Here is a pretty summed up article regarding our approach on yesterday's game............................
When supporters of Borussia Dortmund learnt of head
coach Thomas Tuchel's lineup for the DFB-Pokal
quarter-final clash at VfB Stuttgart on Tuesday evening,
many of them will have hesitated.
The XI included only two changes from the goalless
draw at Hertha BSC at the weekend, but those changes
Matthias Ginter replaced Julian Weigl in defensive
midfield, which wasn't so crazy considering the latter's
performances in recent weeks.
Tuchel told German broadcaster Sky before the game
that he preferred Ginter's freshness and athleticism for
a game that he envisioned to be physical.
Michael Probst/Associated Press
Erik Durm got the better of former team-mate
Kevin Grosskreutz all evening long.
The more interesting change concerned Erik Durm as a
left-winger. The 2014 FIFA World Cup winner made his
first start at a position other than full-back for the Black
and Yellows since his promotion to the first team in
Tuchel told Sky that Dortmund would need to change
the way they play based on Stuttgart's style, but it
wasn't immediately clear what he meant.
That changed quickly after kick-off, however. Not only
did he make the two personnel changes, he also
changed his team's setup in a number of spots.
Full-backs Lukasz Piszczek and Marcel Schmelzer
positioned themselves much deeper on the pitch than
usual, likely to be as added protection against the
hosts' strong counter-attacking. The wingers provided
width, which explains why Durm was a good fit for his
On the other side from the 23-year-old was Pierre-
Emerick Aubameyang, whose speed tied up Stuttgart's
left-back Emiliano Insua. That left Filip Kostic isolated
on the left wing, where Piszczek had him largely under
control for most parts of the game. Marco Reus played
as the central striker in Aubameyang's place and
eluded his markers to great effect time and time again.
Most importantly, however, Tuchel's tactical surprise
freed up Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ilkay Gundogan to
roam in the half-spaces of midfield. Henrikh
Mkhitaryan and Ilkay Gundogan.
The former initiated the opener with a pass to
Aubameyang, whose ball across the face of goal
somewhat luckily bounced to Reus. A smart finish high
into the net gave Dortmund the lead after just five
minutes, which obviously played into the visitors' game
Gundogan, on the other hand, might not have been
involved in either of the three goals, but he still bossed
the match and was a class above everyone else.
ESPN FC's Stefan Buczko, who rated Gundogan's
performance at 9/10, wrote: "It was nearly impossible
to steal the ball off him; even up against two or three
Stuttgart players Gundogan found a way to flee the
The Swabians never got a hold of him, which was a
huge help for Dortmund after their performances in the
last two Bundesliga games against FC Ingolstadt and
Hertha, where effective man-to-man marking stifled
the Black and Yellows.
Tuchel's plan not only worked offensively, but also
when Stuttgart had the ball. The hosts, who came into
the game as the in-form team of the Bundesliga,
having won their last five in a row, didn't create many
clear-cut goalscoring opportunities.
The attempts that did find the target came almost
exclusively from set pieces, among them an equaliser,
where the Black and Yellows failed to clear the ball
away a number of times before Mkhitaryan deflected a
Lukas Rupp shot into his own net.
Tuchel hailed his team's performance after the game,
per the club's official website, saying that "under the
difficult conditions and given the situation we were
facing, we put in an almost perfect performance—with a perfect result.
It was a classic cup battle that Dortmund
Going forward, it remains to be seen whether this is the
Plan B we called for after the Hertha game. It seems
more likely that this was a one-time event for the
specific opponent on Tuesday.
Stuttgart were on a roll coming into the game and are a
dangerous counter-attacking team, so widening the
play and conceding possession to the hosts in the
second half, when the hosts had up to 70 per cent
possession, per German TV channel Sky Sport News on
Twitter (link in German), worked very well.
That same plan won't fit many other opponents the
Black and Yellows will face in the coming weeks,
Still, it was a great sign that Tuchel's surprising tweaks
worked out so brilliantly. After all, it kept the supporters'
dreams of a third consecutive trip to the cup final in
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of
evil is for good men to do nothing"