Tuesday evening’s DFB-Pokal action got off to a dramatic start, as fourth-tier Rot-Weiss Essen completed a dramatic comeback to knock Bundesliga side Bayer 04 Leverkusen out of the DFB-Pokal. Holstein Kiel and SV Darmstadt 98 needed nine rounds of penalties to determine who would advance to the next round, with Kiel coming out on top (1-1 a.e.t., 7-6 on pens.). In the late kick-offs, Borussia Dortmund narrowly advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2016/17, while Werder Bremen reached the quarterfinals for the fourth consecutive season.
Leverkusen were the dominant side in the opening half, but failed to turn their chances into goals. Essen goalkeeper Daniel Davari made several stops, with the Werkself also being denied by the woodwork on numerous occasions. Essen did well to keep the Bundesliga side at bay, as they headed into extra time deadlocked at 0-0. Leon Bailey would finally find a way past Davari, finishing off an assist from Florian Wirtz to open the scoring (105').
Minutes later, Essen would equalise through Oguzhan Kefkir (108'). Lukas Hradecky was unable to clear a shot from Marcel Platzek, as Kefkir calmly converted the rebound to put his side back in the game. Then came the 117th minute: Simon Engelmann beat Edmond Tapsoba before powering home a shot from deep inside the box to complete a sensational comeback for the fourth-tier side.
Darmstadt started well in their battle against fellow Bundesliga 2 side Holstein Kiel. A strong defensive showing from both sides ensured that the deadlock was only broken in the 58th minute, as Fabian Reese played through Janni Serra. The latter cooly chipped the ball past the Darmstadt ‘keeper to put his side ahead. Kiel looked as if they had already booked their place in the next round, before Darmstadt brought them crashing back to earth as Serdar Dursun came off the bench to draw level in the closing stages of the game (86’).
With no goals being scored in extra time, the match headed to a shootout. Both goalkeepers kept out the first round of penalties, but it took until the seventh round for Mathias Honsak to see his attempt saved by Ioannis Gelios. Niklas Hauptmann was unable to make the most of the chance on offer, and was lucky that Darmstadt’s Tim Skarke also missed his attempt. In the end, it was Simon Lorenz who would net the winning penalty to put Holstein Kiel through to the quarterfinals.
Emre Can put BVB ahead early (6') before Jadon Sancho doubled their advantage (16'). Dortmund looked set to comfortably win their round of 16 tie, before Julian Justvan cut the deficit in the 79th minute. A frantic end to the game saw VAR award Paderborn a penalty in injury time, with Prince Owusu converting to send the game to extra time in the dying minutes (90'+7). Erling Haaland then scored the winner for BVB in the 95th minute (3-2).
Kevin Möhwald opened the scoring for the hosts (12') after pouncing on a rebound and slotting it home from close range. Werder’s speed in attack left Greuther Fürth with little chance, as they continued to press forward in search of a second. Despite coming close through Havard Nielsen (60'), it was Werder who would double their advantage in the 73rd minute through Felix Agu. SVW have now reached the quarterfinals in each of their last four DFB-Pokal campaigns.