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Borussia Dortmund 3-2 (ET) Union Berlin: A scrappy win for BVB in extra time

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Pulisic, Philipp and Reus secure BVB a spot in the next round

Tottenham Hotspur v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

A tricky game for Dortmund who need extra time for the second time in the DFB Cup against a 2.Bundesliga side to qualify for the next round.

A slow start to the game

Union Berlin was aggressive from the get go and tried to disrupt BVB’s build up and they were somewhat successful doing it. Lucien Favre’s heavily rotated side lacked any sort of rhythm early on which was to be expected with a lot of players that hadn’t seen the pitch much recently. Luckily for Dortmund, Berlin’s early aggression didn’t really lead to any good chances for the 2.Bundesliga side. To make matters worse Favre had to make an early substitution when Diallo had to come off with a groin injury in the 14th minute.

The black and yellows settled down a bit after about 20 minutes and got the game under control and dominated possession but they lacked creativity against well organised Berlin defense. BVB’s right side with Hakimi and Pulisic was the best asset going forward and creating chances.

Surprisingly Dortmund’s lead came from the left side, where Mahmoud Dahoud had a moment of brilliance with a great cross to set up a Shinji Kagawa header that was barely saved by Berlin’s goalkeeper. However Christian Pulisic was there to get the tap in and give BVB the lead which they took to half time.

BVB’s defensive problems cost them

Dortmund started the second half like they finished the first, with a lot of possession but not much in terms of goal scoring opportunities.

That would come back to bite them in the 63rd minute when BVB tried to press high but failed to get the ball. Pulisic was out of position and Weigl had to move to the right side of the pitch but nobody covered for him in the center of the pitch where Zulj got the ball and had acres of space. Zagadou moved up but that left Polter alone in the box who converted the equalizer. Polter was relatively alone nevertheless the shot still could’ve been saved but Hitz was too slow to react.

Dortmund increased their efforts on offense after that and got the lead back after a counter. Zagadou won an aerial duel in BVB’s half and the ball ended up with Kagawa, he passed the ball to Pulisic who set up Philipp who gave Dortmund the lead with a stunning shot.

The joy wasn’t for long though as Union scored the 2-2 in the 88th minute to send the game into extra time. Until then BVB looked in control but once again individual mistakes doomed them.

A late pen saves it for Dortmund

The extra time didn’t start of great with a great chance for Union Berlin. Thankfully Hitz made up for his less than stellar play with a great save to keep the game level.

It looked like we would be moving to e penalty shootout but Dortmund got lucky in the last minute of the game. A good cross from Hakimi created a dangerous situation in Berlin’s box and Hübner’s only way to defend Pulisic was to pull him down which led to a penalty and a second yellow for Hübner. Reus had no trouble converting the penalty kick and sent Dortmund through to the next round.

Other observations

  • The B-team is the B-team for a reason. Players like Hitz, Weigl, Kagawa and Wolf had a chance to show that they deserve to play more but none of them was really convincing. Weigl was solid but didn’t control the game like Witsel does, Kagawa seemed extremely rusty, Hitz didn’t look good on both goals and Wolf was invisible for the entire game.
  • BVB is running out of defenders. Piszczek, Schmelzer, Toljan and Akanji were already missing and Diallo was subbed of. In addition Toprak looked shaky after his return from injury and Zagadou and Hakimi definitely need a break Favre will have to find a solution for the next games.
  • The officiating was horrendous. This was the second Berlin team within a few days that just fouled at every occasion and the referee let it happen