Mesut Ozil curled in an 89th-minute free-kick to rescue a draw for Real Madrid and secure a point that not only virtually guarantees their passage into the knock-out phase of the Champions League but keeps alive their chances of finishing on the top of Group D.
The half-time introduction of Michael Essien and particularly José Callejón changed Madrid after a first half in which they had been overrun. Borussia Dortmund produced another impressive performance that reinforced José Mourinho's insistence that they are genuine candidates to win the Champions League.
With two games remaining, Madrid are one point behind the German champions, three ahead of Ajax and five ahead of Manchester City. Mourinho had insisted that in a group this strong, any point is a good one. Clinched in the final minute, this was certainly a good point; against this side, all the more so. Mourinho said that, having had a goal disallowed, it did not feel like a victory to him. He also noted that the two times he has won the Champions League his team finished second in their group.
"I'm sure we will still remember this game in 10 years' time," said Jürgen Klopp, the Dormund manager. Mourinho added: "It was a great game. As a fan I would prefer to see a game like this than the games in some other groups that are like Europa League games."
Dortmund were soon moving the ball with speed and intent, finding space behind Madrid's full-backs, left and right. Soon they had the lead too. This is a fast, mobile team and one that, in Robert Lewandowski, has a pivot off whom the attack can hinge and a magnet that draws out centre-backs.
The movement around him is swift and deadly, a line of three comprising Mario Götze, Marco Reus and Kevin Grosskreutz always alert to the spaces created, determined to dash beyond the Polish striker.
Twice Lewandowski headed on; twice Dortmund scored. "We committed two bad defensive errors," Mourinho said. "When you play against good teams and you make mistakes, they kill you."
First Lewandowski headed Neven Subotic's clipped ball into the right-hand channel and Reus dashed past, inside Alvaro Arbeloa, helping the ball on with his chest. One bounce, two, and as the ball sat up Reus struck it rightfooted with the outside of his boot, and it swung away from Iker Casillas and into the top corner.
Pepe equalised with a header but, just before half-time, Lewandowski was there again, nodding on a long punt from the goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller. Grosskreutz lifted it past Pepe and Götze dashed into the area, tracked by Arbeloa. As the two men came together the ball squeezed past Casillas.
Mourinho made two changes at half- time that changed the game. Michael Essien came on for Luka Modric and Gonzalo Higuaín was replaced by Callejón.
He would prove Madrid's greatest threat, Mourinho describing him afterwards as "fresh and dynamic". He scored immediately but the linesman's flag was up for an offside that was extremely tight. ‚"I was told it wasn't offside," Klopp admitted. "We scored three goals," Mourinho noted. Callejón's next shot flashed just wide, then he was smothered by Weidenfeller and he had an effort cleared of the line by Grosskreutz.
Madrid scored twice in the final three minutes against City but it appeared that this time they would not find the way back. But then in the final minute, Callejón was pulled down five yards outside the area. Cristiano Ronaldo stood over it. Instead, Ozil took it, the ball curling and dropping into the net right by the post.