Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp admitted he was far from happy the Bundesliga leaders had to play in sub-zero temperatures in their 4-0 German Cup quarter-final victory at minnows Holstein Kiel.
“It was like ice hockey on grass,” fumed Klopp as the match went ahead even though the pitch at Kiel’s Holstein Stadion was partly frozen amidst temperatures of minus-18oC. “The pitch was unplayable, but there was pressure from TV not to cancel the game. I was so tense that it was easy to fire up my players as if they were playing in a World Cup final. There was a great danger the players were going to get hurt.”
Klopp’s concern was understandable with his side two points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, in which they face Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Saturday.
Klopp started with Australian reserve goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak in a near first-choice side as the guests raced into a 2-0 lead in the first 20 minutes.
Poland striker Robert Lewandowski put Dortmund ahead in front of a sell-out 11,386 crowd when he reacted fastest to an over-head kick from Ivan Perisic to score in the 11th minute.
Japan’s Shinji Kagawa doubled the lead seven minutes later when he took a great diagonal pass from Poland midfielder Lukasz Piszczek and slammed the ball into the top left-hand corner from the edge of the penalty area.
Dortmund were rarely tested by the minnows, who had knocked top-flight FSV Mainz 05 out in the previous round and also beaten second-tier Duisburg and Energie Cottbus on the way to the last eight.
Just as he did in Friday’s 2-0 Bundesliga win at Nuremberg, Paraguay striker Lucas Barrios came off the bench midway through the second half and scored Dortmund’s third in the 80th minute.
Perisic, who provided the final pass for Lewandowski and Barrios to score, was rewarded for his efforts with the final goal on 87 minutes.