Kai Brünker scored in Saarbrücken's win
Photo: Uwe Anspach / dpa
1. FC Saarbrücken remains the sensational team in the DFB Cup. The third-division club, who had already knocked FC Bayern Munich out of the cup a round earlier, prevailed 2-0 (0-0) in their home game against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen, meanwhile, still have the chance to win three titles this season: The Bundesliga leaders won 3-1 (2-0) against second-division SC Paderborn. Playmaker Florian Wirtz was a concern: The Germany international had to be substituted injured before the break.
The first really dangerous Leverkusen attack ended up in the goal: Josip Stanišić got too much space on the right side and crossed into the middle, where Victor Boniface put his foot in the cross and extended the ball. The shot bounced off the inside of the left post and into the goal to give Bayer the lead (12th minute) – and Paderborn's defence was virtually broken.
Xabi Alonso had made five changes to the starting eleven of his still unbeaten team, but that did not slow down Leverkusen's flow of play. After interplay with Jeremie Frimpong, midfielder Exequiel Palacios finished from about 17 meters, the low shot overcame Paderborn keeper Pelle Boevink for the preliminary decision (28th). Amine Adli also celebrated a little later, but Boniface had been offside before the supposed 3-0 (39').
Wirtz injury and VAR intervention annoy Leverkusen
This was followed by a moment of shock from Bayer's point of view: After a kick on the heel, Wirtz limped off the pitch with a pained face (44'). Jonas Hofmann came on for the 20-year-old, while Filip Bilbija, who had committed the foul, was shown a yellow card.
Hofmann had his first good moment shortly after the first change of ends, when he took advantage of a through ball from Boniface to round the rushing Boevink and slide it in (53'). Then the VAR, which will also be used in the DFB Cup from the round of <> onwards, came forward and referee Tobias Stieler also took this goal back due to an offside position of a few centimetres.
Substitute Sebastian Klaas brought Paderborn back to within one goal (83') before Leverkusen's Patrik Schick scored from close range to tie the game (87').
Saarbrücken had already sensationally eliminated Bayern Munich in the previous round, now the club is in the last eight. The Saarbrücken team have never progressed further than the semi-finals of the DFB Cup, the last time they were there was in the 2019/2020 season.
Frankfurt had a hard time in the early stages against the hosts, who were dangerous in attack with high balls. As early as the 17th minute, Frankfurt had to clear Luca Kerber in dire need (17th).
A few minutes later, Saarbrücken celebrated. Brünker had scored with a header from a corner kick. However, the goal was cancelled out because Amine Naïfi had previously pushed with too much physical effort to create space for Brünker (20').
Eintracht remained harmless, the preliminary decision was made after about an hour. A high ball tumbled in front of Brünker's feet in a half-right position, and the centre-forward managed a precise low shot into the short corner as he fell (64').
It was not to be the last Saarbrücken goal: A cross from the left side flew into the Frankfurt six-yard box, where Brünker put his head down, which seemed rather unintentional. Kerber was in the right place and increased from close range (78th).
Eintracht talent sent off
The evening ended particularly bitterly for Noel Futkeu. The Eintracht striker came on as a substitute in the 77th minute – it was the professional debut for the 21-year-old, who usually plays in the Regionalliga. It was also Futkeu's birthday. Only six minutes later, however, he committed an assault and flew off the pitch.