Dortmund down Hertha to face Bayern in cup final
Borussia Dortmund will face Bayern Munich in the German Cup final on May 21 after their comprehensive 3-0 semi-final win at Hertha Berlin on Wednesday.
A first-half goal by Gonzalo Castro, plus late second-half strikes from wingers Marco Reus and Henrikh Mkhitaryan sealed Dortmund’s deserved win at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.
The victory sends Thomas Tuchel’s Dortmund team back to the same Cup final venue in a month’s time.
“I am very happy with the manner and vein of the victory,” said Tuchel as his side exorcised the bitter disappointment of last Thursday’s 4-3 Europa League defeat at Liverpool.
“I need to pay the team a really fat compliment. We deserved the win.”
Munich’s 2-0 win over Werder Bremen on Tuesday means that Germany’s top two teams will meet again when Dortmund play Bayern in a repeat of the 2012 and 2014 Cup finals.
“The joy at reaching the final is huge. That will again be an interesting game,” said Dortmund’s goal-scorer Reus ahead of their showdown with Bayern.
Dortmund were dealt a blow before kick-off as top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang dropped out with a foot injury.
Tuchel had said the Gabon international, who has scored 37 goals in all competitions, had the all clear to play despite breaking off the last five minutes of Monday’s training session.
But the knock flared up an old injury Aubameyang picked up in their quarter-final win over Stuttgart in February.
His place against Hertha went to Colombia striker Adrian Ramos, who scored twice in Sunday’s 3-0 league win over Hamburg.
Aubameyang had netted in each of Dortmund’s last seven German Cup games dating back to the start of last season.
Dortmund took the lead when Mkhitaryan won the ball on the right, Shinji Kagawa fired in the cross and Castro was unmarked on the edge of the area to blast home on 21 minutes.
It was a weak start from Hertha who seemed overawed by the occasion at their sold out 76,233 stadium as Dortmund dominated the early stages.
Borussia then scored two goals in the final 15 minutes to deny Hertha their dream of a first Cup final appearance at their own ground since 1993.
Nearly 23 years ago, their reserve team made a shock run to the final when they lost to Bayer Leverkusen.
It remains the only time a reserve team has managed the feat in Germany and it is 37 since year since Hertha’s first team last reached the final.
“We had a chance today and my team played to their limits,” said Hertha coach Pal Dardai.
“At the end of the day, you have to say Dortmund were too quick for us, you could feel something was missing.”
A slip by Hertha’s US defender John Anthony Brooks on 75 minutes allowed Reus the space in the area to fire home Kagawa’s final pass.
Dortmund then completed the rout when Mkhitaryan finished off a good counter-attack with Reus again popping up to provide the final pass with the Hertha defence in tatters.
Dortmund will hope for a repeat of their impressive 5-2 win over Bayern in the 2012 final when striker Robert Lewandowski netted a hat-trick against his future employers.
Munich then claimed revenge two years ago with a 2-0 extra-time win in the 2014 final.