Borussia Dortmund are now just one win away from the DFB-Pokal final in Berlin. For the first time in four years, the four time cup winners booked their place among the final four of the competition after a 1-0 win over Bundesliga rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach.
No room for niceties from either side. Just two minutes in, Marcus Thuram was just inches away from putting Borussia Mönchengladbach ahead after a cross from Jonas Hofmann was flicked wide by the Frenchman. At the other end, Dortmund, who suffered an early setback as Raphael Guerreiro was forced off with an injury, came close to taking the lead after eight minutes when a failed clearance fell to Marco Reus in a shooting position. Perhaps caught by surprise, the Germany international and Dortmund captain blazed his shot well over.
Nach munteren ersten zehn Minuten wirkte die Partie aber zunehmend zerfahren und beide Mannschaften neutralisierten sich die meiste Zeit zwischen den Strafräumen. Zwar zeigten weiter die Gladbacher mehr Zug zum Tor, viel mehr als ein harmloses Schüsschen von Thuram sprang zunächst aber auch dort nicht heraus (17.). Oftmals kam aber auch schon der vorletzte Pass nicht an, was der Attraktivität des Spiels nicht gerade zuträglich war, aber auch an den gut arbeitenden Defensivabteilungen lag.
After a lively start to the quarterfinal, the teams began to cancel each other out and keep each other out of their respective penalty areas. Gladbach were the side showing a little more drive towards goal, but with the final pass lacking accuracy, had next-to no chances to show for their efforts.
On the stroke of half time, the ball did - somewhat unexpectedly - find the back of the net. Alassane Plea’s perfectly weighted pass found a marginally offside Marcus Thuram, whose strike beat Marwin Hitz but was ruled out after a review.
On the hour mark, it was Dortmund’s turn to have their goal celebrations cancelled. The boys in black and yellow came out after the restart with more of a spring in their step than in the first half and indeed than their opponents. An unmarked Erling Haaland hooked the ball past Tobias Sippel in the Gladbach goal, but was later adjudged to have fouled Ramy Bensebaini in the build-up.
Ten minutes later Ramy Bensebaini would have an effort on goal of his own. Thanks to some great determination and awareness from Stefan Lainer, the Algerian was able to let fly from the edge of the area. His left-footed effort looked certain to break the back of the net, but Marwin Hitz pulled off an outstanding save to deflect it wide for a corner.
The breakthrough eventually came from a Gladbach corner, but Dortmund were the ones celebrating. A burst of pace from Nico Schulz started the counterattack – one touch from Erling Haaland and Marco Reus and suddenly Jadon Sancho was through on goal. The Englishman slotted the ball in off the inside of the post to make it 1-0 (66’).
Gladbach head coach Marco Rose made a number of attacking changes in response to the goal, which put Dortmund under more pressure, but gave his future employers more room to counter. In the 82nd minute, Tobias Sippel was called upon to keep his team’s hopes alive in a one-on-one with Haaland. Gladbach’s unofficial DFB-Pokal ‘keeper stood strong and palmed the shot away.
The chances to equalise were there for the Foals of Mönchengladbach, and the belief to go with it after a late sending off for Mahmoud Dahoud saw Dortmund go down to ten men. The score remained at 1-0, however, leaving Borussia Dortmund celebrating as the first of this season’s semi-finalists.