DFB-Cup: Top teams and Fürth in cup semifinals

The top Bundesliga teams Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich and Borussia Mönchengladbach plus second division SpVgg Greuther Fürth will do battle on 20 and 21March for a berth in the final of the DFB Cup. Currently lying fourth in the second division, Fürth sprung the biggest surprise of the turbulent quarter final encounters by winning 1-0 (1-0) away at TSG Hoffenheim 1899. The match sealed the fate of the home team’s coach Holger Stanislawski. He was given the sack the following day.

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Coach Holger Stanislawski says goodbye to the Hoffenheim fans after his side’s 1-0 home defeat against Fürth. He was given the sack one day later. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)

 


The Bundesliga team lost out to a not to be underestimated opponent. In the previous round, Fürth had defeated local rivals 1. FC Nuremberg 1-0. It means the club have reached the semifinals of the DFB Cup for the first time in their history. Playing in front of a 14,500 crowd, Canadian Olivier Occean scored the winner in the 44th minute against the hosts who were reduced to 10 men for much of the game after Marvin Compper was red-carded in the 36th minute.

German champions Dortmund had by far the easier task on their hands than the lower league club in their match against fourth division Holstein Kiel. A 4-0 win (2-0) in the far north of Germany handed the league leaders a place in the last four of the competition. Kiel had earlier beaten three clubs – Cottbus, Duisburg and Mainz – from the top two leagues.

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Lucas Barrios score Borussia Dortmund’s third goal in the 4-0 win in Holstein Kiel. On the ground is Kiel‘s goalkeeper Morten Jensen. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)


After relinquishing their Bundesliga top spot to Dortmund as a result of the 1-1 away draw in Hamburg on the Saturday before, Bayern Munich were comfortable 2-0 (1-0) winners at south German rivals VfB Stuttgart. The second encounter between two Bundesliga sides saw Borussia Mönchengladbach overcome Hertha Berlin 2-0 (0-0, 0-0) after extra time in the Olympic Stadium which also serves as the venue for the cup final.

Hertha Berlin loses after controversial decision

After the match, the Berlin club were visibly unhappy with referee Felix Brych’s performance. He highly controversially sent off Hertha defender Roman Hubnik in the 100th minute for alleged dangerous play on Gladbach’s Igor de Camargo. In most people’s eyes, the Borussia striker was, if anything, the perpetrator. The resulting penalty was slotted home by Filip Daems to put the visitors 1-0 (101st minute) up. In the last minute of extra time in front of 47,500 spectators, the Swede Oscar Wendt put the game beyond doubt by scoring the second. It’s the tenth time that Gladbach has reached the semis of the national cup competition.

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Referee Felix Brych shows Roman Hubnik (right / left: Andre Mijatovic) the red card in the Hertha-Mönchengladbach match (0-2). (Photo: Firo/Augenklick)


“The way he refereed in extra time capped everything. I’ve never seen anything like it,” complained coach Michael Skibbe. “He was the only person to see a penalty. Hubnik didn’t do anything.” After being appointed during the winter break to replace the sacked Markus Babel, the former assistant coach of the German national team has seen his Hertha side lose four times in his first four matches. “We didn’t play well and are fortunate to get through,” explained Gladbach’s striker Mike Hanke. “I don’t want to say anything about the penalty. That’s what the referee decided, it was fortunate for us.”

Bayern cruise but Schweinsteiger is injured

A 60,000 crowd in Stuttgart saw Bayern beat a weak home team who were strongly criticised by the club’s Director of Football Fredi Bobic after their lacklustre performance. “We showed no spirit and were scared,” admitted German international Cacau. Goals from Franck Ribery (30th) and Mario Gomez (46th) mean Munich can still dream of the championship, cup and Champions League treble. However, Bastian Schweinsteiger is the source of some concern.  The German international player, who recently returned after a long injury break, suffered a torn ankle ligament. The first surprise was sprung before the kick-off when Bayern’s Dutch superstar Arjen Robben was demoted to the bench by coach Jupp Heynckes. “We had to change something around after the poor start. The team were impressive and showed they can play classy football,” said a satisfied Heynckes after the encounter.

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Munich’s Franck Ribery, Mario Gomez and Toni Kroos (left to right) celebrate a goal in the 2-0 cup win at VfB Stuttgart. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)


There were also discussions the day before in Kiel. “The conditions weren’t fit for football,” complained Dortmund’s General Manager Hans-Joachim Watzke. "That was more like ice-skating in the second half, extremely dangerous for the players. The German Football Association has to react,” declared Borussia’s boss after the 4-0 victory. Robert Lewandowski (11th), Shinji Kagawa (18th), Lucas Barrios (80th) and Ivan Perisic (87th) were the scorers. Criticism was directed at the pitch which, though kept warm prior to the game under a tent, became increasingly difficult to play on because of the severe freezing temperatures. The Deutsche Fußball-Bund (German Football Association - DFB) stated it would look into the matter. “We’re happy to have got through it. They were highly dangerous conditions,” said coach Jürgen Klopp, whose team showed themselves to be in good form in spite of the difficult state of the pitch.