Borussia Dortmund booked their place in the DFB Pokal quarter-finals as second-half goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan clinched a 2-0 victory away to Augsburg on Wednesday.
Thomas Tuchel’s side were made to work hard by their Bundesliga rivals before scoring twice in the space of five minutes at the WWK Arena, leaving them on course to reach the final of the tournament for a third successive season.
The prolific Aubameyang swept home a loose ball just after the hour mark for his 24th goal of the season before a deflected drive from Mkhitaryan doubled the visitors’ lead soon after.
Victory was no more than dominant Dortmund, who have been runners-up for the past two years, deserved – they have now recorded 11 victories in their last 14 outings in all competitions.
With Shinji Kagawa named on the bench and Marco Reus missing due to a groin injury, the tie offered a chance for Adrian Ramos to impress from the start.
The selection of the Colombian led to Aubameyang being pushed out wide in manager Tuchel’s preferred 4-3-3 formation, though that didn’t prevent him from being Dortmund’s main threat.
He was put clear by Mkhitaryan in the 41st minute, only for his low shot across goal to be turned away by home goalkeeper Marwin Hitz.
Lukasz Piszczek had earlier seen a header cleared off the line, but the away team’s advantage in terms of both possession and territory failed to lead to a breakthrough in the first half.
Augsburg’s only real shot of note before the break came from Raul Bobadilla, with his left-footed drive fired straight at Roman Burki.
Tuchel was forced to make a change at the interval, as Sven Bender – selected again at the heart of Dortmund’s defence – succumbed to a knock and had to be replaced by Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
Despite that change, the game continued to follow a familiar pattern early in the second half. Castro and Ramos both tested Hitz with low shots, while Mats Hummels – celebrating his 27th birthday – headed over from a free-kick.
Burki had to spare team-mate Piszczek’s blushes at the other end, saving from Bobadilla after the defender’s inability to deal with a long ball had led to the Augsburg forward being sent clean through on goal.
The home side were made to pay for the miss when Aubameyang – moved into a central role with the introduction of Kagawa – reacted sharply to a deflected clearance off Piszczek to break the deadlock.
Mkhitaryan put the game beyond Augsburg with a second for Dortmund after 66 minutes, though his effort would have been within Hitz’s reach had it not clipped Ragnar Klavan’s heel.
The Armenian missed a glorious chance to score again when he failed to stretch out and convert Aubameyang’s teasing centre, though two goals proved more than enough to send Dortmund through to the last eight.