Two first-half goals were enough for Borussia Dortmund to beat Wolfsburg in the German Cup semi-final on Tuesday night. The Wolves had their chances against a tiring BVB, but lacked the killer finishing.
Both teams came into Tuesday's battle with confidence high. The hosts Dortmund had trounced (a rather underpowered) Bayern Munich at the weekend, while Wolfsburg ramped up the pressure on Leverkusen in the fourth Champions League place with a 4-1 dismissal of Nuremberg.
But attacking the area in front of their fans' "Yellow Wall" (which the fans had strewn with millions of slips of yellow confetti during the course of their build-up choreography), it was Jürgen Klopp's men who looked more dangerous from the beginning.
The trio of Marco Reus, Robert Lewandowski, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan proved too much of a handful in the first period. But that was partly down to the Wolfsburg defense, three of whom practically invited Mkhitaryan to slam his low shot into the bottom corner in the 12th minute.
For the next ten minutes, Dortmund dominated the game, streaming forward in trademark style and looking menacing every time. But Wolfsburg have developed a similar method, and made a couple of chances of their own. The clearest one, though, came moments before BVB's second - Junior Malanda's header bouncing off Roman Weidenfeller's post, and Kevin De Bruyne's follow-up shot went well wide. That was one of many occasions when Wolfsburg's finishing let them down.
Within 30 seconds, Reus had found Lewandowski in space inside the Wolves' penalty area, and the Pole took a touch and slammed the ball unstoppably into the top corner. It was his 100th goal for Dortmund, and he had a t-shirt on beneath his kit to point it out - perhaps hoping to placate any BVB faithful who may harbor a grudge when he appears here next season with a Bayern Munich shirt on.
Lewandowski very nearly bagged Dortmund's third within a minute of the re-start, but was inches short of Mkhitaryan's pass. The rest of the half was end-to-end action, as Wolfsburg had plenty to chances - Maximilian Arnold's long range shot at an unguarded goal after Ivica Olic caused trouble in the Dortmund area was the clearest of them. At the other end, Dortmund had an own-goal disallowed after Lewandowski was judged off-side.
But even though the Wolves supplied continued pressure - and were the better team in the second half - they couldn't convert any of their many chances - which included goalmouth scrambles and long-range efforts. As the game wound down, the only trouble that Weidenfeller in the Dortmund goal had was with Reus, with whom he exchanged an angry verbal altercation.
But that will doubtless be assuaged now that they are on their way to the final in Berlin - where they will arrive without conceding a goal in the competition. With Bayern Munich facing second division Kaiserslautern on Wednesday night, that game looks set to be another Klassiker.