Bayer Leverkusen and promoted Bundesliga side 1. FC Union Berlin are through to the quarterfinals of the DFB-Pokal. Leverkusen defeated VfB Stuttgart 2-1 at home, while Union pulled off a narrow 1-0 win against Regionalliga side SC Verl.
Verl started well into the match at home at the Sportclub Arena, and had the first clear-cut chance of the match in the 16th minute but Zlatko Janjic’s shot was saved by Union’s keeper Rafal Gikiewicz. Down the other end, Sebastian Andersson sent his shot wide of the net in the 25th minute. Union kept pressuring, but only looked threatening off a shot from distance from Christian Gentner (42’).
The Iron Union started the second half strong yet again, as Gentner found himself with some space but sent his volley over the crossbar (47’). Just over ten minutes later, it was Gentner once again who tested keeper Robin Brüseke (59’). Verl attempted to mount a counter, but failed to create any threat on goal for Gikiewicz.
Union kept hammering away, but Markus Ingvartsen had to watch as his shot hit the side netting (81’). A few minutes later, the guests finally managed to break through after Andrich fired a shot from distance right into the back of the net (85’). Verl had a chance to send it to extra time, but Gikiewicz made a late stop to deny both Janjic and Matthias Haeder (90’ +1).
Bayer Leverkusen took control of the game early on, and Kai Havertz nearly handed his side the lead in the 12th minute. A few minutes later, both Havertz and Bellarabi missed the chance to score from inside the box (18’). Stuttgart meanwhile looked strong on the counter, as Wamangituka hit the crossbar in the 26th minute before Daniel Didavi’s shot was saved by Lucas Hradecky (31’).
Stuttgart started the second half strong, as Nicolas Gonzalez stormed his way through the Bayer defence but was unable to beat Hradecky one-on-one (48’). Alario then had a chance for the hosts, but his header sailed just wide (57’), before Stuttgart’s keeper Bredlow saved another attempt from the Argentine in the 63rd minute.
Bayer benefitted from a mistake from Bredlow, as he punched the ball into his own net (72’). Alario would add another just ten minutes later. Wamangituka gave the guests something to hope for as he cut the deficit in the 85th minute, but it was too little, too late.