Borussia Dortmund and Jens Keller’s Union Berlin were deadlocked at 1-1 after 120 minutes, but black and yellows escaped to the next round, converting three penalties to Berlin’s zero.
XI: Weidenfeller – Piszczek, Sokratis, Ginter, Passlack – Sahin – Larsen, Götze, Castro, Mor – Ramos.
— Lars Pollmann (@LarsPollmann) October 26, 2016
With the team still ravaged by injury and illness, Thomas Tuchel wasn’t spoiled for choice in a game that usually would see more rotation. 18 year old Danish talent Jacob Bruun Larsen was given his Borussia Dortmund debut somewhat surprisingly, while Felix Passlack featured again on the left hand side. Nuri Sahin finally got his long awaited season debut after being seriously down in Tuchel’s pecking order.
The game as a whole was by no means convincing, as Dortmund were caught last ditch defending many times throughout the first half. Dortmund’s two brightest players in the first half were the debutant Jacob Bruun Larsen, who skipped past many Union defenders on the right wing, and Mario Götze, who’s been looking much more comfortable in midfield of late. Unsurprisingly, it was those two who combined along with Union’s Michael Parensen for Dortmund’s opening goal. Götze found Larsen on the edge of the box in some space, and the Dane sent in a strong shot that appeared to be going wide, but took a key deflection to end up in the back of the net at the far post.
Jacob Bruun Larsen skips past three Union players but his move ultimately yields in an attacking foul. He's got some skills. #bvbfcu
— Stefan Buczko (@StefanBuczko) October 26, 2016
The 1-0 lead was never really a comfortable one, as the Dortmund “defense” struggled to defend for most of the match, as has been the case over the past three weeks. Dortmund relied on some last ditch defending from Sokratis and some crucial interventions from Roman Weidenfeller to keep them ahead, despite Weidenfeller almost giving the ball away every time it was at his feet.
Emre Mor was all over the pitch for Dortmund, at the end of many chances and attempting to dribble around almost every defender. As per usual, his talent is clear, but the dancing around and his decision making seems to be holding him back. The young Turkish international would benefit from being a bit more direct in his runs, instead of trying to take on one too many defenders.
Union got a deserved equalizer in the 81st minute, and there wasn’t much Dortmund could do about it. A Union corner was halfway cleared, but it fell to substitute Steven Skrzybski, who used his first touch of the game to fire in the equalizer from quite a distance and angle. The herd of bodies in the box likely prevented Weidenfeller from getting a good read on the shot, allowing it to bounce in at the far post.
Emre Mor was inches away from finding a winner before the whistle blew for extra time, but his shot was tipped onto the post by Union keeper Daniel Mesenholer. An extra thirty minutes for a depleted Dortmund team ahead of the Revierderby was less than ideal. Players just returning from injury like Lukasz Piszczek and Sokratis were forced to go 120 minutes, as was Mario Gotze, who hardly ever completes 90 minutes for Dortmund.
Dortmund had quite a few chances to find the winner before penalties, but Castro, Mor, and Adrian Ramos all failed to convert their opportunities. Roman Weidenfeller gave Dortmund the biggest scare of the match, coming out for the ball but failing to corral it before it fell to a Union player with an open goal. Fortunately, Philipp Hosiner attempted to pull it back for a teammate who had a better angle, but his pass was poor and allowed Dortmund to clear.
(Photo by Maja Hitij/Bongarts/Getty Images)
However, Roman Weidenfeller was able to redeem himself by saving two penalties, earning himself the Yellow Wall Game Ball. Ousmane Dembele, Matthias Ginter and Mario Götze all scored their penalties, while Weidenfeller saved on his right Felix Kroos’ and Stephan Fürstner’s poor attempts. Philipp Hosiner hit the crossbar to seal the win for Dortmund.
The performance was less than encouraging, but a win is a win in the DFB Pokal and there was a big bright spot in Larsen’s impressive debut. Union were tougher customers than expected, but Dortmund were able to hold firm while not at their best. The draw for the round of 16 took place immediately after the match, and Dortmund will host Berlin’s other team, Hertha, in February.
Next up for Dortmund this weekend is Schalke, so stay tuned for our coverage of the Revierderby!