There were no major upsets during this week’s DFB-Pokal 2nd round. The lack of real drama was made up for in goals and we were treated to fifty-eight of them over the sixteen fixtures.
Two late goals saw Mönchengladbach scrape past lowly Rot-Weiss Essen in the first round. This time, they were matched against current 2. Bundesliga leaders, Fortuna Düsseldorf. A second-half Thorgan Hazard goal was all that separated the two sides. Düsseldorf were by no means pushovers, catching Gladbach on the break a number of times, the pinnacle of which was a fantastic strike from Benito Raman. The Belgian curled the ball in from outside the box, which cruelly skimmed onto the roof of the net. A penalty save by Yann Sommer made sure Die Fohlen had their ticket stamped for the next round.
The recurring theme on Tuesday was the dominance of the top-flight teams. There were high scoring wins for Schalke, Leverkusen, Frankfurt and Dortmund. Die Königsblauen slotted three easy goals past Wiesbaden, one of which saw Franco di Santo score for the first time in 598 days.
Union Berlin were the visitors at the BayArena, where Leverkusen continued their strong form to make it eleven goals in three games. A strike from Brandt was canceled out just after half time by Dennis Daube, but Bayer quickly found a way back in. A headed finish from Lucas Alario was followed up by a last minute penalty from Wendell and a superb free kick by Aránguiz. Union were unlucky not to equalise a second time, when a Damir Kreilach free kick rattled the crossbar.
There was to be no fairytale result for fourth tier Schweinfurt against Frankfurt. Die Adler dominated from the start. A Sébastien Haller brace was followed by goals from Marius Wolf and Danny Blum to ensure a smooth ride to the round of sixteen.
The fans of FC Magdeburg put on an incredible yet terrifying display to welcome BVB. A “Jigsaw” inspired banner with burning eyes was accompanied by the slogan:
“You think it’s all over, but the games have only begun…”
This didn’t seem to waylay the defending champions. A strong Dortmund side blasted five past their 3 Liga opposition; with a performance reminiscent of their early Bundesliga form this season. Young Swede Alexander Isak impressed with an assist and a goal, with Castro, Yarmolenko, Bartra and Kagawa adding the rest. Watch this space, Mr. Aubameyang.
Viktor Fischer’s brace was not enough to see Mainz through in 90-minutes. Kiel twice equalised with penalties to take the match to extra time. In the 101st minute, Daniel Brosinski scored a delightful free kick that saw Sandro Schwarz’s men through.
Wednesday brought us four fixtures contested between Bundesliga sides. Hertha became the second team from the capital to be knocked out the competition this week, as they fell 3-1 at home to basement side Köln. Simon Zoller opened the scoring and what followed was an emphatic display of unity, as Zoller beckoned the rest of the team to join him in celebrating with Peter Stöger. Dominic Maroh and Christian Clemens added to the result either side of half time. Will a deep cup run be enough to salvage Köln’s dismal season?
Felix Uduokhai was on the end of cross to put Die Wölfe ahead at the Volkswagen. Origi had another splendid game and was unlucky not to get on the score sheet. The twenty-two year old on loan from Liverpool was invariably creating chances, something that Wolfsburg will need as they attempt to stay clear of the relegation scrap. A barrage of shots from Hannover was held at bay by the Wolfsburg defence, which ultimately saw the game played out with just the single goal.
The positive night for the Bundesliga’s bottom teams continued at the Weserstadion. Ishak Belfodil converted a corner in the 31st minute with his first goal of the season. Die Kraichgauer hit the crossbar twice, first from an Andrej Kramarić free kick, followed by a Benjamin Hübner header in the dying moments. This is potentially a blessing in disguise for both teams, as Bremen could build form upon this, whilst Nagelsmann’s men now don’t have the distraction of the cup as they look to solidify their place in the top four.
Stuttgart and Freiburg saw off Kaiserslautern and Dresden respectively, both with a score line of 3-1.
In the marquee fixture of the round, a valiant RB Leipzig survived with ten men, following Naby Keïta’s third red card of the season. The Saxony outfit took Bayern to penalties after some world-class work from goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi in extra time. They eventually bowed out, losing to the domestic champions 5-4 from the spot. Jupp Heynckes continues his revival in Bavaria, this match making it four out of four games unbeaten in all competitions. The game was not without rancour though Leipzig had a penalty shout overturned when the referee Felix Zwayer, ever the showman, overturned his own decision.
Elsewhere, the 3 Liga’s Paderborn overcame second tier Bochum, Ingolstadt came from behind to see off strugglers Greuther Fürth, high-flying Nürnberg beat Osnabrück and in a seven goal thriller and Heidenheim strolled past Jahn Regensburg 5-2.
Stefan Effenberg will oversee the draw for the round of 16, which takes place this Sunday. The games will be played at the end of the Hinrunde, on the 19th & 20th December.
Tom Scarborough | @tomscarb_REF