VOLKLINGEN (GERMANY), June 10: Fourth-division Saarbrucken�s record-breaking run to the German Cup semifinals came to an end with a 3-0 loss to Bayer Leverkusen in an empty
The coronavirus pandemic deprived Saarbrucken of the home crowd which had roared on its team as it knocked out four clubs from higher divisions, becoming the first club from such a low league to reach a cup semifinal.
In its first German Cup final since 2009, Leverkusen will face the winner of Wednesday�s semifinal match between Bayern Munich and Eintracht Frankfurt. Leverkusen can win its first trophy since 1993 in the final in Berlin on July 4.
German soccer�s strict hygiene protocols, including face masks for substitutes, were forgotten as Leverkusen celebrated the win. Players and staff posed for photos in a huddle in the dressing room and chanted: �We�re going
Saarbrucken had to win a regional cup last year to even qualify for this season�s German Cup. It was playing for the first time since March because its season in the South-West Regional League was abandoned amid the pandemic. The defence showed signs of rust for Leverkusen�s goals.
First Kerem Demirbay played a pass over the top for Moussa Diaby to sprint behind Saarbrucken�s static defence and jab the ball into the net. Lucas Alario was gifted the second goal when Saarbrucken�s goalkeeper and defender misunderstood one another and collided when trying to intercept a cross.
Karim Bellarabi made it 3-0 in the 58th after the Saarbrucken defence hesitated too long in clearing the ball. Leverkusen dominated the game with 80 per cent possession as the host team sat deep.
�We gave everything we had,� Saarbrucken goalkeeper Daniel Batz said.
�We know we�ve done a lot for ourselves, for the club and for the fans.� Saarbrucken�s stadium was being refurbished so the team played in a nearby venue with stands on only two sides of the field and trees behind the boards on one touchline.
�The conditions didn�t match up to what we�re used to, so it was important that we stayed focused,� Leverkusen�s Sven Bender said. � AP