1.FC Saarbrücken keep on breaking records in the DFB-Pokal, becoming the first Regionalliga side to advance to the semi-finals with their 1-1 (7-6) win on penalties against Bundesliga side Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Goalkeeping masterclass from Daniel Batz sees Saarbrücken through
On paper, the game between Bundesliga club Fortuna Düsseldorf and 1. FC Saarbrücken should have been an easy win for the top-flight side, so the task of evening the odds for the Regionalliga side fell to goalkeeper Daniel Batz. The 29-year old was in blistering form throughout the match, saving a penalty in normal time as well as four more in the shootout. “It was absolutely surreal,” said the shot-stopper. “When my fingers reached the final penalty to push it away, I was in dreamland.” Batz managed to show once more that his penalty heroics from the previous round were not a one-off.
Tobias Jänicke had scored for the hosts in the 31st minute, and the lower-league side had hoped to see out the 1-0 win until they appeared to come unstuck in the 83rd minute, when they conceded a penalty. When the Bundesliga’s fifth-highest scorer stepped up to take the penalty it looked like the ball was destined for the back of the net, but Daniel Batz had other ideas, making a save at full stretch to deny the German. However, despite the joy of the save, Batz would finally be beaten in the last minute, when a corner came in, and Zanka headed the ball into the far top corner, following a headed assist from Düsseldorf goalkeeper Florian Kastenmeier.
Extra-time begins with penalties looming
To their credit, the lower league side did not let their heads drop despite conceding a last-minute equaliser, and were the stronger team for much of the half-hour. They even looked the side more likely to score a winner, but their best chance went begging, and despite another strong showing in the second half of extra time, the match was to be decided on penalties.
Despite scoring their first two penalties, Fortuna Düsseldorf were unable to get that decisive winning strike thanks to the acrobatic Batz, who came into his own with the stakes raised. He saved the third Düsseldorf penalty without having to move, but dived to his left and then right for Fortuna’s 5th and 6th penalties, saving both, denying three chances for the visitors to win. Finally, he dived to the right for the last penalty, pushing Jorgensen’s effort onto the post and sending the Regionalliga side into dreamland. FCS head coach Lukas Kwasniok expressed his joy with the result at full-time, saying “Tonight we’re going to drink so much that we won’t know what day it is tomorrow.”