Borussia Dortmund have reached the Second Round of the DFB Cup. The Champions League participants came through an evening of drama in Franconia to beat 2. Bundesliga outfit SpVgg. Greuther Fürth 2-1 (1-1, 0-0) in extra-time.
Boris Rupert reporting from Fürth
The 15,500 spectators at a sold-out Sportpark Ronhof witnessed an intense, exciting and entertaining DFB Cup clash in which BVB clearly had the better of the chances in the opening half. Fürth made a strong start to the second period and took a surprising lead when Ernst slotted the ball home in the 77th minute. But Witsel dashed the home side's hopes of causing an upset with an equaliser in the fifth minute of stoppage time, before Marco Reus struck another last-minute goal in extra-time to fire the visitors into the Second Round.
This was the fifth time the DFB Cup draw has handed BVB a trip to Franconia. The Black & Yellows have progressed on three occasions (1974, 1997 and, most recently, in the 2012 semi-final), while Fürth won in 1990. The hosts began their domestic campaign a fortnight ago and have claimed four points from their first two matches of the 2. Bundesliga season.
Aside from Weigl (fitness) and Bruun Larsen (foot injury), Lucien Favre had a full squad at his disposal. But he could only choose 18 players, meaning there were some "tough calls". The Swiss tactician ultimately went for Wolf in the absence of Bruun Larsen, but otherwise it was the same XI that beat Lazio 1-0 in the final friendly.
Both teams lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with BVB transitioning to a 4-4-2 in which Götze played alongside, and sometimes further forward than, Reus. The visitors tried to use versatility on the flanks – Wolf and Pulisic frequently switched sides – in a bid to pick out holes in the opposition defence. Fürth, though, defended passionately and the gaps between the defensive and midfield lines were kept compact, resulting in few openings for BVB. And when the opportunity arose to get forward, the Clover Leaves did not think twice. In such situations, Omladic, one of the two defensive midfielders, pushed forward into a more attacking central position and full-back Hilbert drove moves forward from the back.
The match & analysis:
The hosts allowed the game to be wide open between the 10th and 20th minutes, enabling BVB to threaten and they did so with a triple chance in the eighth minute. The ball first landed at Schmelzer's feet in the box and when his shot was blocked by a defender, follow-ups by Reus and Dahoud were thwarted by the Fürth rearguard. That incident was followed by the hosts' strongest spell in the first half, during which Borussia struggled but quickly found solutions and their way back into the game.
On the 23-minute mark, Wolf won the ball back on the right flank and Dahoud switched the play to Pulisic on the left. His ball across the face of goal was met by Reus, whose effort from 10 metres was brilliantly denied by shot-stopper Burchert. The captain's next attempt came four minutes later in a centre-right position, his shot from a Schmelzer cross sailing narrowly wide (27). Then, on the half-hour mark, he hit a free-kick goalbound from almost 30 metres but Burchert managed to put it behind for a corner with an outstretched arm. The 44th minute saw another chance fall to Delaney, who missed from 14 metres.
BVB already dominating the chances at the break
It might not have been a sparkling first half from the Black & Yellows, but Fürth did well to keep it goalless until the break. Their only real chance came on the 35-minute mark, when Wittek skied a shot from long range.
Fürth continued to defend with heart and passion at the beginning of the second period. Substitute Mohr came close to opening the scoring on 48 minutes, only for Schmelzer to clear. The next strong Dortmund attack came on the hour mark, as Götze won the ball near his own box and played a one-two with Schmelzer before seeing his shot blocked in the opposing penalty area. But the danger had not passed for the hosts, with Pulisic's shot rebounding off the upright.
Götze was withdrawn shortly afterwards, with Philipp entering the fray in attack. The second change saw Witsel replace Delaney with 17 minutes remaining. Dortmund pressed, forcing the Franconians back, and Reus had a huge chance that was denied by an incredible reflex save from custodian Burchert (75).
Fürth score, Witsel responds with late leveller
It was precisely at this point, when the hosts' energy levels seemed to drop, that they broke the deadlock on the counter. Mohr crossed the ball towards the far post from the left and when Keita-Ruel headed it back across the face of goal, Ernst was left with the simplest of tap-ins from four metres (77).
After shots from Sancho (82) and Schmelzer (90+4) had been deflected behind for a corner-kick, it was the very last attack of the match that brought about the equaliser. Reus curled a cross in from the left and suddenly two BVB players were unmarked, with Witsel slotting home in the fifth minute of stoppage time to make it 1-1.
Bürki makes stoppage-time saves, Reus scores
Extra-time saw Bürki make a brilliant save in the 103rd minute to thwart Abouchabaka, before making himself big to stop a potential second Fürth goal once Reese had gone clean through (113). At the other end, Philipp failed to get the right connection on the ball with his shot from a centre-right position eight metres out (107), before sending a header from a Reus free-kick narrowly wide (117).
In the 120th minute, Sancho went on a lung-busting run that took him down the right flank and into the box before cutting the ball back to Reus, who smashed home the winner.
The draw for the Second Round, which will take place at the end of October, will be made this Sunday (live on ARD from 18:00 CET). That evening will see BVB begin their Bundesliga campaign with a clash against Rasenballsport Leipzig at Signal Iduna Park.