Borussia Dortmund defeated Bayern Munich to advance to the Final of the DFB Pokal Cup for the fourth season running. Javi Martinez and Mats Hummels scored for the Bavarians, but the match was ultimately won by the team in yellow, thanks to goals from Reus, Aubameyang and Dembele.
Both teams created many chances in a box-office first half. Dortmund failed to score in just the 4th minute when Aubameyang missed a sitter. He missed an almost certain goal from point blank range from a pinpoint pass from Guerreiro. They later clinched a shocking opener, as Guerreiro pounced upon a careless back pass from Javi Martinez, hit the post but fortunately Reus put the ball in the back of the net, unscathed by the sliding Lahm. Javi Martinez, however, made amends minutes later as he scored a bullet header from Alonso’s corner. Bayern then led through Hummels in the 41st minute, as the former Dortmund man finished a skilful move and cross from Ribery. He showed respect towards his former club with a total lack of celebration.
The entertaining second half saw Dortmund in the driving seat. The drilled chances to scrape the Bayern defence. They got the leveller in the 69th minute when Aubameyang directed Dembele’s sublime cross into the net. Bayern, on the other hand, missed a number of chances, three of them missed by Robben. He could’ve scored in the 58th minute but he shot straight at Burki one on one. He missed a great chance when he shot wide in the 63rd minute, and also missed a probable goal when he hit the post, in the absence of Burki, following a brilliant block by Sven Bender. Just when the tie looked destined for extra time came the brilliance of Dembele. Dembele scored a beautiful curler past Ulreich in the 74th minute, assisted by Reus, which ultimately proved to be the winner.
With this win, Borussia Dortmund become the first team to reach the German Cup Final for the fourth season in a row, also avenging a 4-1 defeat to their arch-rivals, last month, in the process.
Here are the Major Talking Points from the Match-
1. Ribery Stakes Claim
Franck Ribery hasn’t had a good season by his standards. He had not seen action for more than 45 minutes for the previous three consecutive games. Even Carlo Ancelotti hinted in his Pre-Match Press Conference that he could be forced to bench him and play Douglas Costa instead. However, this was a much better display from the French winger, as he was full of purpose and created a number of chances. He even managed an assist in the game, for Hummels, which would no doubt boost his confidence in the final matches of the season.
2. Satisfactory Season for Dortmund?
Borussia Dortmund have not had a great season in the league since they aren’t title contenders this season. However, they managed to reach the last 8 of the Champions League, and have now reached the DFB Pokal Cup Final. Even though they haven’t met their high expectations, there’s still a chance of winning a trophy, which they’ll look to build upon next season. With the array of talent at their disposal, they’re already serious European contenders for the next season.
3. Bayern Miss Neuer
Bayern Munich have sorely missed the best goalkeeper in the world. Manuel Neuer, who sustained a broken foot injury in the UCL Quarter Final against Real Madrid, will be out for at least 8 weeks. They’ve badly missed his calm assurance in the back line, and its pretty obvious that his positioning would’ve helped avert Dortmund’s first goal. He wouldn’t have let in three goals against them as well. Ulreich is a decent back-up, but he needs to improve his performances in order to take advantage of their current goalkeeping situation.
3. Not Even A Double for Outgoing Legends
It is well known by now that Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso are set to retire at the end of the current season. Lahm had wanted to make it a special season by winning the UCL, but we all know how it turned out. Winning the Cup would’ve won them at least a Domestic Double. With this ousting, even that isn’t possible anymore. The only trophy they can now win is the league title, which is what is the least expected from the German Champions. Carlo Ancelotti’s debut season hasn’t been too great, and he would no doubt want to have a better season next year.
4. Dembele- A Future Ballon D’or Winner?
Ousmane Dembele has been pretty outstanding this season. He’s had a great debut season at Dortmund and is being linked to the greatest clubs in the world. The way he smashed his scillinating shot was nothing short of breath-taking. He almost single-handedly won the match for Dortmund, as his pinpoint cross for Aubameyang’s leveller brought them back into the tie. With the season he’s had, the biggest task for Dortmund in the off season would be to hold on to their star asset, who’s almost certain to win a Ballon D’or in his career.