2011 DFB Pokal: Another tale about an unlikely hero?

It is 1992, and a young Jörg Sievers has managed to keep his underdog Hannover side in the Pokal Cup final for 120 minutes. In the penalty shoot out against mighty Borussia Mönchengladbach, Sievers becomes the hero of an entire football nation by saving two penalties to bring the Cup title to Hannover, then in 2. Bundesliga. It is times like these when unlikely heroes are born, and the 2. Bundesliga team that gets into the final needs a heroic performance when they play against one of the top teams from the Bundesliga.

The next unlikely hero?
German-American goalie David Yelldell could become the next unlikely hero that helps his side to win the DFB Pokal.  Born in Germany, the son of an American serviceman and German mother, the 6’4″ goalkeeper began his football career at Stuttgarter Kickers second team, and moved for a while around in Germany’s lower divisions before he finally was purchased by MSV Duisburg at the start of this season.

Jörg Sievers managed to keep his side in the 1992 semi final against Werder Bremen for 120 minutes before he took Hannover’s sixth penalty, and afterwards saved a penalty shot by Bremen legend Marco Bode to advance Hannover into the 1992 final. Yelldell, 29. had a somewhat easier day at the office in his semi final matchup with Energie Cottbus.

Stefan Maierhofer and Duisburg captain Srdjan Baljak scored the two first goals of the game in the 24th and 54th minute, before Energie Cottbus’ Nils Petersen injected some excitement by scoring on a 78th minute penalty kick after a controversial red card given to Duisburg defender Bruno Soares.  Although Yelldell couldn’t stop Petersen’s PK, he pulled off two crucial saves for the Zebras when Cottbus were chasing the equalizer with Duisburg a man done. Due to the American goalie’s heroic action against a pressing Cottbus side that never got their second goal the club from West-Germany can look forward to their fourth Cup final, winners of the 2-1 match.

The historic facts
The DFB pokal has in the past produced unlikely results. This season Hannover 96 lost against Elversberg from the fourth tier of German football and Eintracht Frankfurt got kicked out of the tournament by Alemania Aachen.

However, the only team from the 2. Bundesliga that has won the DFB Pokal so far is Hannover 96. Since them a number of teams from the lower tiers have reached the final in Berlin: but VfL Wolfsburg, Rot-Weiss Essen, Energie Cottbus, 1. FC Union Berlin, Alemania Aachen and the second team of Hertha Berlin all lost in the final.

What have all those teams in common? Well, they didn’t have a hero in goal that kept their shut down opponents for 90 minutes. David Yelldell will stand in front of Goliath when his team goes to Berlin, but maybe, just maybe, he might be the David that Jörg Sievers was when his team won the DFB Pokal in 1992, taking down the Goliath-sized winner of Wednesday’s FC Bayern Munich- FC Schalke 04 semifinal and lift the 2011 Cup for 2nd tier MSV Duisburg.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 32-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.

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