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Third-tier Saarbrücken knocks out yet another Bundesliga team to reach German Cup semifinals

SAARBRÜCKEN, Germany (AP) — Third-division Saarbrücken’s German Cup fairytale continued Tuesday with a 2-1 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach in their rain-delayed quarterfinal.

Kai Brünker scored on a counterattack in stoppage time for Saarbrücken to knock out yet another Bundesliga team after a sensational second-round win over Bayern Munich and third-round victory over Eintracht Frankfurt.

“Just crazy, I’m mega-happy,” Brünker said as teammates and fans celebrated around him. “Mentality-monsters, I’m so ridiculously proud of every single one. Look at their faces!”

The third-tier team now goes onto the semifinals against second-division Kaiserslautern on April 3. Bayer Leverkusen, the only Bundesliga team remaining in this season’s competition, plays Fortuna Düsseldorf in the other semifinal the next day.

Tuesday’s match was originally scheduled for Feb. 7, when it was rained off after the field became waterlogged and unplayable.

New grass had been laid in the intervening five weeks, but heavy rain poured down again before kickoff and the surface was far from ideal. The field gave way to clumps that stewards tried vainly to pat down before the match and during halftime. Players also tried patting down the wayward clumps during the match.

Gladbach struck first with Robin Hack finishing off a counterattack in the eighth-minute, only for Amine Naifi to reply three minutes later for the home team.

Gladbach pushed harder for the breakthrough in the second half as the rain continued to fall, then Saarbrücken defender Fabio Di Michele Sanchez set off on a run down the left and crossed for Brünker to fire the winner inside the left post in the third minute of stoppage time.

“We simply didn’t want to concede in the second half, we managed that, and then to get a lucky punch, through a throw-in, a free kick, or from the halfway line. That we managed to do it is just crazy,” Saarbrücken coach Rüdiger Ziehl said.


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