Dortmund, Ousmane Dembele grab historic win in German Cup vs. Bayern
Borussia Dortmund pulled off a historic win on Wednesday night, moving into the German cup final for the fourth consecutive time with an impressive come-from-behind win in Munich. If anyone deserved a 3-2 victory over the league leaders at the Allianz Arena, it's this team.
Dortmund were "menalitätsmonsters" ("mentality monsters), the German term describing an strong mental performance. Thomas Tuchel's men showed exactly that. BVB had taken the lead through Marco Reus after 19 minutes but it was all Bayern from there. The hosts turned the game around by halftime with Javi Martinez redeeming himself for a bad giveaway in the 28th minute and Mats Hummels scoring the 41st minute.
At this point it looked as though the hosts were in full control of the match and it was only a matter of time until they scored the goal that would put the game out of Dortmund's reach. But Robert Lewandowski and Arjen Robben didn't convert their sitters and Carlo Ancelotti's side lost structure about the hour mark.
The Ruhr side were ruthless with what little opportunities Bayern gave them and turned the match around, showing incredible grit and determination that cannot be rated highly enough in the lights of the attack on BVB's team bus just a fortnight ago. Against Eintracht Frankfurt, the Black and Yellows will be the towering favourites to lift the German cup at the end of May.
As mentioned before, there was a long stint in the match where Bayern were bossing the match, leaving no space to breath for the guests (the hosts enjoyed 69 percent of possession). Dortmund will have to work on their ball retention in those kind of situations going forward or otherwise they will always have to rely on their luck to grab a result in Munich.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- "Both will only go all-in in the cup match," Tuchel said ahead of BVB's league match two and a half weeks ago. The BVB coach could raise the stakes with a few players coming back from injury since the 4-1 loss, first and foremost Marco Reus. Dortmund started with a 4-4-2 setup with Ousmane Dembele to assist Lukasz Piszczek. It didn't work and Tuchel made a change at halftime by bringing on Durm, which toned down Ribery and Lahm on Bayern's left side.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Roman Burki, 8 -- Was without a chance for either of Bayern's goals but stood tall against Lewandowski and Robben twice to keep his team in the game. However, a misplaced pass to Julian Weigl nearly undid all his heroics in the second half with Sven Bender coming to the rescue.
DF Lukasz Piszczek, 6 -- Often left alone to defend against Franck Ribery and he struggled prior to the France international's assist in the 41st minute. Yet he battled his way back into the game until his substitution in the 80th minute.
DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 7 -- Somehow not booked after many clever fouls that stopped Bayern's attack.
DF Sven Bender, 9 -- His extended leg saved Dortmund twice. A goalkeeper-like reflex denied Robben from nine yards out what surely would have meant the final for Bayern in the 63rd minute, as Bender's foot just tipped the ball against the inside of the post and back into play after the aforementioned Burki lapse. Maybe the moment of the match.
DF Marcel Schmelzer, 7 -- Only once was Robben allowed to cut inside and release his trademark corner aiming for the top left corner of BVB's goal. That was down to Schmelzer's effort.
MF Gonzalo Castro, 6 -- Subbed off at halftime due to a tactical change. Castro showed a gritty performance but did little to help Dortmund keep the ball in the Bavarians' most dominant performance.
MF Julian Weigl, 7 -- Looked phased in the first half at times but the boy from 1860 Munich's youth academy not only got stuck in but helped Dortmund reclaim some much needed structure and possession after the break.
MF Raphael Guerreiro, 8 -- Intercepted Martinez's back-pass in the 19th minute. Sven Ullreich could deflect the ball against the post but Reus was there to put it over the line. Only a team that is bold enough to press Bayern so far up the field can reap those rewards. He also picked off the retiring Philipp Lahm to initiate the counter-attack that led to Dortmund's third goal.
MF Ousmane Dembele, 8 -- It's an absolute nightmare to give Ousmane Dembele a fair rating, as he was completely besides himself for 69 minutes only to turn the game on its head within five minutes with some absolute master class. First his cross found Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the equaliser, and then Dembele scored himself five minutes later, letting David Alaba slide out of his way with a dummy before smashing it under the crossbar.
FW Marco Reus, 8 -- Deemed as a "difference maker" by sporting director Michael Zorc and Reus did exactly that, not only by scoring and assisting but also by his determination to bring the game to Bayern whenever there was an opportunity.
FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 7 -- Came close to scoring already after four minutes but scored his first goal in the DFB Pokal this season in the second half after Bayern just stepped off the gas. It was the game's decisive moment.
MF Erik Durm, 8 -- His introduction as a wing-back in the second half stabilised BVB's right side and it was Durm's intelligent pass that made Dembele's assist for the equaliser possible. The 24-year-old was a game changer.
DF Christian Pulisic, NR -- Replaced Piszczek with 10 minutes left in regular time and threw in everything he could as Bayern were trying to get back into the game. Denied Douglas Costa with a sliding tackle in his own box in the dying minutes, summing up BVB's determination to reach the cup final.
DF Matthias Ginter, NR -- Tuchel looked in shock as he saw the fourth official displaying five minutes of added time. Ginter was tapped to play those five minutes, replacing a tired Reus as Dortmund saw out their victory.
Stefan Buczko covers Borussia Dortmund for ESPN FC. Twitter: @StefanBuczko.