Simon Engelmann had a day to remember. The 31-year-old forward was named as “Man of the Match” after scoring the goal that gave Rot-Weiss Essen a 1-0 win against Bundesliga side Arminia Bielefeld in the DFB-Pokal. It was Engelmann’s sixth goal in just four competitive matches for RWE, a club steeped in history but now playing in the Regionalliga West. Today, the man himself discusses the cup upset with DFB.de.
DFB.de: In the first match of the Regionalliga this season, RWE were unable to beat newly-promoted side SC Wiedenbrück and drew 1-1. A few days later, you knocked Arminia Bielefeld out of the DFB-Pokal. You are the only fourth-division side to defeat a Bundesliga team in the cup so far this year – how do you explain the improvement in performance, Mr. Engelmann?
Simon Engelmann: We were the outsiders in this match. It was obvious that Arminia would have more possession of the ball, but they barely found any answers to how we played. It was the same issue we had ourselves against SC Wiedenbrück, in a game where we were the clear favourites. But it’s hard to compare the two matches.
DFB.de: Did you really believe that you could progress?
Engelmann: We worked so hard for this result. Two teams from the fourth tier, SSV Ulm 1846 Fußball and SV 07 Elversberg, had already made it through to the second round, although both were playing against teams from the Bundesliga 2. But Chemnitzer FC were so close to progressing as well, only losing against Bundesliga club TSG Hoffenheim on penalties. On a good day, we knew that we were capable of beating a Bundesliga team too.
DFB.de: What do you think you did well to achieve this result?
Engelmann: We had a great game. We defended like warriors and gave absolutely everything – Arminia barely had any chances during the match. We wanted to keep going forward and putting them under pressure, something that we did especially well in the first half. The result was well-deserved.
DFB.de: You were leading 1-0 at the break. What did head coach Christian Neidhart say during his half-time team talk?
Engelmann: The boss kept his feet on the ground, telling us that we had to be even more compact at the back. There was a real buzz around the changing room, but we all knew that we had to work hard for another 45 minutes. We went out there and did it, and reaped the rewards come the end of the match.
DFB.de: Be honest – did you notice the difference in quality between the two teams?
Engelmann: I didn’t see it. But I also know that if a strong Regionalliga team stays solid and fights for every ball, even a first-division side can have problems.
DFB.de: You were named “Man of the Match”. It’s not your first personal achievement – how happy are you with the award?
Engelmann: Obviously I’m happy to receive such an honour, but the team’s success will always come first. That’s much more important, but the trophy will still take pride of place in my cabinet at home.
DFB.de: Rot-Weiss Essen can look forward to more revenue from the second round of the DFB-Pokal. Will the players be rewarded for progressing?
Engelmann: Obviously. The club will earn some money from the Pokal, so we will get our share of that.
DFB.de: The draw for the next round will take place on Sunday, 18th October, at the German Football Museum. Who do you want to face?
Engelmann: I wouldn’t mind another strong opponent. I have already played against FC Bayern Munich for my former club, SV Rödinghausen. The chances of getting past them are pretty slim, so I’m not too keen to play them again! (laughs) Other than that, I’m ready to face anybody. We shouldn’t fear anyone.
DFB.de: On Sunday you face fellow promotion-chasers Borussia Dortmund U23s in the Regionalliga West. With this match in mind, have you been able to celebrate the Pokal result properly?
Engelmann: We hadn’t planned anything beforehand, but naturally we celebrated a little. As a Regionalliga player, it’s not every day that you taste victory in the cup. We allowed ourselves a beer or two as a reward! (laughs)