The DFB-Pokal last 16 delivered its first big upset on Tuesday evening, as second-tier 1. FC Heidenheim came from behind to beat Bundesliga giants Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2-1. They are joined in the quarterfinals by fellow Bundesliga 2 side Hamburger SV, who dominated in their 1-0 victory over relegation-threatened top-flight outfit 1. FC Nürnberg.
It’s only the second time that Heidenheim have reached the final eight of the competition, with second-half goals from Nikola Dovedan and Maurice Multhaup completing an unlikely turnaround after Germany international Julian Brandt had fired Leverkusen into the lead shortly before the break.
FCH reached the quarterfinals back in the 2015/16 campaign, but were narrowly beaten by Hertha Berlin. Now coach Frank Schmidt and his team will be hoping to take the next step. They will find out their opponents for the next round from 18:15 CET on Sunday, when Germany handball international Fabian Böhm will draw the pairings for the eight remaining sides.
It’s been quite the up-and-down season for Bayer 04. Despite a memorable 5-0 win in the second round and last weekend’s confidence-boosting 3-1 win over Bayern München, new coach Peter Bosz will have to pick his side up once more.
Elsewhere, Hamburg secured their place in the quarterfinals with relative ease. They had 17 shots compared to Nürnberg’s one, but there was only the one goal to separate the sides in the end, tucked away by January signing Berkay Özcan in the 54th minute.
The visitors weren’t able to shake off their league struggles in this cup tie and can now solely focus on maintaining their top-flight status. For promotion-chasing HSV, it’s their third time in the quarterfinals in six years.