Borussia Dortmund's chances of qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages hang by a thread after a costly 1-1 Group H draw against APOEL at Signal Iduna Park.
A disappointing draw by the same scoreline in Cyprus last time out left Dortmund with just one point from three matches and knowing that realistically a win was needed to keep alive their hopes of reaching the knockout stages.
Raphael Guerreiro, making his first start of the season after a broken foot, deservedly put Dortmund ahead in a first half that they completely dominated, with Shinji Kagawa and Omer Toprak missing great chances.
But their failure to make the most of those opportunities was punished when Mickael Pote scored with one of APOEL's few sights of goal early in the second half.
The hosts pushed forward desperately for the win after the break with Toprak seeing an effort headed off the line and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hitting the crossbar, but Peter Bosz's men fell short.
Dortmund consequently sit five points adrift of second-place Real Madrid, who were beaten by Tottenham on Wednesday, with only two games to go.
Even wins over Spurs and Los Blancos may not be enough to see them through, with Dortmund now staring down the barrel of elimination ahead of their crucial Klassiker against domestic rivals Bayern Munich on Saturday.
APOEL also only have two points and face a similarly daunting task if they are to seal an unlikely place in the last 16, but consecutive draws against the Bundesliga side mean they have already exceeded expectations and remain right in the hunt for a Europa League spot.