Dortmund beat Lotte for German Cup semifinal against Bayern
OSNABRUECK: Christian Pulisic scored for the second time in a week as Borussia Dortmund defeated third-division Sportfreunde Lotte 3-0 on Tuesday to line up a German Cup semifinal at defending champion Bayern Munich.
Having scored his first Champions League goal in a 4-0 victory over Benfica last Wednesday, the 18-year-old Pulisic made the breakthrough 12 minutes into the second half to set Dortmund on its way in the postponed quarterfinal. The original game was called off on Feb. 28 due to heavy snow and a waterlogged pitch, and had been moved from Lotte's stadium to nearby Osnabrueck.
"It was a great performance from Lotte in this competition," Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel said of the side that upset top-flight Werder Bremen and Bayer Leverkusen, then second-division 1860 Munich in the previous rounds.
"We want to win every game," Lotte counterpart Ismail Atalan said. "And when we lose, we know we didn't do everything right."
Atalan's side largely contained Dortmund in the first half and even made the better start, with goalkeeper Roman Buerki coming to the Bundesliga side's rescue with a good block to deny Tim Wendel.
Dortmund gradually improved but was restricted to long-range efforts from Gonzalo Castro and Raphael Guerreiro, before Lotte goalkeeper Benedikt Fernandez denied Shinji Kagawa after the restart.
Lotte had no answer to Ousmane Dembele's pace on a counterattack. And it was Dembele's clever ball into space to his left for American forward Pulisic to run onto and fire through the goalkeeper's legs that broke the deadlock.
It was the Hershey, Pennsylvania-native's fifth goal in all competitions this season.
Guerreiro headed back Kagawa's cross for Andre Schuerrle to make it 2-0 minutes later and Dortmund captain Marcel Schmelzer wrapped it up with a free kick in the final minutes.
Bundesliga top-scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was ruled out with an adductor issue while Dortmund was also missing midfielder Julian Weigl due to muscular problems.
Winter signing Alexander Isak came on late for his Dortmund debut.
"We took the chance after Aubameyang dropped out this morning," Tuchel said of playing the Swedish 17-year-old, who was also reportedly a target for Real Madrid. "He has to stay patient. Aubameyang and Schuerrle are ahead of him."
The semifinals take place on April 25 and 26 with the final to be played May 27 in Berlin.
"We'll go to Munich to win, but it's too early to say how we want to do it," Tuchel said of facing Bayern.