The Bundesliga has come to a stop as the semi-finals of the DFB Cup take centre stage. Borussia Dortmund will battle it out with Holstein Kiel in SIGNAL IDUNA PARK on Saturday evening for a place in the final (kick-off 20:30 CET).
BVB find themselves in the penultimate stage of the domestic cup for the first time since 2017. Four years ago, the Black & Yellows triumphed 3-2 in Munich and emerged victorious in the final a few weeks later. That is also the stated goal for this season. ''We're in a semi-final for the first time during my time here. I really value winning the cup in Germany, and it's a big desire of ours,'' says midfielder Thomas Delaney.
Borussia haven't reached a cup final since 2017, but prior to that, they had a four-year spell in which they reached the final in Berlin every season. ''We really enjoyed that. The Black & Yellow community enjoyed some great festivities there,'' said sporting director Michael Zorc. ''It's a big goal of ours to make it back to Berlin, it will give us a big chance of winning a trophy.''
But before that can be achieved, the Black & Yellows will have to get the better of second-tier Holstein Kiel, who are the surprise team of the tournament, having knocked out last year's winners Bayern Munich in the second round. Edin Terzic was impressed by ''The way Kiel approached that game, how they bounced back from setbacks, how they fought until the very last second.'' The BVB head coach added: ''It's not easy to beat Bayern, not a lot of teams manage it. But they really showed how it's done that night.''
In addition to their impressive cup run, Kiel also hold hopes of achieving promotion to the Bundesliga. Although they are currently placed fourth in the Bundesliga 2 table, they have three rescheduled matches to play. The Storks have had to go into quarantine on two separate occasions, meaning they now face a packed schedule in what remains of the season. In the first of several ''English weeks'', the North German outfit picked up a win in Osnabrück and a draw in Nuremberg. ''They've picked up a bit of rhythm in their last two games. We're happy that we were able to train all week and then come into the game with fresh energy,'' said Terzic, whose team haven't had to play a midweek game for the first time in three weeks.
The BVB coach says the opposition have had a ''very good'' season. ''They're playing very bravely, they are really good in possession and pose a real threat on the counter. Kiel are one of the very best teams in the Bundesliga 2, and we know how hard it can be going up against a second-tier club.'' The Black & Yellows needed extra-time to make it past SC Paderborn in the last 16, emerging 3-2 winners after 120 minutes of football.
Mahmoud Dahoud will have to watch on from the stands on Saturday after being shown a red card in the quarter-final. Aside from the long-term absentees, Terzic should have the full squad at his disposal as he looks to guide the team to the final.