Wednesday evening featured the remaining eight games of the DBF Pokal 2nd Round. Wednesday’s participants included heavyweights Bayern (home vs. Hannover) and Schalke (away vs. 3rd side Darmstadt), while SC Freiburg and VfB Stuttgart promised an entertaining top flight clash. Hertha Berlin brought their (now) top flight show to the hallowed ground of 1.FC Kaiserslautern, who itself itches for a top flight return. Meanwhile, Eintracht Frankfurt wanted to prove it could handle three competitions at once, as VfL Bochum visited the Eagles’ ground. In a battle of 2. Bundesliga sides, automobile-towners (and table cellar dwellers) Ingolstadt 04 traveled to FSV Frankfurt. Fußball kultur favorites (and 2. Bundesliga title contenders) Union Berlin traveled to the 3rd tier side Osnabrück. Finally, 3rd tier Saarbrücken hosted beleaguered 2. Bundesliga side SC Paderborn 07.
German fußball’s Englische Woche carnival continued, leaving Bundesliga fanatics like yourself everywhere wondering if you have any remaining viewing and cheering energy left for the Bundesliga matchday looming ahead this weekend … O ye of little faith …
FC Bayern 4 – 1 Hannover 96
- Bayern: Neuer; Rafinha, van Buyten, Dante, Contento (Kirchhoff 82′); Lahm; Müller, Schweinsteiger (Alaba 68′), Kroos, Shaqiri; Pizarro (Ribery 62′).
- H96: Zieler; Sakai, Sane, Marcelo, Pocognoli; Andreasen(Schmiedebach 71′), Stindl; Bittencourt (Kadah 78′), Prib (Schlaudraff 46′), Huszti; Ya Konan.
Because it’s the most highly anticipated starting lineup diagram in the world, behold the mighty Pep’s XI for the match:
Lil Lahm found himself alone between the banks of four in the diagram above. In reality, he partnered with Schweinsteiger in a deeply withdrawn role, as both midfielders were frequently joined by Kroos, who formed the tip of an effective triangle.
A cleanly-shaven Pep Guardiola mopped his brow as Thomas Müller scored spectacularly off his chest from a Xherdan Shaqiri cross at 17′. The “Space-Translator” quickly punctuated his case for Pep’s starting XI. 1-0, Bayern.
The onslaught continued. After challenging, then stealing the ball in the attacking third, Dante (!) swung in a diagonal cross, which Claudio Pizarro headed for the goal at 27′. 2-0, Bayern. Our Bundesliga Fanatic 2012-13 player of the year makes us proud.
However, at 37′ our Brazilian hero backtracked too slowly (and van Buyten looked silly) on a 96er counter in which Didier Ya Konan scored simply off a simple assist from Pocognoli. This 96ers counter upset the dominance narrative we’re accustomed to during Bayern matches when Die Roten open quick 2-0 leads.
However, the surprise was an illusion. At 64′, Müller again was spectacularly missling his body toward the goal, which met Shaqiri’s freekick, resulting in a Müller brace. 3-1, Bayern. Fourteen minutes later, Franck Ribery – Europe’s footballer of the year – rebounded Thomas Müller’s long-distance shot in for a smart goal. 4-1, Bayern. Finis.
(Fashion note: Wasn’t today’s Hannover kit a suspiciously Wolfsburgian shade of green?)
SV Darmstadt 98 1-3 Schalke 04
- D98: Zimmermann; Berzel, Sulu, Gorka, Stegmayer; Ivana (Schmidt 85′), Gondorf, Behrens (Da Costa 81′), Heller; Sailer (Singu 70′), Stroh-Engel.
- S04: Hildebrand; Höger, Höwedes, Matip, Aogo; Jones, Neustädter; Farfan (Asamoah 90′), Meyer, Clemens (Santana 87′); Szalai (Goretzka 75′)
This season, SV Darmstadt 98 is a 3. Liga side, thanks to Kickers Offenbach’s financial misfortunes, but SV 98 have proved worthy with a run of good form recently. You wouldn’t have been crazy to peg this side to pull off the big Round 2 upset, given the devastation of Schalke’s 0-4 loss at Veltins to Bayern on the weekend. S04 looked a bit ripe for the picking.
No such luck. A penalty chance converted by Jefferson Farfan gave Schalke the lead, but to their credit Darmstadt responded immediately at 36′ when Hanno Behrens leveled the score, which remained 1-1 until around the hour mark, when Schalke captain Benedikt Höwedes headed in a ball from Marco Höger to put the Royal Blues back on top. Schalke’s eighteen year-old Max Meyer completed the scoring at 86′ with a precise laser of a shot threaded through and around many legs. The win breathes life into Jens Keller’s club after Saturday’s clobbering against Bayern and also keep S04 in contention for a 6th Pokal championship next spring.
SC Freiburg 2- 1 VfB Stuttgart
- SCF: Baumann; Sorg, Krmas, Ginter, Günter; Schmid, Schuster, Fernandes, Coquelin (Kerk 80′); Mehmedi (Hoeffer 89′), Hanke (Freis 71′).
- VfB: Kirschbaum; Sakai, Schwaab, Rüdiger, Rausch; Harnik (Maxim 75′), Kvist (Cacau 86′) , Gentner, Traore; Ibisevic, Abdellaoue (Werner 61′).
For a half, nothing happened. But the second half provided Christian Streich’s Freiburg side the win, avenging their Pokal semifinal loss to the Swabians last April (a 1-2 loss, which was followed by a second 1-2 loss, again, to Stuttgart four days later in league play).
However, the nothing of the first half wasn’t a snoozing kind of nothing, but rather a breathless nothing in which both SCF and VfB seemed to forget about scoring a goal amid their ceaseless running and gunning. The match was nil-nil at halftime.
As tension built, SCF’s Oliver Sorg hit the woodwork in an attempt that had the crowd seething. and then young centerback Matthias Ginter scored on a header off a corner at 51′. 1-0, SCF. Eighteen minutes later, Mike Hanke, who was brought in to provide offense after the mass offseason emigration of SCF attackers, did what he’s paid to do and built the lead to 2-0. Vedad Ibseivic provided drama with a 85′ headed goal, but Streich’s boys held their lead to the end in a match where both clubs combined for 35 shots, with SCF keeper Oliver Baumann making 10 saves.
For the Bresigau-Brazilians, who have yet to win in six Bundesliga matches this season and who surrendered a 2-0 Europa League lead last week to settle for a tie, Wednesday’s victory reminded supporters of exciting form the club demonstrated last season. Meanwhile, Stuttgart have already washed out of the Europa League and Pokal.
(Note to VfB coach Thomas Schneider: Timo Werner and Alexandru Maxim HAVE to start every match if fit!).
1.FC Kaiserslautern 3-1 Hertha Berlin
- 1FCK: Sippel; Dick, Simunek, Torrejon, Löwe; Matmour, Karl, Ring (Orban 82′), Gaus (Fortounis 69′); Occean, Idrissou.
- HSC: Kraft; Holland, Franz, Janker, Schulz; Lustenberger, Niemeyer; Allagui, Cigerci (Ronny 84′), Sahar (Ramos 79′); Wagner.
On paper, an exciting tussle on one of German’s hallowed fußball ground. However, it was the visiting Berliners who opened the scoring out of the blue – against the run of play – at 25′ when the unmarked Peter Niemeyer chested the ball and threaded a fine shot into the goal. Hertha took this lead into halftime.
At 52′, the seemingly inevitable happened as the home side equalized when Mohamadou Idrissou headed in a shot at close range, as the ‘Slautern faithful erupted. The pandemonium continued just 11 minutes later. In a series of unfortunate events for Hertha, FCK pinged the ball around the midfield. Suddenly, the ball was flying toward the box with FCK’s Matmour out-sprinting three Hertha defenders for it, which he volleyed off his right foot as his body teetered around. 2-1, FCK.
Kaiserslautern scored its 3rd unanswered goal when Canadian international Olivier Occean rebounded the ball for a goal. 3-1, FCK.
The Red Devils made the most of their home-field advantage, securing 55% of possession while outshooting the Old Lady 16-7 and earning 8 corner kicks to Hertha’s 4. Jos Luhakay’s club, after starting with three wins and a draw in their first four competitive matches, now only have a draw and three losses in their last four contests. Growing pains?
Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 VfL Bochum
- Eintracht: Trapp; Jung, Zambrano, Anderson, Djakpa; Rode (Flum 46′), Russ (Lanig 72′), Barnetta (Lakic 68′); Aigner, Inui, Kadlec.
- Bochum: Luthe, Freier, Malfritz, Fabian, Acquistapace; Tasaka, Latza (Eyjolfsson 72′), Zahirovic, Cwielong; Sukuta-Pasu (Kreyer 59′), Aydin (Ilso 66′).
Two moments of Takashi Inui‘s wizardry was all Eintracht needed to wrap this match up by halftime. The Japanese international lined up as a central attacking midfielder and involved himself very actively in the attack early on. His efforts were rewarded with a cooly shot ball at the penalty area for the opening goal. 1-0, Eintracht. A couple minutes later, Inui pipped a lovely, but deadly, no-look pass to Aigner, who scored the goal. 2-0, Eintracht.
Although Bochum outshot their hosts and earned 8 corners to Eintracht’s 2, Armin Veh’s side kept possession (64%), which enabled to ultimately control the match. Eintracht are now undefeated in their last four matches.
FSV Frankfurt 0 – 2 FC Ingolstadt 04
- FSV: Klandt; Huber, Schlicke, Oumari, Teixeira (Rukavytsya 72′); Görlitz, Konrad, Kauko (Yelen 64′), Epstein; Leckie (Roshi 84′), Kapllani.
- FCI 04: Özcan; Viera da Costa, Roger, Gunesch, Soares; Matip, Cohen (Morales 64′), Caiuby; Hofmann, Hajnal (Lappe 58′), Eigler.
New Ingolstadt coach Marco Kurz has had a rough time in his first season with the Audi-Boys, as the club has only one win and one draw in their first six 2. Bundesliga matches. So it had to be deeply satisfying for Kurz and his team to defeat their 2. Bundesliga rivals – the midtable side FSV Frankfurt – before FSV’s small home crowd.
Hungarian international Tamas Hajnal – a summer bargain-basement pickup from Stuttgart – scored his second goal of this year’s Pokal at 27′, while Schalke loanee Philipp Hofmann added an insurance goal early in the second half. FSV had the lion’s share of possession, but were unable to get on the scoreboard despite forcing eight saves from Ingolstadt keeper Ramazan Özcan.
VfL Osnabrück 0- 1 FC Union Berlin
- VfL: Fernandes; Pisot (Blum 81′), Stadel, Karikari, Dercho; Nagy, Feldhahn, Zenga (Ornatelli 81′), Hohnstedt; Prokoph (Spann 81′), Grimaldi.
- FCU: Haas; Kopplin, Puncec, Schönheim, Kohlmann; Kreilach, Özbek (Parensen 81′); Dausch (Brandy 71′), Mattuschka, Köhler; Terodde (Nemec 82′).
This match on paper looked like it could be an upset, as Osnabrück earned the 3. Liga relegation playoff spot last season before being swept aside by Dynamo Dresden. But Union Berlin has done well this season in the 2nd division, fashioning a 4-2-2 record and earning the top berth in the league table two weeks ago. Furthermore, Union weren’t brilliant Wednesday, but earned and converted a penalty (taken by Torsten Mattuschka) in the 13th minute while holding onto their slim lead by doubling Osnabrück in both percentage of possession and shots. It wasn’t pretty, but Union fans have to feel good after losing to Fürth over the weekend and sliding out of first place.
Saarbrücken 2- 1 SC Paderborn 07
- Saarbrücken: Ochs; Falkenberg, Kruse, Knipping, Stegerer; Eggert, Schneider (Deville 72′); Korte (Kreuels 86′), Hoffmann (Pellowski 90′), Göcer; Rathgeber.
- SCP: Kruse; Wemmer, Ziegler, Hünemeier, Hartherz; Demme, Vrancic (Amedick 67′), Brückner (Meha 46′); Kachunga, Saglik, Wurtz (Zeitz 80′).
Saarbrücken’s new Croatian coach, Milan Šašić, who took over less than two weeks ago, is no stranger to German fußball, as he spent a decade managing German clubs. Šašić is also no stranger to the Pokal success, thanks to his remarkable run leading 2. Bundesliga MSV Duisburg to the final against Schalke in 2011. The 54 year-old has certainly started on the right foot as his 3. Liga side upset Paderborn 2-1 on Wednesday.
Veteran striker Thomas Rathgeber scored a 1st half brace for De FC and Paderborn could do no more than earn a goal back in the 2nd half on Mahir Sağlık’s tally. Paderborn held 75% (!) of possession during the match, and attempted 20 shots to Saarbrücken’s 8, but it is the club from the Saarland who advances as the only 3. Liga side that will appear in December’s 3rd Pokal round. Ten first-division clubs survived round 2, as well as five second-division sides.