The cup run might well be over but 1.FC Saarbrucken leave the field with their heads held high. The supporters can be immensely proud of their team’s efforts and it will likely remain a German Cup run which will go down in the club’s history as the plucky fourth tier side refused to quit, took on Germany’s top professional sides and made it all the way to the semi-finals against all odds – and even in the face of circumstances which saw them go into that final match having not played a competitive fixture for 94 days.
Goals from Moussa Diaby, Lucas Alario and Karim Bellarabi ultimately broke the minnows hearts but given they were going up against a match fit Bundesliga outfit, who have returned to playing regular competitive fixtures following the coronavirus outbreak, despite their own fourth tier side having not played for three months. That lack of match fitness showed too, with the Regionalliga Sudwest side looking leggy in the match, understandably. In many ways, losing by just three goals despite the David vs Goliath circumstances will have only just further endeared this Saarbrucken team to all those who’ve followed their cup journey.
That journey has seen Saarbrucken score seven goals in the DFB-Pokal as they eliminated two teams from the second tier 2. Bundesliga and top flight Bundesliga respectively during their four matches en route to the semi-finals. Even more impressive given Saarbrucken had to previously win the Saarland cup the season before to qualify for the German Cup.
Perhaps most incredible of all however, the run of games also saw the goalkeeping heroics of Saarbrucken goalkeeper Daniel Batz, who saved six penalties during their run. The Saarbrucken goalkeeper saved one in the last 16 against Karlsruher before their dramatic quarter final with Fortuna Dusseldorf where Batz not only saved from the spot during the match but then, in the penalty shootout, produced four separate saves as Saarbrucken twice clawed their way back from being one spot kick from elimination.
The defeat ends a magical run but for a side which hadn’t played since March 7, it was a spirited end. Perhaps softening the blow Saarbrucken also finished as league champions, earning promotion to the 3 Liga.