DORTMUND (Germany) • Thomas Tuchel hailed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's "sensational" hat- trick, after Borussia Dortmund romped into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 4-0 drubbing of Benfica at home.
The forward has now scored seven times in his last three games and has seven Champions League goals in as many matches this season.
Wednesday's result saw Dortmund win 4-1 on aggregate after their 1-0 defeat in Lisbon last month.
"It was a sensational performance," enthused coach Tuchel. "I love goals like his first one, because they need such good timing and Auba is always where he needs to be."
Aubameyang's first Champions League hat-trick was redemption after his night to forget in the first leg, when he missed four clear chances including a second-half penalty.
"We saw the real Aubameyang tonight as opposed to the first leg when I think his brother played," quipped Tuchel. "For a goal-scorer, there is nothing more important than to score and he has a nose for goal."
Aubameyang is on 28 goals for the season as Dortmund reached the last eight in Europe for the first time since 2014.
"I was very sad after the first leg, made many mistakes over the whole match and wasn't at all happy with my game," he said.
The 27-year-old Gabon international took the man-of-the-match award, but US international Christian Pulisic, who turns 19 only in September, was outstanding. The teenager set up the opener after just four minutes and then netted the crucial second on 59 minutes to put Dortmund ahead in the tie.
Aubameyang added the third two minutes later and completed a hat-trick from close range in the 85th minute to kill off the tie.
"Christian is a very self-confident person and he can draw on his potential on moments like tonight," said Tuchel. "Along with the rest of the team, he put in an exceptional second-half performance."
The defeat ensured more German pain for Benfica, who have now lost 15 times in 23 European games away to Bundesliga clubs.
The Portuguese side, aiming to reach the last eight for the third time in six seasons, conceded their first goals from open play in more than 700 minutes.
"We did not start well into the game, conceding so early," said coach Rui Vitoria.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS