Dortmund: A draw with Hertha Berlin may have come at just the right time for Borussia Dortmund.
The team had failed to score four or more goals in only one of their previous six games — a 3-0 win over Monaco — and had taken a three-point lead in the Bundesliga after playing some outstanding football. Suddenly, after years of Bayern Munich dominance, Dortmund were helping to make German football exciting again.
Lucien Favre’s side were drawing comparisons with Jurgen Klopp’s Bundesliga winners in 2011 that followed up with a league and cup double the next year. The current team, like Klopp’s, are young, hard-working, fast and skilled, brimming with confidence after a series of eye-catching wins.
Dortmund’s 4-0 victory over a tough Atletico Madrid team on Wednesday captured widespread attention. Even Diego Simeone was impressed despite his heaviest defeat since he took over in December 2011.
“They are doing very well at the moment, it is very nice to watch,” the Atletico coach said of Dortmund. “I hope they keep playing like that.”
Klopp, now in charge of Liverpool, sent his congratulations from England.
It was all too much for Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc.
“Enough praise, that’s it,” Zorc said last week. “There’s no reason to get carried away with celebrations.”
Hertha put the brakes on any lingering euphoria on Saturday when Salomon Kalou scored a penalty in injury time to snatch a 2-2 draw for the visitors as Dortmund let a seventh straight victory slip away.
While Dortmund remain the only unbeaten team in the Bundesliga, the draw provides a reality check.
After routing Nuremberg 7-0 on September 26, Dortmund fell two goals behind Bayer Leverkusen in their next match before they turned the game around to win 4-2.
Marco Reus has grown into his role as captain. The Germany forward, now 29, is one of the senior figures in a squad stocked with youth.
The 18-year-old Jadon Sancho became Dortmund’s youngest player to score two goals in a Bundesliga game on Saturday. Apart from conceding the penalty, the 19-year-old Dan-Axel Zagadou has been impressive in defence.
Fellow defender Achraf Hakimi shone with three assists against Atletico. The 19-year-old, on loan from Real Madrid, has been involved in eight goals in his last six competitive games.
Jacob Bruun Larsen has also been impressive since returning from a loan spell at Stuttgart. The 20-year-old Danish midfielder has three goals and three assists, while 22-year-old Christian Pulisic already feels like a veteran in his third full season at the club.
“The mix makes it work,” said Zorc, whose off-season transfer dealings have balanced youth with experience.