Ottmar Hitzfeld is backing Borussia Dortmund star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to hit top form in Saturday’s DFB Pokal final against rivals Bayern Munich.
Gabon forward Aubameyang has enjoyed a magnificent season, with 39 goals across 48 matches in all competitions, although he only managed three in his last nine Bundesliga outings.
Hitzfeld, who managed both finalists during his esteemed career, believes this drop-off was inevitable as Bayern ran away with the top-flight title and he expects Thomas Tuchel’s gifted forward line to be back up to speed at the Olympiastadion in Berlin.
“I want to emphasize that the offense of Dortmund played sensationally this season,” he told Omnisport.
“With Aubameyang, [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan, [Shinji] Kagawa, [Marco] Reus… it was fantastic to watch and for sure, when you lose some pressure, everybody ceases a little bit, also Aubameyang did.
“But nevertheless he played a fantastic season, scored 25 goals, lots of dribbling. He’s lightning-fast, is able to show his jumping power in the box on headers.
“He can go one-on-one, is a bit faster than [Bayern striker Robert] Lewandowski. And I’m sure, that Aubameyang will burn again in the cup final.”
Dortmund full-back Marcel Schmelzer has suggested Tuchel will employ his normal attacking tactics against Pep Guardiola’s side.
Bayern won 5-1 in the October Bundesliga meeting at the Allianz Arena before a cagier 0-0 affair at Signal Iduna Park this term, but Hitzfeld believes Tuchel would be right to stick to his guns.
“Thomas Tuchel is used to facing Bayern with Dortmund,” he said. “He will adjust his team to be aggressive, he’ll try to force Bayern into defending because they have problems there.
“If you just try to defend, you’ll be crushed by Bayern’s playing, art and their pressing.
“So you have to try to generate pressure on them by yourself because in the defence, Bayern has their problems – especially in getting hit by counter-attacks.
“With quick attacks on both sides, try to put pressure on them with Dortmund’s full-backs, go on one-on-one.
“Then Bayern has problems, like the most teams would also have. And Dortmund probably will try to make use of that.”
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