Weidenfeller's heroics keep Dortmund alive in the German Cup
It was the cup drama that was promised on the tin against second division side Union Berlin on Wednesday night, as Borussia Dortmund needed to win on penalties to reach the third round of the German cup after 120 minutes yielded a 1-1 draw.
Youth. Dortmund's squad may be decimated by injuries, but even with some options left, Tuchel granted three teenagers a start ahead of the derby meaning that at least some players got a rest ahead of the all-important Revierderby against Schalke on Saturday
Overtime -- Already running on low battery, the Black and Yellows had only won one of their last five matches going into the midweek cup fixture. As they failed to beat second division side Union Berlin in regular time, they will undoubtedly feel the 120 minutes on Saturday while their Gelsenkirchen rivals finished off FC Nürnberg in 90 minutes. They have only themselves to blame for not wrapping up the match earlier.
In general, they need to raise their defensive intensity. Yet again, they allowed their opposition to get in promising positions with a couple of passes through midfield. Currently the risks Dortmund are taking for the sake of posing an attacking threat are not finding the reward upfront to cover up the bodiless defending at the back.
Manager rating out of 10
Thomas Tuchel, 4 -- The Dortmund manager granted first starts for Nuri Sahin and 18-year-old Jacob Bruun Larsen, which was a risky decision but worked out okay. However, the coach needs to improve his team's defensive routines.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Roman Weidenfeller, 9 -- There was nothing he could have done about Steven Skrzybski's absolute screamer from distance for the 81st minute equaliser. An otherwise routine performance was nearly undone by hitting air in the 10th minute of overtime, but Union Berlin let him off the hook. He became the hero of the night as he saved two penalties against Felix Kroos and Stephan Fürstner, while Philipp Hosiner struck the bar.
DF Lukasz Piszczek, 6 -- The Polish right-back hasn't looked his best in a long time. Against Union Berlin some cheap giveaways raised eyebrows in the first half, but he proved his worth to the team when things got gritty in the second half.
DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 7 -- Too often the Greek centre-back had to clear the ball in last-ditch stunts. The Ruhr side relies heavily on Sokratis to win tackles from unfavourable positions, which is not a positive trend in the long-term.
DF Matthias Ginter, 7 -- While his partner in BVB's heart of defence was mostly focused on the defensive duty, Ginter was responsible for the build-up, at which he is improving, especially in terms of passing accuracy. However, Ginter likes to disable the offside trap from time to time to gain a couple of yards on his marker, needlessly exposing the backline.
DF Felix Passlack, 6 -- With Raphael Guerreiro and Marcel Schmelzer unavailable, and Korean left-back Park Joo-ho not looking up to speed, the 18-year-old was once again fielded at left-back. However, he doesn't quite look as comfortable as he looks on the right side and troubled Weidenfeller with a few dangerous back passes.
MF Nuri Sahin, 5 -- The 28-year-old central midfielder had to wait until the end of October to feature for the first time this season. The fan-favourite unsurprisingly looked rusty in his movement, but could give his team some structure nevertheless. Julian Weigl replaced him after 67 minutes.
MF Jacob Bruun Larsen, 6 -- "First game, first goal," stadium announcer Nobby Dickel yelled into the speakers after the 18-year-old's shot found the net in the 44th minute. However, it was Union defender Michael Parensen who deflect the ball in his own net. That shouldn't take away from the performance of the debutant. Larsen didn't look overwhelmed by the occasion for one second and impressed on the right side, making everyone in the stadium take notice of his exhilarating pace. His debut ended in the 68th minute.
MF Mario Gotze, 7 -- The midfielder let fly in the 38 minute for Dortmund to create the first notable opportunity of the match. It was also Gotze who found Larsen on the left side prior to BVB's opener.
MF Gonzalo Castro, 6 -- Castro's courageous run from his own half to find Mario Gotze shouldn't go unmentioned, as it was the key moment in creating the 1-0 lead. Punched the grass twice in frustrations as he skied potential deciders in stoppage and overtime and fluffed another promising chance in the 113th minute.
MF Emre Mor, 5 -- While sitting out his two-match ban in the league after being sent off for violent conduct against Hertha Berlin, the 19-year-old got a run out in the cup. He introduced himself with a blatant dive after two minutes and remained Dortmund's most ineffective attacker until the 87th minute when he could only find the post from close range. It was the start to a more lively performance.
FW Adrian Ramos, 5 -- As Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang nursed some knocks after being roughed up at Ingolstadt, Adrian Ramos got the nod from Tuchel. The striker failed to operate the ball on the ground in the opponent's box a few times too often while overlooking the open man.
MF Julian Weigl, 6 -- He came on for Nuri Sahin after 67th minute, giving Dortmund a more vertical edge.
MF Ousmane Dembele, 5 -- The 19-year-old couldn't quite bring the hoped attacking threat off the bench in the 68th minute. However, he took responsibility as he scored Dortmund's first penalty of the night in the shoot-out.
MF Sebastian Rode, NR -- Rode was introduced in the first half of overtime. With Dortmund having to win the match Shinji Kagawa will take note from being disregarded.
Stefan Buczko covers Borussia Dortmund for ESPN FC. Twitter: @StefanBuczko.