Everyone loves a good old-fashioned underdog story in the cup, don’t they? Well, it doesn’t get much more underdog than a particular upcoming fixture in the German Cup.
Saarbrücken became the first ever fourth-division team to reach the semi-finals of the competition and did so in the most dramatic fashion, edging their opponents via a penalty shootout.
Their quarter-final success came at the expense of Bundesliga outfit Fortuna Düsseldorf; the match ended 1-1 inside 90 minutes. The obvious favourites, though, had to rely on a last-minute goal to send the tie to extra-time after the home side put themselves ahead in the first half.
Deflated to the upmost extreme, Saarbrucken might have thought their chances of progressing to the next round had gone. After a resilient half-an-hour in extra-time, though, they had given themselves the chance of prevailing to the next round.
The shootout went an astonishing 10 rounds before drawing to the most shocking of conclusions.
Ultimately, their victory was inspired by the performance of goalkeeper Daniel Batz who amazingly kept out five penalties – one in normal time and four in the shootout – to send his side through and spark wild celebrations among the elated home supporters.
They might not have been so elated to later hear the news that they would be meeting Bundesliga giants and current leaders Bayern Munich in the next round.
Bayern saw off Schalke in a narrow 1-0 victory and look well on their way to claiming the cup for a record 20th time. A resounding 56 places separate the two teams in the German ranks.
However, Bayern will be without the services of Robert Lewandowski, missing through an injury picked up in their Champions League meeting with Chelsea.
Saarbrucken are enjoying quite the successful season themselves too. The side sit top of their division with 18 wins from 22 matches; it has been 35 years since the side last reached this stage in the competition.
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