1. FC Saarbrücken are top of the Regionalliga Südwest and have served for major upset in the DFB-Pokal this season. Head coach Dirk Lottner’s side have progressed to the round of 16 after a 3-2 victory over Bundesliga side Köln. In an interview with DFB.de, Saarbrücken’s deciding goalscorer Tobias Jänicke speaks with Dominik Dittmar about the surprise upset.
DFB.de: Is 3-2 Saarbrücken’s favourite scoreline in the DFb-Pokal, Mr. Jänicke?
Tobias Jänicke: It seems like it is. We defeated second division side SSV Jahn Regensburg by a score of 3-2 in the first round, and saw a similar scoreline during the Saarland Cup. But, the win over Köln overshadows our first-round triumph given that Köln are a Bundesliga side. Most of the players on that team are ones that you only recognise from watching Sportschau .
DFB.de: After you stormed out to a 2-0 lead, Köln were able to come back and draw level at 2-2. Was that the moment where you began to doubt that you’d be able to pull off an upset?
Jänicke: I was unlucky enough to have misplayed a pass that led to the equaliser. The match had been turned on its head, and we knew that it would be tough to keep up with Köln if the match went to extra time. After the equaliser, we could feel that we were getting tired. But, after having held off Regensburg in extra time, we knew that we could still end up winning it. And, in the end, we were able to score the winning goal.
DFB.de: Can you describe what the winning goal looked like from your perspective?
Jänicke: It started with us having the confidence to win the ball off Köln in their half after a throw in. Once we had possession, we looked to attack as quickly as we could. Kianz Froese played the ball to me, and I wasn’t even aware that the ball had bounced a bit after I’d received it. I just wanted to place it in the far corner and didn’t want to put too much power on it. I couldn’t hold myself back when I saw the ball go into the back of the net.
DFB.de: Is advancing to the round of 16 a particularly special moment for your head coach Dirk Lottner, given that he spent many years as a player and coach at Köln?
Jänicke: Before the match he had already tried to hide his connection to the match from us. But, we were well-aware that it wasn’t just any old day for our coach. He couldn’t hold back after the final whistle blew. José-Pierre Vunguidica, Nino Miotke and Christopher Schorch are three of our players who also used to play for Köln. Several other players have played for other clubs in Cologne or were born there. That just helped give us that extra push to want to pull off an upset.
DFB.de: At 30 years old, this has to be one of the highlights of your career, right?
Jänicke: Definitely. I’d already played nine times in the DFB-Pokal prior to this season. In five of those matches I was unlucky enough to be eliminated either on penalties or in extra time. As a result, it’s even sweeter to be able to cause uproar with Saarbrücken now. We know that our run in the DFB-Pokal won’t continue this way forever. But, we’re enjoying it while it lasts.
DFB.de: How did you celebrate after the match?
Jänicke: I didn’t really have much time to celebrate with the crowd. First, I had to do a few interviews before heading to do a drug test. That took until 21:30 CET because I wasn’t able to produce a sample right away (laughs) . We only celebrated in the stadium. Due to that, I was able to be home to tuck in my seven-year-old daughter, Nahla, and my three-year-old son, Elijah. Today we already had another training session planned for the afternoon, given that we have an important match against second place SV 07 Elversberg on Saturday. We want to build on our success, so that we have another reason to celebrate at the end of the season.
DFB.de: You guys probably had other plans in mind for February 4th and 5th, right?
Jänicke: That’s true. The winter break in the Regionalliga Südwest only ends on February 22nd, so we’d planned to be in Turkey for training camp at that time. Now, we need to change our plans a bit. We’ll likely start training a bit earlier and have to take a shorter holiday than expected – but that’s our own fault (laughs) . It’s a sacrifice we’re happy to make if it means playing under the floodlights in the DFB-Pokal round of 16.
DFB.de: Do you have anyone you’d really like to be drawn against in the last 16?
Jänicke: Personally, I don't think we don’t need to be drawn against one of the bigger sides in the competition like Bayern München or Borussia Dortmund. If everything goes our way, there’s a chance that we can serve up another upset against one of the other sides. In any case, I’m looking forward to finding out who we’re drawn against on Sunday. Maybe we’ll get together to watch the draw as a team.