Christian Pulisic embodies Borussia Dortmund's new spirit - Thomas Tuchel
Thomas Tuchel believes now is the time to start resting players as Borussia Dortmund travel to Hertha Berlin, where three points could see the side move clear of one of their opponents for the Champions League ranks in Bundesliga.
The coach praised Christian Pulisic as a glowing example for Dortmund's new spirit.
"The time has come that some of those players, who are really close to the starting formation can get a start," Tuchel told his prematch news conference ahead of the trip to Berlin, where they will take on Bundesliga's best home team of the season so far.
"They are a nasty opponent," Tuchel said of Hertha, who have struggled away from home in recent weeks, but managed to hold Bayern Munich to a 1-1 draw in mid-February.
Berlin are already trailing Dortmund by six points after four defeats in a row away from home, and BVB could open the gap to the fifth-placed team in Bundesliga even more on Saturday.
"We want to control the ball, control their counters," Tuchel said, and hinted at several changes in the starting formation following the midweek 4-0 defeat of Benfica.
"It was an outstanding evening, it was outstanding match. Very intense. For many players, and also for the staff it was a first real Champions League experience," he said. "Those things have an effect. And we have to mix things up. It's important and complicated match."
On Wednesday, United States international Pulisic replaced the injured Marco Reus in the side, and the midfielder impressed with a strike in his side's 4-0 round-of-16 defeat of Benfica.
Tuchel praised the 18-year-old as a role model for those waiting in line for their chance in the starting formation.
Tuchel highlighted the "spirit everyone brings to the team right now, especially those waiting in line like Andre Schurrle, Shinji Kagawa, Matthias Ginter."
He singled out Pulisic as an example of what can be achieved when one remains focused in training despite seemingly dropping down the pecking order.
"Christian Pulisic suddenly got the chance on the big stage. But he deserved it, so we did not worry he could show that performance," Tuchel said. "And a performance like that is only possible if you train like that and are taken up in your role like that.
"That's what distinguishes our team right now, and that's the spirit our fans feel right now."
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.