start in this game. With Christian Pulisic and Emre Mor at hand, it's hard to understand why 19-year-old Ousmane Dembele started his third consecutive game after Tuchel himself analysed that the crammed schedule takes a massive toll on the young players.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Roman Weidenfeller, 5 -- Looked a little slow to react when Artjoms Rudnevs scored a free header from a set-piece in the 28th minute but ultimately couldn't do much about it. The 36-year-old might have been stunned at the space the Latvian striker was awarded. In the second half, he did well to bring Anthony Modeste out wide in a one-on-one situation to keep his team in the game.
DF Lukasz Piszczek, 5 -- Started on the right in the back three, but had to come off after 26 due to injury.
DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 5 -- When even arguably the best and consistent player on the pitch has a bad game for his standards, there is trouble. The Greek centre-back started the game with a bruised foot and had to leave the pitch in the 75th minute after suffering several kicks.
DF Matthias Ginter, 6 -- Without Ginter's passes from the back, this match would have been even worse for Dortmund.
MF Erik Durm, 3 -- Lost goal scorer Rudnevs and otherwise hardly contributed to the game in his first start of the season since returning from a knee injury.
MF Gonzalo Castro, 3 -- Castro was subbed off in the 52nd minute due to injury. Two minutes earlier he played a careless ball into midfield with Modeste appearing in front of Weidenfeller moments later.
MF Julian Weigl, 4 -- Weigl's poor patch of form continues.
MF Marcel Schmelzer, 5 -- Schmelzer's heavy touch gave away the set-piece that designated the Dortmund downfall. It should have been a side note, but goes to show how few mistakes BVB can afford as the danger of a dead ball situation is looming at all times.
FW Ousmane Dembele, 5 -- After a bright 10 minutes, the 19-year-old looked out of shape and not quite up for the match. However, he did well to keep the ball in play to initiate BVB's equaliser. Over 90 minutes there is far more he could have done. The blame is partly on Tuchel as Dembele showed in BVB's 3-3 draw in Ingolstadt that he has trouble processing after mentally straining Champions League matches.
FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 3 -- Hardly had any service in the match which made the Gabonese striker fairly ineffective. Let his anger out on referee Felix Zwayer after the match as he tweeted out: "What a Nice referee" next to an angry emoji.
FW Marco Reus, 7 -- Scored a goal, was on the end of Dortmund's best - although there were not many -- chances. The 27-year-old saved his team some blushes with the equaliser in the 90th minute.
DF Marc Bartra, 5 -- Had to replace the injured Piszczek after 26 minutes in Dortmund's back three. The Spaniard had an average game.
MF Sebastian Rode, 4 -- The €12m signing that arrived from Bayern Munich in the summer is more and more shaping into a bad transfer. The 26-year-old made some vital interceptions to prevent the hosts a couple of glaring counter-attacks, but going forward he is not the player Dortmund need at this point of the season.
FW Adrian Ramos, NR -- After Tuchel saw that his team was mostly operating with crosses to create danger against Cologne's extremely well-organised shape he brought on Adrian Ramos, whose cutback in the 90th minute set up Reus for the equaliser.
Stefan Buczko covers Borussia Dortmund for ESPN FC. Twitter: @StefanBuczko.