(London Post) Goals from Castro, Reus and Mkhitaryan confirm a German Cup final for Borussia Dortmund in Tuchel’s first season at the club. They will now face Bayern Munich after they beat Werder Bremen 2-0.
(Castro 21′, Reus 75′, Mkhitayran 83′)
Borussia Dortmund picked up their spot in next month’s German Cup final with a resounding 3-0 win over Hertha Berlin in the German capital on Wednesday night. Despite the best efforts of Pal Dardai’s side, the home team were helpless in their attempts to deliver a final in their home town.
Thomas Tuchel’s side kicked off the coach’s first ever semifinal in perfect spirits with a domination of possession that saw large chunks of the opening 45 minutes spent inside the Hertha half. With quick, attacking football Dortmund pinned the capital side on the edge of their own box as they prodded each wing for an opening.
Dortmund didn’t have to wait long to convert their impressive supremacy into an opening goal, when Mkhitaryan played Shinji Kagawa through on the right wing just 20 minutes in to the game. With one touch the Japanese international pulled the ball back across the Hertha box for Reus to fire a shot off a defender before Castro casually converted the rebound with a placed shot.
Reus’ composure in front of goal continued to let him down, when just five minutes after the opening goal he punted a shot straight over the Hertha crossbar despite time and space directly in front of goal.
Indeed, it was this inability to either score or pick out the final ball that stopped Dortmund from finishing off the tie in the opening half as they threw countless attacks at the Hertha goal. A regular occurrence which almost cost them their lead when a rare chance for the home side saw Jens Hegeler get a shot away inside the Dortmund box just moments before the break. The midfielder’s shot lacked pace or accuracy and comfortably rolled in to Roman Burki’s arms but it was a minor warning for Dortmund. As they learned in Anfield a week before, a game of football can turn on its head at any moment.
Yet the visitors took little notice of the possible upset and started the second half exactly as they had played out the first, dominating possession but not exactly putting Hertha under any great strain. Rune Jarstein may have already fished the ball out of his net on the night but he hadn’t been forced in to any saves since the opening goal.
It wasn’t until shortly after the hour mark that Dortmund were forced to step up a gear when Hertha forward Salomon Kalou missed a golden opportunity to tap in at the back post after John Anthony Brooks headed the ball his way from a corner. Unmarked and in front of goal the striker would have surely scored had his outstretched leg got on the end of the speeding ball.
If that was Dortmund’s second warning then they didn’t dare wait around for a third. Adrian Ramos and Mkhitaryan forced fantastic saves from Jarstein in quick succession before the Ivorian striker took a final stab at pulling the game back from Dortmund’s grasp with a diving header in the 73rd minute that curled just wide of Burki’s back post. Yet by that point Tuchel’s side were intent on ensuring another game didn’t pass them by and just two minutes later they had doubled their lead.
Again it was Kagawa who stepped up to pull the crucial string that unlocked Hertha’s defense, with a cross that found Reus once again unmarked in the Hertha six-yard box. Yet unlike both chances in the first half, the German international got his strike just right and cushioned the ball into the far corner of Jarstein’s net.
Another goal and assist for Reus to match a stellar performance against Liverpool the week before, suggests that the German international may be turning his form around just in time for the conclusion to Dortmund’s season.
A welcome sign for Tuchel as he now leads Dortmund to a German Cup final in his first season at the club against none other than Pep Guardiola’s Bavarian champions.