Borussia Dortmund have reached the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal. The 1965, 1989, 2012, 2017 and 2021 champions won 2-1 (1-0) away to VfL Bochum in the round of 16 thanks to goals from Emre Can and Marco Reus.
Boris Rupert reporting from Bochum
The 27,599 spectators – among them almost 4,000 Dortmund fans who managed to get hold of tickets for the B1 derby – turned the sold-out Vonovia Ruhrstadion into a bubbling cauldron and saw a stunning goal shortly before the interval from Emre Can, who fired into the empty net from 54 metres. A controversial penalty awarded for handball and converted by Stöger drew VfL level after the hour mark, but Marco Reus put his team back in front 20 minutes before the end.
Both teams were yet to concede a goal in the competition this season. Bochum won 3-0 away to Viktoria Berlin and beat SV Elversberg 1-0, while Borussia claimed a 3-0 victory at TSV 1960 Munich and ran out 2-0 winners at Hannover 96. BVB boasted the better overall head-to-head record ahead of the 81st "Little Derby" (36 wins, 24 draws and 20 defeats). The Black & Yellows went into the game on the back of four consecutive league wins, while VfL's last home loss had come at the start of September 2022 and had been followed by a draw and then five successive wins.
Hummels, Ryerson, Özcan and Bynoe-Gittens came in for Schlotterbeck, Guerreiro, Reus (all bench) and Adeyemi (sent off in the second-round tie away to Hannover 96) compared to the team that beat Freiburg 5-1 four days ago. Meunier and Morey (fitness training) were also still absent.
Bochum tried to make it into a "wild" game, preferring to play the ball in the air rather than on the ground. They attacked early and aggressively, and gave whichever Borussia player was on the ball no time to breathe. When building the play, right-back Janko broke away from the back four and pushed high up the pitch. BVB countered VfL's 4-2-3-1 with a 4-1-4-1 with Can positioned centrally between the two banks of four.
The match & analysis:
BVB initially struggled to make an impact against an opponent that did a good job of keeping space at a premium. There were, however, some early opportunities. Wolf threaded through to Haller, who fired over the bar from a tight angle on the right (7), before Riemann tipped Brandt's free-kick from 23 metres out over the bar (24) and Bynoe-Gittens spurned the best chance to open the scoring: Wolf's cross towards Haller slid through to the left corner of the six-yard box, only for Bynoe-Gittens to see his shot blocked by Riemann's foot (13).
It was a chaotic match with a lot of fouls. Janko and Stöger were deservedly booked. The surface was also slippery, which played a part in Haller slipping over and leaning backwards as he blasted a ball from Bellingham over the crossbar from a prime shooting position (43). Riemann ventured a long way from his goal in stoppage time at the end of the first period to challenge Haller. Can controlled the clearance on the halfway line and fired it straight into the empty net.
BVB re-emerged late after the break and had to make an early switch, with Schlotterbeck replacing Wolf five minutes after the restart. Asano (52) and Bynoe-Gittens (53) went for goal from distance but did not pose problems for the respective goalkeepers. Antwi-Adjei fared better a short while later, receiving the ball in an offside-looking position and going clean through on Kobel, but the BVB custodian prevented the equaliser with a stunning stop (54). There was a similar incident five minutes later when Antwi-Adjei went through again and tried to round Kobel, who plucked the ball from his feet.
Then, in the 60th minute, Janko's push on Bynoe-Gittens went unpunished and the ball made its way across to Losilla, who volleyed it from the right corner of the penalty area. Bynoe-Gittens turned away, the ball struck his arm and referee Stieler awarded a penalty for handball. He then spent minutes consulting the pitchside monitor – before opting to stick with his decision. Stöger converted to make it 1-1.
Dortmund had the perfect response. Özcan played a great pass to Bellingham, who went through on the left and squared the ball in the box for substitute Reus to slot home and re-establish the lead. A significantly more obvious handball from Janko then went unpunished (85). There were then six minutes of stoppage time. Bochum pressed and Bellingham squandered a chance for 3-1 (90+5) but Borussia held on for the win.
The draw for the quarter-finals will be conducted on 19 February. BVB will next be in action when they travel away to Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga. Kick-off on Saturday is at 15:30 CET.
Teams & goals
DFB-Pokal Round of 16
VFL BOCHUM 1-2 (0-1) BORUSSIA DORTMUND
VfL Bochum: Riemann – Janko, Ordets, Masovic, Danilo Soares – Losilla, Stöger – Asano, Förster, Antwi-Adjei – Hofmann
Bor. Dortmund: Kobel – Wolf (N. Schlotterbeck, 50), Süle, Hummels, Ryerson – Can – Brandt (Reyna, 90+6), Bellingham, Özcan, Bynoe-Gittens (Reus, 65) – Haller (Modeste, 65)
Substitutes: Johansson, Lampropoulos, K. Schlotterbeck, Stafylidis, Holtmann, Kunde, Osterhage, Broschinski, Zoller – Meyer, Dahoud, Guerreiro, Moukoko, Modeste, Malen
Goals: 0-1 Can (45+1), 1-1 Stöger (penalty for handball by Bynoe-Gittens, 64), 1-2 Reus (Bellingham, 70)
Corners: 3-5 (2-3 at half-time), chance ratio: 3-7 (0-5)
Referee: Stieler (Hamburg), yellow cards: Janko, Stöger, Antwi-Adjei, Riemann
Attendance: 27,599 (sold-out), weather: dry, 0 degrees