Borussia Dortmund 6 Darmstadt 0: Tuchel's youngsters send out a warning
Borussia Dortmund made a statement of intent to the Bundesliga on Saturday, as Thomas Tuchel's youngsters thrashed 10-man Darmstadt 6-0 at home.
Dortmund were surprise 1-0 losers away to RB Leipzig in their previous league fixture, but bounced back with a crushing 6-0 win at Legia Warsaw in the Champions League on Wednesday.
And, despite being without several first-team regulars, including Mario Gotze and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, they built on that result by brushing aside Darmstadt at Signal Iduna Park, the visitors finishing a man light and taken apart by goals from Adrian Ramos, Christian Pulisic, Sebastian Rode, Emre Mor and a Gonzalo Castro double.
The result, their biggest in the league since May 2009, sees Dortmund remain three points off champions and early leaders Bayern Munich, who came from behind to defeat Ingolstadt 3-1 at home.
Despite Tuchel resting Gotze, Aubemeyang and Marc Bartra, while Lukasz Piszczek missed out through injury, a strong start from the hosts produced a deserved opening goal after just seven minutes.
Raphael Guerreiro played Ousmane Dembele into a dangerous area on the left-hand side of the box and his cut-back was tucked away emphatically by Castro in the centre of the penalty area.
Darmstadt coach Norbert Meier withdrew Anis Ben-Hatira in the first half and Mario Vrancic at the break, but Dortmund doubled their lead just two minutes into the second half.
Pulisic, embarking on a driving run, cut inside from the right flank and fed Ramos, who laid the ball off to Guerreiro.
A fierce shot from outside the area was parried by Darmstadt goalkeeper Michael Esser, with Ramos on hand to lift the rebound into the roof of the net.
Dortmund's onslaught continued unabated, Marcel Schmelzer breaking into the box and Guerreiro helping the ball to the back post, where unmarked teenager Pulisic swept home a cool finish in the 54th minute.
The away team's troubles worsened three minutes later, when Peter Niemeyer was shown a second yellow card for a heavy tackle on Ramos.
Dortmund forced a fourth goal with 12 minutes remaining, Sebastian Rode and Pulisic combining on the left side of the area to tee up Castro, the substitute flicking home a delightfully cheeky back-heeled finished.
With six minutes to go it was Castro's turn to act as provider, receiving possession close to the by-line and setting up Rode for a brilliant flicked effort of his own to make it 5-0.
Still the rampant hosts were not satisfied, Pulisic advancing down the right and picking out Mor, who smashed home a sixth in the 88th minute to cap off a magnificent win for Tuchel's young alternates.
Both teams are back in action on Tuesday, when Dortmund, having revealed the full potential of their exciting crop of youngsters, travel to Wolfsburg and Darmstadt play host to Hoffenheim.