In a football thriller, Fortuna Düsseldorf reached the semi-finals of the DFB Cup for the first time in 28 years and knocked FC St. Pauli out of the competition. In the déjà vu duel of the 2nd Bundesliga, the guests won the quarter-finals on Tuesday in Hamburg 4:3 (2:2, 1:1, 1:0) on penalties and took revenge for the league defeat three days earlier in Düsseldorf.
Vincent Vermeij (38th minute/penalty kick) and Ao Tanaka (99th) after a mistake by Pauli's Cup goalkeeper Sascha Burchert scored in the current game for Fortuna, who secured the bonus of 3.45 million euros. Marcel Hartel (60th/foul penalty) and, in the last minute, Carlo Boukhalfa (120th 1) were successful for the second division table leaders. In the end, it wasn't enough for Pauli's first semi-final appearance in the cup since 2006. The majority of the 29,546 fans at the Millerntor went home disappointed.
“The cup has its own laws,” Pauli coach Fabian Hürzeler warned on ZDF shortly before kick-off. His players shouldn't feel too confident after winning the league. In the early stages, this meant that both teams played forward very cautiously. Düsseldorf's Tanaka's finish in the 15th minute was the first more dangerous shot on goal - and brought nothing.
Just five minutes earlier, Fortuna coach Daniel Thioune had watched with worry as Emmanuel Iyoha had to be substituted early in the game. Takashi Uchino came for him. So the task at Millerntor didn't get any easier.
Fortuna board member Klaus Allofs, once a four-time cup winner as a professional, had previously emphasized that reaching the semi-finals would be a “quantum leap” economically. Only three Bundesliga teams, two other second division teams and third division team 1. FC Saarbrücken remain as possible opponents. In terms of sport, they also have exceptional prospects for the semi-finals, which will be drawn in February.
After just over half an hour, the video assistant brought Düsseldorf significantly closer to the semi-finals. Instead of giving the penalty, referee Sascha Stegemann initially blew the whistle because of what was supposed to be an offside position, but then overturned the decision after checking. Burchert had clearly fouled Vermeij in the penalty area, and the Düsseldorf player didn't miss the chance from the penalty spot.
As a result, even at the beginning of the second half, the hosts played more offensively. The game also became more heated. The complaining Hürzeler was shown a yellow card by Stegemann shortly after the restart (51st). Düsseldorf clearly retreated further in this phase and waited for a counterattack.
St. Pauli punished their passivity with a number of offensive actions, and Tanaka was only able to make do with a foul in the penalty area against Philipp Treu. Hartel converted the penalty into the bottom left corner. The game slowly became a game of nerves, with neither club able to create clear scoring chances until the final phase.
So the game had to go into extra time, in which Hartel missed a great chance to take the lead (97th). On the other hand, Burchert couldn't hold on to a shot, Tanaka reacted quickly and scored. Shortly before the end, Hürzeler was sent to the locker room with a yellow-red card (120th), before Boukhalfa brought St. Pauli into a penalty shootout at the last second. This means that second division leaders St. Pauli missed out on their first semi-final appearance since 2006