Bayer Leverkusen have reached the semi-final of the DFB-Pokal for the fifth time since the turn of the century, and will be dreaming of a repeat of their 1993 cup win. The ‘Werkself’ overturned a 1-0 half-time deficit against 1. FC Union Berlin, who went down to ten men in the 71st minute. Leverkusen scored through Karim Bellarabi (72’), Charles Aránguiz (86’) and Moussa Diaby (90’+2) to win 3-1.
Marcus Ingvartsen had put Union one nil up before the break (39’), before Christopher Lenz picked up a second yellow card. It was the second time since 2001 that Union have been knocked out at this stage of the competition.
With three away wins in a row in the DFB-Pokal behind them, Union started the game full of confidence and were passing the ball around within the opposition’s half. An Anthony Ujah shot was the first warning of a possible upset for the hosts (3’). In the ninth minute, the hosts managed to get some attacking football going. Yet concrete chances only fell to the away side, as Marius Bülter’s headed effort was saved by Lukas Hradecky (11’).
Leverkusen began to get more and more possession as Union started to sit deeper and invite pressure onto their back line. This became a recurring theme of a half that was largely devoid of goal-mouth action.
A misplaced pass from Daley Sinkgraven gave the away team a chance to take the lead before half time. A chance that Union took. Bülter took it down the right-hand side before delivering the ball on a plate for Marcus Ingvartsen, who headed home calmly (39’). Union were a goal to the good at the break.
Bayer Leverkusen began the second period by bringing on Mitchell Weiser and Moussa Diaby. Diaby’s pace caused Union a lot of problems and the hosts almost equalised (47’, 59’). However, Rafal Gikiewicz remained largely untested.
Lenz’ red card was the turning point. Just one minute later, Bellarabi brought Leverkusen level. The hosts then scored two late goals through Aránguiz (86’9 and Diaby (90’+2) to complete the cup comeback.