IN­TRIGU­ING EN­COUNTER

Dort­mund set up Ger­man Cup semi against Bay­ern

New Straits Times - - Sport -

CHRIS­TIAN Pulisic set Borus­sia Dort­mund on their way to a com­fort­able 3-0 win over thirdtier Sport­fre­unde Lotte on Tues­day that took them into the semi­fi­nals of the Ger­man Cup.

All the goals came in the sec­ond half, with Ous­mane Dem­bele and Mar­cel Sch­melzer net­ting af­ter Pulisic’s opener to take Thomas Tuchel’s team into a last-four tie against Bay­ern Mu­nich.

“It couldn’t have been a bet­ter evening for us,” Dort­mund mid­fielder Gon­zalo Cas­tro told ARD af­ter the game. “Lotte are a very good team, and we said be­fore the game that we just wanted to get to the semi-fi­nals.”

The orig­i­nal fix­ture was can­celled two weeks ago, af­ter Lotte’s pitch was deemed un­playable by of­fi­cials. The resched­uled game took place in the neu­tral venue of Osnabrueck.

Min­nows Lotte had al­ready beaten two Bun­desliga op­po­nents in a su­perb cup run this sea­son. Af­ter a bright start to the game, it seemed their fairy­tale might con­tinue.

Dort­mund, though, proved to be too strong for the home side. Even with­out their in­jured star striker Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang, they over­pow­ered Lotte in the sec­ond half.

Lotte be­gan bravely, cre­at­ing sev­eral half-chances in the open­ing 15 min­utes. The best op­por­tu­nity fell to Tim Wen­del, who was de­nied by goal­keeper Ro­man Buerki in a one-on-one sit­u­a­tion.

Dort­mund posed lit­tle threat in the first half, cre­at­ing only a hand­ful of chances. Long-range ef­forts from Gon­zalo Cas­tro and Raphael Guer­reiro were as close as they came to goal in the first half.

“We took a bit of time to get into the game, but we didn’t make any ma­jor mis­takes be­fore half­time,” Dort­mund cap­tain Sch­melzer told ARD. “Then we put in a very good per­for­mance in the sec­ond half.”

The away side picked up, with both Shinji Ka­gawa and Matthias Gin­ter com­ing close just af­ter half-time.

Just be­fore the hour mark, US in­ter­na­tional Pulisic, 18, broke the dead­lock for Dort­mund. Af­ter a fine run into the fi­nal third, Dem­bele re­leased Pulisic in the penalty area, and the Amer­i­can slot­ted the ball through the legs of the goal­keeper.

Hav­ing scored, Dort­mund took con­trol. Schuer­rle dou­bled the lead in the 66th minute, vol­ley­ing in from close range.

With Lotte run­ning out of en­ergy, it was Dort­mund who dic­tated the fi­nal 20 min­utes. Dem­bele forced a good save from Benedikt Fer­nan­dez in the 77th minute, and scooped a wild shot over the cross­bar min­utes later.

A long-range ef­fort from Bernd Rosinger and a half-hearted penalty ap­peal was all the home side could muster in the sec­ond half. In the 83rd minute, Sch­melzer shat­tered all hopes of a come­back, mak­ing it 3-0 with a pow­er­ful free-kick.

“We were dan­ger­ous in the first half, and we re­ally got be­hind each other in the sec­ond half. But it’s very dif­fi­cult to keep such qual­ity play­ers away from goal for 90 min­utes,” said Lotte coach Is­mail Ata­lan.

Dort­mund and Bay­ern will meet next month in a re­peat of last sea­son’s fi­nal, which Bay­ern won on penal­ties. Borus­sia Moenchenglad­bach will face Ein­tra­cht Frankfurt in the other semi-fi­nal. AFP

EPA PIC

Dort­mund's Mar­cel Sch­melzer (sec­ond from left) cel­e­brates with team­mates af­ter scor­ing the third goal against Sport­fre­unde Lotte in the Ger­man Cup quar­ter-fi­nal on Tues­day.

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