With a break in the Bundesliga, all the attention in Deutschland turned to the DFB-Pokal semi-finals this week. German football fans only had two matches to watch this weekend as a result, but both matches were full of excitement, goals, and of course, stunning individual performances. Here is our Team of the Week for the DFB Pokal Semi-Finals!
Werder Bremen’s Jiri Pavlenka starts in goal for his phenomenal performance in securing a clean sheet in regular time. The Czech keeper made five saves of the highest quality in the match, and commanded his penalty area well throughout the game. Nordi Mukiele had a fine afternoon against Werder Bremen, albeit nearly giving a penalty. The French defender contributed positively to Leipzig’s possession in the match, and held his width well to stretch Bremen’s defense and eventually tire them out. Mats Hummels put up a vintage performance against the admittedly much weaker Holstein Kiel, completing six of his seven long passes in the match and acting as a key cog for BVB in possession.
Emre Can also had a fantastic performance, and although he was technically playing as a central midfielder he often drifted into the back-line to pick up the ball and drive the team forward. The German completed 100% of his passes in the match and provided one assist. Raphael Guerreiro was another one of the many Dortmund players that Holstein Kiel could never get a hold of, winning more duels than any other player and dribbling circles around the opposition’s defense.
Kevin Kampl was incredible in transitional moments in his team’s 2-1 victory, consistently helping his team win back possession immediately after losing it. The Slovenian midfielder was also key in build-up phases, and unlocked Bremen’s defense with an incisive pass for the game winner. Jude Bellingham partners him in midfield, after dominating central areas against Holstein Kiel. His dribbling was impeccable, and he even found himself on the score-sheet through a shot from outside the eighteen.
Electric upon his return to the cup, Jadon Sancho secured a goal and an assist as Dortmund ease to a 5-0 victory. Gio Reyna also hit double, scoring the game’s opening goals and setting Dortmund on the right path to walk to their eventual victory. Angelino played like a left winger throughout his 101 minutes, and was Leipzig’s key chance creator. Die Roten Bullen struggled to create much of anything in the match, apart from whenever the Spaniard got on the ball and delivered crosses into the box. Hee-Chan Hwang meanwhile had his best performance in a Leipzig shirt, despite only playing 30 minutes. The Korean forward scored the first and set up the second, helping lead Leipzig toward victory.
Manager: Julian Nagelsmann
Although Florian Kohfeldt deserves credit for Werder Bremen’s resilient defensive shape, Julian Nagelsmann ultimately deserves more of the credit for securing a win in extra time. Both of the team’s goals were scored through substitutes, first Hwang and then Forsberg, while many of his other tactical tweaks in the match paid off.
Substitutes: Marwin Hitz (BVB), Willi Orban (LEI), Manuel Akanji (BVB), Marco Reus (BVB) Josh Sargent (BRE)