The clash between Borussia Dortmund and Hertha BSC at the Olympiastadion in Berlin was both spirited and entertaining. But the fact it ended in a fifth Bundesliga defeat of the season for the Black and Yellows now needs to be forgotten as quickly as possible, so that they can focus on Tuesday's DFB Cup tie with Sportfreunde Lotte.
"The result is annoying but the performance was okay," concluded Thomas Tuchel just a few minutes after the final whistle in the capital. The BVB boss had no intention of launching into any criticism of his players but did admit that a "lack of efficiency cost us the three points". The visitors had carved out a number of chances to open the scoring early on and to get a second or third goal once they had equalised – but all to no avail.
A solid basis for Tuesday
"That would've completely changed the game," continued Tuchel, who leapt to the defence of Matthias Ginter following the defender's mistake in the build-up to Hertha's opener ("It says a lot about him that he holds his hands up, but it's only half the truth. It's not his fault we lost the match") and Roman Bürki, who was beaten from a free-kick "on his side" for the winning goal ("The ball was hit very well and accurately, from very close range").
'Pull your socks up and get on with it' will be the motto to adopt for the Black and Yellows, whose performance in the capital was decent aside from their ineffectiveness in front of goal. Not bad considering the coach had made four changes to the starting XI. Immediately after the interval the visitors had the much better of the chances and had their hosts with their backs to the wall. "We had good moves in spells. The mentality, attitude and desire were okay," said Thomas Tuchel. So if you block out the result, the fixture serves as a solid basis for the upcoming DFB Cup quarter-final against Lotte in Osnabrück.
"We want to make it to the next round"
There BVB will face a very different challenge to the one they had in Berlin. But it certainly won't be any easier. The third tier outfit will give everything they've got, battle hard and run until they fall. They have already demonstrated how unpleasant they can make it for higher-level opposition by knocking out Bremen, Leverkusen and 1860 Munich in their 2016/17 DFB Cup run. Even though the match has been moved from Lotte to Osnabrück, Sportfreunde still have the home advantage, the surface will be tough to play on and as the saying goes: "The Cup has its own laws."
So perhaps this small setback in Berlin comes at the right time for BVB, as a form of mental preparation for a tough tie following the euphoria of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League. "It's a different game, but another on a difficult surface," said BVB captain Marcel Schmelzer on Saturday evening before the Black and Yellows began their journey back to North Rhine-Westphalia. "First we need to analyse the Berlin match. But then our full concentration will immediately switch to the match on Tuesday. It's a different competition. That's what we'll be focusing on. We want to make it through to the next round."