Borussia Dortmund’s hopes at the treble are over. It took 120 minutes and a round of penalties, but Werder Bremen became the first team to beat Borussia Dortmund at the Westfalenstadion this season, and have knocked Dortmund out of the DFB Cup.
The game could not have gotten off to a worse start. With only four and a half minutes on the clock, Werder Bremen won a free kick in the Dortmund half. Max Kruse whipped a low cross in, and Milot Rashica managed to get a toe to the ball to deflect the ball into the net.
While Borussia Dortmund spent much of the first half in control of the game, the Black and Yellows couldn’t actually create much in terms of offense: after forty minutes, Dortmund hadn’t registered a shot. However, their luck changed when Axel Witsel drew a foul near the top of the box. Marco Reus stepped up to the ball as if to say, “Anything you can do, I can do better.” He curled a beautiful direct free kick into the top-left corner of the net, and Dortmund were level going into the second half.
When Dortmund came out for the second, half, it was revealed that Marco Reus has been subbed off for Paco Alcacer. According to BVB reporter Stefan Buczko, Reus had come off the pitch at the end of the first half clutching his groin.
While Oelschlagel could have done better on Max Kruse’s first set piece, he made a vital stop in the 89th minute that more than made up for it. Kruse’s kick took a deflection off the wall such that Oelschlagel looked like he would dive right by it. Instead, he shot out his right arm and muscled the ball over the bar. It was an absolutely phenomenal save.
Moments later, Dortmund came inches away from taking the lead. BVB burst down the field and won a corner kick: on the ensuing set-piece, Thomas Delaney nicked a looping header off the crossbar. Unfortunately, it glanced harmlessly off the bar behind the net, and the score remained 1-1.
Extra Time: Bat Country
To start extra time, Dortmund made a double-substitution, bringing on Jacob Bruun-Larsen and Maximillian Philipp for Raphael Guerreiro and Mario Gotze. As usual, extra time was pretty uneventful, at least during the first 14 minutes. Right at the stroke of half-time, though, Christian Pulisic, Mr. Captain America, pulled out a moment of magic.
With the final minute of the first half of extra time winding down, Christian Pulisic collected the ball midfield and darted through towards goal. He played a pass to Paco Alcacer, who hit Pulisic with a return pass. Pulisic smashed the ball through Pavelnka’s legs and into the net, and the crowd erupted.
Werder Bremen tied it.
Only several minutes later, Werder Bremen legend and quadragenarian Claudio Pizarro benefited from a very bizarre deflection off of a set piece. He found himself alone in an offside position in front of goal, but the ball deflected off of a BVB right to him. All he had to do was control the ball and volley it into the net from point-blank range.
Just when it looked like the game might go to penalties, Dortmund pulled out another moment of magic. This time, it was an unlikely pair, Max Philipp and Achraf Hakimi, who created the goal. Christian Pulisic hit Philipp with a pass along the right wing. Philipp absolutely destroyed Ludwig Augustinsson one-on-one, and found Hakimi in the middle with a cross. The young Moroccan smashed it into the bottom corner.
Werder Bremen tied it again!
While Eric Oelschlagel had made some big saves throughout the night, he really should have had this one. It was a simple set piece. Max Kruse looped the ball into the box, and Martin Harnik, who was being marked by Achraf Hakimi, rose and made contact with the ball. It was a low shot off the ground that didn’t have a ton of speed, so Oelschlagel really should have had it. Unfortunately the shot deflected off of his hands and into the net, and it was tied at 3-3.
Penalties: Characteristically Nonsensical
Paco Alcacer stepped up first for Borussia Dortmund, and immediately let Dortmund fall behind. His penalty was poorly placed and didn’t have a lot of speed, so Pavlenka was easily able to make the stop.
Max Philipp stepped up, and decided to go with power instead of placement. He probably shouldn’t have done that, because he smashed it at a perfect height for Pavlenka to make the stop. And he did.
Axel Witsel stepped up and calmly dispatched it into the corner.
With the pressure on, Julian Weigl stepped up, and without hesitation fired towards net. While Pavlenka got a hand to the ball, it wasn’t enough to keep it out of the net.
Max Kruse, whose set pieces had gotten Bremen to Penalties, stepped up and slotted the ball into the corner, and Werder Bremen were moving on to the quarterfinals.
That’s football, isn’t it?