Third division who? We are going to have to stop referring to FC Saarbrücken as merely a 3. Liga side after two giant slayings in a row in the DFB-Pokal.
In the second round, Saarbrücken shocked the world with a 2-1 winner in the final minute of extra time against Bayern Munich in the second round. Now they have done it again with an emphatic 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt, currently 7th in the Bundesliga.
Saarbrücken brought the energy early, putting Die Adler under continued pressure and winning all three of the corners they would be awarded in the match by 17 minutes.
The second corner, taken short, resulted in a stern test for Germany national team keeper Kevin Trapp after Kasim Rabihic slipped behind the defense and fired a laser at goal, with Luca Kerber nearly bundling in on the rebound.
The third corner wound up in the back of the net. Striker Kai Brünker headed home and was well into his celebrations when a belated video review revealed a foul in the lead-up: a shove by teammate Mohamed Amine Naïfi that cleared the space for Brünker to get free.
But if Frankfurt felt they could breathe a sigh of relief, they were mistaken, and the second half brought all manner of redemption for the home side.
A long goal kick in the 64th minute was laid off to Brünker, who lashed the ball home as he fell and beat Trapp. This time, the goal stood. The man who provided the assist? Naïfi, who atoned for his earlier foul.
In the 78th, Saarbrücken doubled their advantage. High pressing won the ball back early and sent Frankfurt scrambling to just about clear away the danger, but not enough. On the second effort, Saarbrücken struck: a looping cross ping-ponging between bodies and falling kindly again to Luca Kerber, who this time made no mistake and buried it.
Frankfurt coach Dino Toppmöller — a former Bayern assistant under Julian Nagelsmann for one-and-a-half seasons in Bavaria — saw his troubles compounded in the 82nd minute, after substitute Noel Futkeu earned a red card for a rash kick on an opponent far from the action. Another substitute, Hugo Larsson, had given the ball away in the lead-up to Saarbrücken’s second goal moments earlier.
What next? Bayern is off this midweek, enjoying a rest courtesy of their Pokal defeat at Saarbrücken’s hands.
Saarbrücken sit 11th in the 3. Liga standings, one spot and one point behind Borussia Dortmund II. Their next match will be on Saturday, December 9th, away at SC Freiburg II.
However their season ends, though, they will always have two straight wins over Bundesliga teams in the German cup to look back on. Legends.
As for the DFB-Pokal, only three Bundesliga teams remain in the quarterfinals. The full field:
- Leverkusen (Bundesliga)
- Gladbach (Bundesliga)
- Stuttgart (Bundesliga)
- Kaiserslautern (2. Bundesliga)
- Fortuna Düsseldorf (2. Bundesliga)
- St. Pauli (2. Bundesliga)
- Hertha Berlin (2. Bundesliga)
- Saarbrücken (3. Liga)
Whoever Saarbrücken plays next, they will remain the underdogs. Can this dream run continue?