1. FC Saarbrücken is a blatant outsider in the cup semi-final against Bayer Leverkusen. Nevertheless, the Saarbrücken hope for the final. Trainer Lukas Kwasniok sees “many small advantages”.
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It’s no exaggeration to call 1.FC Saarbrücken the biggest outsider in the semi-finals of a DFB Cup. After all, the Saarlanders are the first fourth division to make it into the last four. The question of how high the chances of a sensation on Tuesday evening (8:45 p.m. / ARD and Sky) against Bayer Leverkusen are, is even more difficult to answer than it already is. Because the FCS has not played a game in three months because of the season break in the Regionalliga Südwest.
Saarbrücken coach has hope
“Even if we play the game of our life, we still need a lot of luck,” says Lukas Kwasniok. The Saarbrücken coach is combative and optimistic and still only puts the chances against the Bundesliga team at 1:99. For the long-time Bayer manager Reiner Calmund, who has lived in Saarland for years, they are 10:90.
“Leverkusen’s biggest advantage is simply the quality,” says Kwasniok. Fitness could be a problem for Saarbrücken after three months without a game. And the missing spectators in Völklingen too. Kwasniok also sees “many small advantages” for his team. So what speaks for the outsider?
The stadium is unusual
The unpredictability: Leverkusen has already played five ghost games, Saarbrücken has not yet. The FCS was able to watch the favorite extensively and even prepare surprise effects for this one opponent for weeks. “If there is an advantage, it is surely that,” says sports director Marcus Mann.
The crazy stadium: In everyday league life, the alternative stadium in Völklingen is a burden for the FCS. In the cup, the arena with the charm of a district sports facility, a missing grandstand and mobile floodlight masts from England has already caused two first and two second division teams to stumble. Without viewers, the framework conditions “might be a little more unusual,” says Kwasniok. His Leverkusen colleague Peter Bosz feels well prepared by the ghost games: “There are no Bundesliga conditions in the Bundesliga at the moment.”
The underdog hopes for a penalty shootout
Leverkusen’s top game against Bayern: On Saturday still in the top league game against the best team in Germany, three days later an apparently captive task: It remains to be seen whether the Bayer professionals can make the mental switch so quickly. But Bosz has no excuses. He announced the best possible team and demanded complete concentration.
The penalty penalty: In the past two rounds, Saarbrücken progressed on penalties. In the quarter-final against Düsseldorf, FCS keeper Daniel Batz held four shots. That was a record. And if it is really 0-0 for a long time, this prospect could paralyze the Bayer pros, hopes Kwasniok. “Leverkusen definitely does not want to take the penalty shoot-out,” he said: “Then they shoot against Batzi, against the thoughts of the group in front and against the fear of embarrassment.”