Christian Pulisic sparks Dortmund to German Cup quarterfinal win vs. Lotte
Borussia Dortmund cruised to a 3-0 victory in the quarterfinal of the German Cup against third-tier side Sportfreunde Lotte, courtesy of goals from Christian Pulisic, Andre Schurrle and Marcel Schmelzer. The match took place in Osnabruck at the Stadion an der Bremer Brucke after the game was postponed on Feb. 28 due to an "unplayable" pitch in Lotte. Dortmund will face Bayern Munich in the semifinal at the Allianz Arena in April.
The Black and Yellows tightened the screws on Lotte after a lackadaisical first half, carving open the third-placed team in Germany's 3. Liga in style, as Ousmane Dembele and Pulisic combined with precision. As no Dortmund player picked up an injury or suspension, it was the expected work to rule by the towering favourites.
Lotte could have made the evening a lot more entertaining had they taken one of their opportunities in the first 20 minutes.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Both Julian Weigl and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were omitted from the squad, not because of rotation, but because they were injured, as Thomas Tuchel told German broadcaster ARD before the match. "If you decide to play them again and again despite all indications [of a looming injury], then you have to atone for it at some point," he said, which ridicules debates to whether the manager rotates too much.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Roman Burki, 6 -- Had to stand tall against Lotte's Tim Wendel, who had beaten the offside trap and rushed towards the Dortmund keeper without a marker anywhere in sight. It probably was the most important play of any Dortmund player in the first half.
DF Lukasz Piszczek, 6 -- Unobtrusive.
DF Matthias Ginter, 4 -- Even against a third-tier side, Ginter managed to look out of place at times. The centre-back is not in form and it's obvious.
DF Marc Bartra, 6 -- Tried to reach his teammates up front with long passes down the field to circumvent the tricky pitch in Osnabruck.
DF Marcel Schmelzer, 7 -- "At some point, Marcel Schmelzer will take every free kick for us," Jurgen Klopp said about Schmelzer in 2010. The former Dortmund manager was wrong with his assessment, but nevertheless, the left-back scored his second direct free kick for BVB, making it 3-0 in the 83rd minute. Lotte keeper Benedikt Fernandez arguably could have saved the effort. It was Schmelzer's first goal in a competitive match since 2013.
MF Gonzalo Castro, 6 -- A few clumsy giveaways in the first half by Castro, who had to make do without Weigl by his side. Made up for it in the ball-winning department.
MF Christian Pulisic, 7 -- It took Pulisic's calm finish after he sprinted across the entire field to nutmeg Fernandez after taking Dembele's tidy pass first time. The 18-year-old is now the second-youngest goalscorer in the German Cup in club history.
MF Shinji Kagawa, 7 -- Although not on the scoresheet, Kagawa showed that his fine form against Hertha Berlin wasn't a one-off, as he was the best man in the first half.
MF Ousmane Dembele, 7 -- It's visible to the naked eye that Dembele knows that he is far superior to any third-division player. Looked a tad arrogant, as he wanted to walk in the ball all by himself in the first half. Dembele was still hit and miss after the break. His assist for Pulisic in the 57th minute was certainly a hit, however.
MF Raphael Guerreiro, 6 -- Booked after seven minutes without even touching his opponent. Dortmund fans hope that he will have saved his best for Friday's match against Ingolstadt.
FW Andre Schurrle, 7 -- Eventually, Schurrle found the net, volleying home Dortmund's second goal of the night from five yards out, nutmegging a defender and goalkeeper in the process. A for effort.
MF Mikel Merino, NR -- Replaced Guerreiro in the 71st minute, when the game was already in the bag. Showed at Dortmund's final set piece that his timing on headers is impeccable, as he nearly made it 4-0.
MF Emre Mor, NR -- Swapped in by Tuchel for Pulisic with a little less than 10 minutes to play. He created a few chances by dribbling past tired Lotte players.
FW Alexander Isak, NR -- Made his debut for Dortmund in the 86th minute as he was brought on for Castro. The 17-year-old Swede immediately showed that even on a bumpy pitch his first touch is just as controlled as of Dortmund's other talented youngsters.
Stefan Buczko covers Borussia Dortmund for ESPN FC. Twitter: @StefanBuczko.