Völklingen (dpa) – No chance, no excitement, no mood: The unique and highly emotional football fairy tale by 1. FC Saarbrücken has come to an unworthily bleak end.
With no competition practice for three months and no spectators, the fourth division team was only a sparring partner in the 0-3 (0-2) against Champions League contender Bayer Leverkusen in the first semi-final of the DFB Cup. The Völklingen Hermann Neuberger Stadium, which in the quarterfinals against Dusseldorf still had its foundations and had an unforgettable cup evening, felt this time a training game on a district sports facility from the 17th minute.
Saarbrücken’s trainer Lukas Kwasniok was still under power shortly after the kick-off. First of all, he somewhat tactlessly certified an ARD reporter who had questioned the ultra-defensive 5-5-0 system. Then he went to court with his team: “We wanted to draw all our weapons and threw cotton balls.”
His team had “drawn out of the affair respectably and could not be slaughtered. But the bottom line is that the disappointment prevails. Therefore, there will only be one or two frustrated beers,” said the 38-year-old. “It was a fantastic journey. But it was only a step to a miracle. If you weren’t disappointed, all the slogans before that would have been castles in the air and empty phrases.” At some point, according to Kwasniok, everyone would be proud of what they had achieved. “But that will probably only come when we have our women and children in our arms.”
The fact that hours before the game leaked the news that the successful and popular sports director Marcus Mann is likely to move to the Bundesliga club 1899 Hoffenheim as junior director. But one thing has to be added to Kwasniok: he was not looking for excuses. Even though they were all ready.
For some, this cup semi-final was even a farce due to the circumstances. After all, the FCS not only had to do without its spectators at the moment like all hosts. Rather, the lack of games apparently also had a sporting disadvantage against the three classes playing Leverkusen and fully in the juice. But they also performed their duties in a serious, concentrated and professional manner. “I don’t know how it would have worked otherwise,” said Kwasniok: “But that’s also hypothetical. We have to see what we could have done better.”
But even if it is frustrating for the Saarlanders after four surprises and sensations against first and second division teams to have set no highlights in front of millions of spectators in the first live game on free TV: They have written a cup fairy tale. Given that they were the first fourth division to reach the semi-finals, even a one-off.
And they go into the third division with additional income of six million euros. According to manager icon Reiner Calmund, who lives in Saarland, they can “get involved in the top group” there. And on Tuesday evening you got the feeling that the coach won’t be satisfied with less.