Borussia Dortmund 0 Club Brugge 0: Favre's men through but lose ground on Atletico
Borussia Dortmund have secured their progression to the Champions League knockout phase with a 0-0 draw at home to Club Brugge, but the stalemate sees them fall behind Atletico Madrid in the battle for top spot in Group A.
Atletico eased to a 2-0 win over Monaco earlier on Wednesday to move three points clear of Lucien Favre's men and Dortmund failed to respond, slumping to a draw despite dominating and creating some presentable chances.
Christian Pulisic and Marco Reus were particularly culpable, as they both spurned fine opportunities in the first half – the latter not even hitting the target when one-on-one.
Brugge were no more of a threat in the second period, yet defensively they looked at ease for most of the match, holding on to a commendable point which handles the initiative to Atletico.
Pulisic should have put Dortmund ahead after just 11 minutes when he found space in the penalty area, but he shot straight at Ethan Horvath in goal.
Opportunities were otherwise infrequent, but the hosts did go close again just after the half-hour mark – Axel Witsel feeding Reus through on goal, only for the Germany star to miss the target when one-on-one with Horvath.
The match followed a similar pattern after the break and Brugge's Brandon Mechele made a vital intervention early on, blocking a low Reus cross which Pulisic looked destined to convert.
Another low Reus delivery threatened soon after the hour, but this time it flew straight across the goal face, with no Dortmund player able to turn it in.
Favre introduced Jadon Sancho from the bench towards the end and he did well to tee up Paco Alcacer on the edge of the box with four minutes to go, but the Spaniard's strike flew harmlessly over, consigning Dortmund to a draw.
— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) November 28, 2018
What does it mean? Lack of a 'plan B' costs Dortmund
Although in control throughout, for most of the match Dortmund had very little success in trying to play through Brugge. They continued to stick to their principles and, while admirable, that showed a lack of flexibility.
Mechele a sturdy presence
Brugge were on the back foot for most of the match, forced to withstand pressure. The fact they succeeded largely comes down to Mechele, who produced some key blocks and interventions at the back.
Alcacer kept under wraps
Striker Alcacer tried to get himself involved in Dortmund's build-up play, but it just did not work. His touch seemed to be off for most of the game and he rarely got into threatening positions.
Dortmund's final group game is away to Monaco on December 11, following Bundesliga games against Freiburg and bitter rivals Schalke. Brugge's last Champions League fixture will be at home to Atletico Madrid on the same day.