DFB-Pokal Preview: Borussia Dortmund v Wolfsburg
Wins over Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have given Borussia Dortmund a "real boost" ahead of their DFB-Pokal semi-final against Wolfsburg.
Dortmund are riding the crest of a wave following a 2-0 victory over Real in the UEFA Champions League last Tuesday, and even though they still lost that tie 3-2 on aggregate, they carried their form into a tough trip to already-crowned Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.
They cruised to a 3-0 success at the Allianz Arena in Saturday's Der Klassiker, with the bold line-up employed by coach Jurgen Klopp reaping rewards.
Klopp – who left Bayern-bound Robert Lewandowski on the bench – opted for an attacking quartet of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marco Reus, Jonas Hofmann, all of whom scored, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
And the pace and movement of Dortmund's front four ruthlessly exposed Bayern's high defensive line, condemning the Bavarian giants to their first home league loss since October 2012.
Dortmund could potentially meet Bayern in the Pokal final, with Bayern contesting the other semi-final against second-tier Kaiserslautern on Wednesday.
First, though, Dortmund must progress from Tuesday's showdown against Wolfsburg – the second time the two sides have played each other in less than a fortnight.
Dortmund produced a 2-1 win in the Bundesliga meeting earlier this month, with Lewandowski and Reus scoring second-half goals in a come-from-behind triumph.
And Reus believes the impressive wins over Real and Bayern have given the side the confidence needed to book their place in the final, telling the club's official website: "The two wins this week has given us a real boost for the cup semi-final."
They were thoughts midfielder Nuri Sahin – who will permanently join Dortmund at the end of the season – echoed.
"This was a good way to prepare for Tuesday," Sahin said after the Bayern win.
"We have a great chance to win a trophy and we want to be in the final, so we have to show the same determination against Wolfsburg as we did here."
Lewandowski and full-back Lukasz Piszczek, who both started on the bench at Bayern, are likely to return to Dortmund's starting line-up.
Wolfsburg are also in impressive form though, with the loss to Dortmund their only defeat in their last six Bundesliga matches.
A comprehensive 4-1 win over Nuremberg on Saturday has boosted their hopes of claiming the fourth UEFA Champions League spot.
Croatian midfielder Ivan Perisic scored twice in that win, while Ivica Olic also netted – his fourth goal in his last five matches.