For the second consecutive DFB Pokal season, Borussia Dortmund are eliminated at the hands of Werder Bremen in exhilarating and excruciating fashion.
Dortmund made three changes to their starting lineup that guided them to a 5-0 win against Union Berlin on Matchday 20. Today’s match saw the inclusion of goalkeeper Marwin Hitz for Roman Burki, Dan Axel-Zagadou on the left side of the back three for Lucas Piszczek and Thorgan Hazard for the red hot Erling Halaand.
Dortmund controlled possession for the length of the first half and entirety of the match as whole, yet this played right into the hands of Bremen. Werder were quite comfortable defending deep in their defensive half with additional midfielders surrounding the box to break up Dortmund’s possession attack. Bremen took the 1-0 lead in the 16th minute after Davie Selke scored from a rebound that Hitz spilled into his direction on the left side of the box. The remainder of the first half saw Bremen collect chances stemming from their defensive press, as Dortmund’s best chance on goal in the first half was a Mats Hummels overhead kick that was turned away by Bremen goalkeeper Pavlenka. Bremen eventually scored to make it 2-0 from a magnificently taken rocket of a half-volley from Leonardo Bittencourt.
Dortmund manager Lucien Favre brought on goalscoring machine Erling Braut Håland for Thorgan Hazard to begin the second half. Håland’s ability to slot in naturally at the striker position opened up chances for Dortmund despite Bremen’s commitment to give away possession to defend with numbers in and around their box. It took all of 22 minutes for Håland to etch his name on the score sheet today. In the 67th minute, Julian Brandt played a delicately chipped cross from deep in right side of the Bremen box, square in front of the goal mouth where Håland tapped in for 2-1. Bremen then re-established a two goal lead after Milot Raschica outpaced the BVB defense for a thru ball on the right wing which he smashed into the lower left corner of the goal for a 3-1 Bremen lead in the 70th minute.
17 year old American attacking midfielder Gio Reyna came on for Dortmund in the 69th minute for Dan Axel-Zagadou to bolster the BVB attack; a move that worked out to some effect. In the 79th minute, Reyna scored what has to be one of Dortmund’s most beautiful goals of the season to date. Reyna beat his defender in midfield and curled a perfectly weighted shot from the left side of the box into the upper right corner of the Bremen goal to make it 3-2. A goal necessitating multiple viewings of appreciation.
Reyna then nearly gave Dortmund the opportunity at an equalizing via the penalty spot in the 86th after he went down in the box. The American was then grabbed and struck by Bremen player Niklas Moisander who believed he went down too easily. After referee Guido Winkmann went to check with VAR, no penalty was award for either the tackle or subsequent player conduct. Håland had one more quality attempt at equalizing himself as his headed attempt at goal was saved at the 90+1 minute mark.
Full Time Notes
As mentioned, Borussia Dortmund bow out of the DFB Pokal for the second consecutive year to Werder Bremen. Give credit to Bremen, they played both inspired at tactically sound in front of their homes fans who are hungry for some delight in their team’s season as Bremen battle relegation in the Bundesliga.
Dortmund next take on Bayer Leverkusen on the road this Saturday, February 8 in the Bundesliga’s 21st Matchday. The match may see each side without instrumental players as Leverkusen star Kerem Demirbay will not be available due to suspension after a Matchday 20 red card. Dortmund may be without star captain Marco Reus as he was substituted for new arrival Emre Can in the 86th minute. Reus was noticeably in pain as he was reaching for his groin following a shot on goal.