Leverkusen end Saarbrücken’s German Cup fairy tale

Berlin, Jun 9 (efe-epa).- Bayer Leverkusen advanced to the final of the 2020 German Cup with a 3-0 away win Tuesday over FC Saarbrücken, the first-ever team from the fourth division to reach the semifinals of the tournament.

Saarbrücken eliminated Bundesliga sides FC Köln and Fortuna Düsseldorf on their road to the final four, but found themselves completely out of their depth against Leverkusen, who are fifth in the top flight.

And while Leverkusen came into the contest with four matches under their belt since the Bundesliga returned to action on May 16 following the two-month interruption due to Covid-19, Saarbrücken’s last competitive game was on March 7.

Even without top playmaker Kai Havertz, recovering from injury, Leverkusen dominated from start to finish. The visitors had 80 percent possession and outshot the home side 15-6.

Only timely action by a Saarbrücken defender stopped Kerim Demirbay from opening the scoring for Leverkusen in the 6th minute.

The reprieve didn’t last long. Moussa Diaby made it 1-0 for Leverkusen in the 11th minute, striking from close range after Demirbay lofted a pass over the Saarbrücken back line.

Eight minutes later, confusion between goalkeeper Daniel Batz and teammate Manuel Zeitz over who was going to deal with Demirbay’s cross set up an easy goal for Lucas Alario.

The hosts showed more ambition to start the second half and managed to generate a pair of decent attacks before Leverkusen went up 3-0 in the 57th minute with a goal by Kerim Bellarabi as Demirbay picked up his third assist of the night.

Kevin Volland set up a pair of opportunities for Paulinho to add to Leverkusen’s lead, but the 19-year-old Brazilian missed the mark each time.

Though clearly outclassed in terms of quality, Saarbrücken showed discipline and tenacity and gave a good account of themselves in the David vs Goliath scenario.

Holders Bayern Munich will host Eintracht Frankfurt – the 2018 winners – on Wednesday in the other semifinal.

Bayern, currently 7 points clear in their quest for a record eighth straight Bundesliga title, have won the German Cup 19 times and are poised to earn the domestic double for a second consecutive season.

Leverkusen’s only German Cup championship came in 1993. EFE


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