BERLIN, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Bundesliga heavyweights Borussia Dortmund teetered on the brink of elimination in the German Cup first round against second-tier Greuther Fuerth before staging a late comeback to win 2-1 after extra time on Monday.
Marco Reus got the winner in stoppage time at the end of the second half of extra time, after new signing Axel Witsel had levelled for the Ruhr valley club in the fifth minute of second-half added time, as coach Lucien Favre endured a nervous debut.
Dortmund who will compete in the Champions League group stage this season, looked on their way out of the competition when Sebastian Ernst scored for the hosts against the run of play in the 77th minute.
But Witsel grabbed an equaliser with a volley seconds before the final whistle and Reus saved their blushes with a powerful shot to secure victory five days before the Bundesliga season starts.
Dortmund, who spent a reported 70 million euros ($80.06 million) on new signings in the close season, had the upper hand from the start and should have gone into the break with a lead of several goals at least.
Reus, Mahmoud Dahoud and Marius Wolf all had their chances but could not put the visitors ahead in the first 45 minutes.
It was a similar story after the break with Christian Pulisic hitting the crossbar and the visitors squandering more chances before they were punished for their wastefulness.
Ernst slotted in from close range after a fine Fuerth effort down the wing and a short cross inside the box from Daniel Keita-Ruel.
But late goals from Belgian international Witsel and Reus ensured Dortmund advanced to the second round.
Fellow Bundesliga clubs Hertha Berlin and Freiburg also progressed after edging past third division club Eintracht Braunschweig 2-1 and Cottbus on penalties respectively.
On Saturday, holders Eintracht Frankfurt suffered a shock exit at lower-tier club Ulm, while Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich were made to sweat for a 1-0 win over amateurs Dorchtersens/Assel.
$1 = 0.8744 euros Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris