Thomas Tuchel claims his Borussia Dortmund side have the chance to swing the balance of the Bundesliga title race after beating Darmstadt on the same night that Bayern Munich suffered a rare defeat.
Goals from Adrian Ramos and Erik Durm ensured there were no shocks at Stadion am Bollenfalltor, where Tuchel rested first-choice players like Marco Reus and Shinji Kagawa ahead of Saturday's home clash with Bayern.
While Dortmund won, the league leaders slipped to a 2-1 home loss against Mainz, meaning the gap between the top two in the Bundesliga was narrowed to five points, just three days ahead of their meeting.
Tuchel said: "The victory gives us an enormous boost. That's why I'm happy about our performance.
"The advantage has melted - the situation has changed. Of course we are trying to shorten [Bayern's] lead.
"Five points is a big lead, but the ball is with us!"
The win completed a sequence of four consecutive Bundesliga victories for Dortmund, and Tuchel was delighted by the performance of his changed side, which included 17-year-old winger Felix Passlack.
"There is nothing more to be gotten out of this line-up," said Tuchel. "I say that with absolute appreciation for my team.
"If you come to Darmstadt as Dortmund, then the best that you can deliver is a very serious performance. Unspectacular, but effective. That is what we have done."
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