Borussia Dortmund currently sit at the top of the Bundesliga, but FC Augsburg pushed them all the way in a breathtaking encounter at the Signal Iduna Park. Twice Lucien Favre's side came from behind, sealing the win deep in injury time as super-sub Spanish striker Paco Alcacer came off the bench to complete a stunning second-half hat-trick.
After their convincing 3:0 win over AS Monaco in the Champions League in midweek, Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre made four changes to his starting eleven. Lukasz Piszczek, Thomas Delaney, Paco Alcacer and the injured Marius Wolf were all benched or left out, with Achraf Hakimi, Julian Weigl, Philipp Max and Jacob Bruun Larsen lining up at the kickoff.
FC Augsburg coach Manuel Baum had little reason to change a winning formula are the 4:1 win over SC Freiburg last Sunday, and his changes were more preventative that anything else. Jonathan Schmid was benched and Marco Richter was rested, and were replaced by Rafael Framberger and fan favourite André Hahn.
The team lineups produced an interesting curio. For Dortmund, there was Max Philipp. For Augsburg, Philipp Max.
Augsburg ahead at half-time
In confident mood, the Bavarians immediately took the game to their more illustrious and in-form opponents. Both teams created early chances, but on 22 minutes Baum's team took a surprise lead. A cross from Max was only half intercepted by defender Jean-Axel Zagadou, and Icelandic international Alfreð Finnbogason forced the ball over the line, nutmegging Dortmund 'keeper Roman Bürki.
The goal seemed to spark the home side into action, with plenty of chances being created. There were two in the space of as many minutes. First Hakimi forced FCA 'keeper Andreas Luthe into a good save (24.), and a Zagadou header was cleared off the goal line (25.)
Try as they might, the home side could not force a way through. Augsburg were solid and resilient, and must have thought that they were in with a good chance of taking at least point away with them - if not all three.
Favre's magic touch
For the first quarter of an hour of the second half, things continued as the first half had ended. Both teams were sparring in the middle of the pitch, and there was little indication of what was to follow. Then, on the hour mark, the Dortmund coach made the first of what would be three inspired substitutions.
Lucien Favre appears to have found the magic touch in recent weeks, particularly with his being able to change games off the bench. With every substitution, something has been happening. How long it will last is in the lap of the gods, but the Swiss-born coach is on the crest of a wave at the moment.
Max Philipp was subbed out for Paco Alcacer, and within two minutes of his arrival the summer signing found the back of the net after some swift approach play by the current assist king Jadon Sancho.
Alcacer's equaliser was met with relief by the home crowd, but it was just the appetiser for what would be a glut of goals.
Punch and counterpunch
If die Borussen thought that they had swung the momentum back in their direction, Augsburg thought otherwise. The excellent Finnbogason hit the crossbar just a minute after Alacacer's goal, and Philipp Max made the most of some slack Dortmund defending to put Baum's men back in front (71.)
As the clock ticked into the final ten minutes, Augsburg looked more than good value for the three points.
Dortmund's Raphael Guerreiro had only been on the field for just over ten minutes, when he caught out the Augsburg defence with quickly-taken free-kick. On the end of it was that man Alcacer, who levelled the scores for the second time. By now, it was end to end madness, the sort of game that makes the Bundesliga such an exciting league to watch.
With the wind now firmly in their sails, Favre's men pressed hard for all three points. When the returning Mario Götze (Favre's third late substitute) collected Hakimi's pass to beat Luthe from a tight angle with just six minutes remaining, Dortmund had finally got their noses in front.
The final exchange
Any other team would have been down and out by now, but not Augsburg.
Regardless of coach or personnel, die Fuggerstädter have built a reputation of being a bunch of terriers who do not know when they are beaten. Just three minutes after falling behind, Austrian Michael Gregoritsch leaped high to meet Max's corner and make it 3:3.
Neither side deserved to lose, but fate would play the cruellest of tricks on the visitors right at the death. Deep, deep into additional time - six minutes after the end of the ninety - Dortmund won a free-kick just outside the penalty area. With what was effectively the final kick of the match, Alacacer swept the ball past Luthe and into the back of the net.
In one stroke with his lethal right boot, the Spaniard had sealed his hat-trick, secured the three points, and broken Bavarian hearts. Not just in Augsburg, but in Munich too.
Was für ein Spiel!
Result: Borussia Dortmund 4 (Paco Alcacer 62., 80., 90.+6., Götze 84.) FC Augsburg 3 (Finnbogason 22., Max 71., Gregoritsch 87.)