Thomas Tuchel thinks Borussia Dortmund’s performance in the 2-2 draw at Schalke in the Ruhr derby justified his decision to make eight changes.
Shinji Kagawa’s brilliant chip and Matthias Ginter’s header twice put the visitors ahead in the Ruhr derby, but they were cancelled out by Leroy Sane’s low strike and a Klaas-Jan Huntelaar penalty in a dramatic period at the start of the second half.
The draw means Dortmund are seven points behind leaders Bayern Munich with only five matches remaining, but Tuchel felt there were plenty of positives to take out of the match ahead of Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final second leg against Liverpool at Anfield.
“The two Liverpool games have played a role, of course,” he said to the club’s official website. “I already had an idea of the line-up in my head.
“We wanted to defend with the back three and to dominate on the wing because we knew that Schalke were strong in the air and on the wing. In the 48th game of the season, I knew we were reaching our limit.
“I know there were a lot of changes but with each video analysis it felt better that we could make good ones after 60 minutes. We believed in the line-up 100 per cent and this has been justified today.
“We saw lots of good things. I was very pleased about Ilkay Gundogan’s comeback [from the bench after injury] as well as both Christian Pulisic and Adrian Ramos’ performances. It was an intense game, but it was OK.”
Tuchel felt that Dortmund’s second-half performance was significantly better than their first.
He continued: “We needed a bit of time to get into the game and find our footing, which is understandable given that we had made a lot of changes to the team.
“In regard to Christian Pulisic and his pace and courage, we found a lot of gaps when on the attack and we were able to play out a few decent chances. In the middle of the first half we lost a bit of the control, didn’t use space brilliantly and didn’t play strongly enough.
“The second half was better for us – we played more dominantly and with lots of determination. We went into the lead twice and were in a good position but unfortunately our opponents equalised quickly twice.”
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