1. FC Union Berlin was the second team to reach the quarter-finals of the DFB Cup. The Köpenickers defeated VfL Wolfsburg 2-1 (1-1) after an intense 90 minutes. Previously, VfB Stuttgart had also won 2-1 at SC Paderborn after falling behind.
The team was not irritated by the failed Isco transfer and celebrated their fourth win in their fourth competitive game this year. Only a few hours after the deal with the former real star Isco did not materialize and the Spaniard was already on his way home, the Irons once again caught up: After Luca Waldschmidt’s early guest tour in the Ex-Wolfsburg’s Robin Knoche equalized in the fifth minute (12′). The winning goal was scored by Kevin Behrens (79th) in front of 22,012 fans in the sold-out stadium at the Alte Försterei. The yellow-red card for Berlin’s Niko Gießelmann shortly before the end did not change anything (87th).
Sports director Jörg Schmadtke’s last day at work ended in disappointment for the Wolves. At the same time, coach Kovac conceded another defeat after 16 cup successes in a row. The Croatian, who had led Eintracht Frankfurt and FC Bayern to victory in the cup, missed the record set by Hennes Weisweiler in the 1970s.
The transfer posse around Isco had kept the Köpenicker club in suspense all day. The five-time Champions League winner had even completed the medical check and should have a contract until 2024 plus an option for another year. According to Union managing director Oliver Ruhnert, the Spaniard’s consulting agency had requested changes, which finally burst the transfer. “Even if the player is already here, we don’t allow ourselves to do anything that doesn’t suit us,” Ruhnert told Sky TV, while the Isco side saw the problem at Union.
Berlin coach Urs Fischer admitted that it was an issue in the team all day. Perhaps this was also the reason why the Berliners completely slept through the start in heavy rain. Waldschmidt scored the first chance to score from a short distance after the Unioners had already moved out of the penalty area. However, Janik Haberer canceled the offside when he ran back into the field at the goal line. “The whole topic is superimposed on the game here today,” said Ruhnert before the game and had a bad idea for the following game: “It’s not easy for a team either,” said Ruhnert. “It kept us busy, we talked a lot about it,” confirmed goalscorer Behrens.
It didn’t take long for the second in the Bundesliga to recover from the shock. And once again a standard situation led to success. After a short corner, Croatian World Cup participant Josip Juranovic, who was signed by Celtic Glasgow, crossed to Knoche in his starting eleven, who only had to push in. It was a special goal for the defender, after all he had moved to Wolfsburg when he was a junior and made his Bundesliga debut there.
As expected, an intense and physical cup fight developed. The Berliners gradually gained the upper hand and had a great chance to take the lead in the middle of the first half when Jordan’s head hit the crossbar (27′). Keeper Pavao Pervan, who had moved between the posts for Koen Casteels who had a cold, would have been powerless for the second time. On the other side, Paulo Otavio tested the Berlin goalkeeper Frederik Rönnow (37th).
In the second round, VfL had advantages, but without creating any great chances. On the other hand, the Berliners presented themselves as ice-cold again. After a cross from Rani Khedira, Sheraldo Becker headed the ball perfectly in the middle for Behrens, who only had to shoot in.
After the Köpenickers had survived the opponent’s final offensive, Jerome Roussillon had a great chance to make it 3-1 in the fourth minute of added time. The former Wolfsburg player ran towards the opponent’s empty goal after a VfL corner, but waited too long to score the final shot, so his attempt was blocked. Memories of Frank Mill, who ran alone towards the FC Bayern goal in 1986 in a Borussia Dortmund shirt and only hit the post, did not last long. Referee Sascha Stegemann opened the Berlin celebrations with the following final whistle.
The quarterfinals will be held on April 4th and 5th. The final will take place on June 3rd in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.
SC Paderborn – VfB Stuttgart 1:2 (1:0)
1. FC Union Berlin – VfL Wolfsburg 2:1 (1:1)
RB Leipzig – TSG Hoffenheim (6 p.m.)
1. FSV Mainz 05 – FC Bayern Munich (8.45 p.m.)
SV Sandhausen – SC Freiburg (6 p.m.)
Eintracht Frankfurt – SV Darmstadt 98 (8.45 p.m.)
1. FC Nuremberg – Fortuna Dusseldorf (6 p.m.)
VfL Bochum – Borussia Dortmund (8.45 p.m.)