After defeat in the first leg, Borussia Dortmund rallied to a win over 1860 München to reach their third-successive final and set-up a clash with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.
Goals from Christoph Daferner and a Florian Neuhaus wonder-strike at the Westfalenstadion were cancelled out in Munich by the elite duo of Christian Pulisic and Felix Passlack.
Careless first leg
A beautiful Tuesday evening saw a record-breaking attendance of 15,117 spectators fill the Westfalenstadion for the occasion.
The home side dominated the opening half — continuing to test 1860’s defence to no avail, with Felix Passlack having two good, early opportunities.
Such persistence soon bore fruit, however, as György Hursán was harshly adjudged to have fouled captain Till Schumacher and midfielder Dzenis Burnic made no mistake in breaking the deadlock late in the half.
It took a mere ten minutes for the Lions to equalise after the break. Dortmund’s defence was caught in disarray as Christoph Daferner got on the end of a perfectly-timed pass from Luca Plattenhardt to level the match.
The common ‘game of two halves’ cliché was being proven to be true as the match went on. Coach Hannes Wolf’s decision to substitute the entirety of the midfield proved to be in vain as the visitors continued to remain resolute and pile on the pressure.
Minutes before the end the game was turned on its head — Goalscorer Burnic was robbed of possession in the middle of the pitch; Florian Neuhaus went for an ambitious strike and, in doing so, surprised Dominik Reimann from 50 metres out, lobbing the goalkeeper and gifting the away side with the win.
As a result of his apt yet over the top celebrations where a fence was scaled, Neuhaus picked up his second booking, subsequently missing the return leg.
Dortmund tie turn around
Six days after winning the first leg, Munich were in pole position to reach the final at the Sportpark Heimstetten.
Understandably, the start was a rather cagey affair, with neither side committing much going forward.
Augur Türk and Christian Pulisic each had decent chances to give their respective side the lead and, on second glance, really should have. Minutes after his teammate’s chance, Passlack — a busy figure in the first leg — also had a good chance to give the Black and Yellows the lead in the match, but goalkeeper Max Engl was equal to it in saving the attempt with his foot.
Dortmund’s overwhelming desire to level the tie eventually paid off with a well-worked goal. The busy Passlack put in a great cross for Pulisic who couldn’t be denied and Wolf’s men had razed Munich’s lead to the ground.
Moments later, the BVB youngsters almost stunned the home crowd with taking the lead, had it not been for Engl denying the Italian Dario Scuderi.
Much like the first leg, the Lions came roaring back. Türk had a chance better than his first to rehand his side the lead, but, after some dangerous play, he could only head the ball to the Reimann’s right, despite the advantage of being unmarked. Dortmund countered immediately as Janni Serra was unable to beat the keeper from a difficult angle.
The heavens opened with less than fifteen minutes to go as both sides pursued a winner. As away-goals didn’t apply in these competitions, the heartbreak of penalty shootout remained a distinct possibility.
For all their incisive play, Dortmund decided to go route one in search of the winner. As luck would have it, the brash, direct attack led to the late winner. A calamitous moment ensued as Engl and his defenders got in each other’s way; a rejuvenated Passlack was on hand to coolly take down the ball and slot home the dramatic winner, much to the jubilation of the travelling away crowd and the onlooking club CEO, Hans-Joachim Watzke.
In the other semi-final, TSG Hoffenheim prevailed over Werder Bremen 5:1 on aggregate to set-up a final with Dortmund on the 29th May.