Berlin: Borussia Dortmund booked their place in the German Cup semi-finals as a header by Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang secured a 1-0 win in Tuesday’s last-eight clash at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Just as injury-hit Borussia’s coach Jurgen Klopp had predicted, the quarter-final was a gritty affair as Dortmund gained the upper hand ahead of the teams’ Bundesliga meeting on Saturday.
“Despite the injuries, I had no doubts in the team,” said Klopp.
“We want to go to Berlin (for the Cup final on May 17) and you could see that from the way we played.”
Aubameyang’s goal seven minutes from time put the 2012 Cup winners through despite missing key first-team players.
Among those missing were injured Germany midfielders Sven Bender and Marco Reus, who both suffered thigh injuries in last Saturday’s 5-1 romp at Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga.
Centre-back Mats Hummels was out with an ankle knock, while winger Jakub Blaszczykowski and defender Neven Subotic are out for the season with knee injuries.
Frankfurt captain Pirmin Schwegler was missing with bruised ribs.
Both sides had chances with Dortmund’s attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan firing wide as he tried to finish off a move he started while midfielders Jan Rosenthal and Johannes Flum went close for Frankfurt.
“We didn’t use our chances before the break, we tried to inmpose our game on them, but it is difficult to do that against an opponent like that,” said Eintracht coach Armin Veh.
“Nevertheless, we want to try and get something out of Saturday’s match at Dortmund,” he added referring to Frankfurt’s delicate state as they are just four points above the relegation zone.
Robert Lewandowski had a battle royal with his marker, Peru’s Carlos Zambrano, who at one point left the Poland striker pole-axed on the turf after a sharp elbow to the ribs, which was missed by referee Knut Kircher.
Dortmund got the break-through they craved when Mkhitaryan’s corner was flicked on by captain Sebastian Kehl for Aubameyang to head just inside the back post with extra-time looming.
In Wednesday’s last eight matches, Bayer Leverkusen are home to second division Kaiserslautern and Hoffenhem host VfL Wolfsburg.
The top tie features Cup holders Bayern Munich away at Hamburg with the hosts in chaos after six straight league defeats.
Hamburg coach Bert van Marwijk has insisted the club will “destroy itself” if the behind-the-scenes power struggle continues between the club’s executive and supervisory boards.
Bayern, who routed Hamburg 9-2 in the league last season, arrive in the Hanseatic City eager to continue the defence of the German Cup they won last season to complete the treble, along with the European and league titles.
It is not guaranteed van Marwijk will be in charge after Wednesday’s quarter-final at Imtech Arena with some senior club figures eager for Hamburg legend Felix Magath to take over.
German Cup quarter-final result on Tuesday:
Eintracht Frankfurt 0 Borussia Dortmund 1