They needed a penalty shoot-out to see off Hertha Berlin but Thomas Tuchel felt Borussia Dortmund merited their DFB-Pokal progression.
Thomas Tuchel was in no doubt Borussia Dortmund’s place in the DFB-Pokal quarter-finals was the appropriate reward for their efforts against Hertha Berlin.
Dortmund fell behind in the first half to Salomon Kalou’s goal, but were level shortly after the interval when Marco Reus swept home.
It remained 1-1 throughout the remainder of the second period and extra time, before Fabian Lustenberger, Vladimir Darida and Kalou all missed in the shoot-out for Hertha as Dortmund won through 3-2 on penalties.
The reward for Dortmund is a tricky looking away tie to third-tier Sportfreunde Lotte, who have already dumped out Bundesliga sides Werder Bremen and Bayer Leverkusen en route to the last eight.
“Praise to [goalkeeper] Roman Burki,” Tuchel said. “He was on every penalty. The penalty of Gonzo [Gonzalo Castro] to make it 3-2 was very important. After that it felt very good.
“We had so many opportunities. I did not expect that. We are currently standing with a very good charisma, a good spirit and quality on the pitch. But we were again lacking in the final success, the punch, the very last will to decide the matter.
“Bottom line, it is a deserved victory.”
Tuchel also reserved praise for Ousmane Dembele, who was outstanding throughout in an otherwise lacklustre Dortmund display.
Dembele had to leave the field with cramp during extra time but, after receiving treatment with Dortmund having used all their substitutions, returned and successfully converted his kick in the shoot-out.
— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) February 8, 2017
“He had a full body cramp and was revived,” Tuchel said. “After he had made it up to the penalty spot we were confident that he can also shoot.
“He has that certain something. It’s in there deep within him.”
“The audience was again today the 12th man,” added midfielder Julian Weigl. “It was a difficult game from the beginning.
“Hertha made it hard for us, but we still had a lot of chances. We had enough chances to decide the game. But luckily, we ended up keeping our nerves.”