4th-tier Saarbrücken reach German Cup semifinals

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4th-tier Saarbrücken reach German Cup semifinals

Bayern has won five of the last 10 editions of the cup, and lived up to its reputation as Joshua Kimmich scored the winning goal against Schalke in their quarterfinal.

For Saarbrücken it was all about grit and goalkeeping in a penalty shootout win over Bundesliga club Fortuna Düsseldorf.

Saarbrücken goalkeeper Daniel Batz saved four of the 10 penalties he faced in the shootout — after also stopping one in the second half — as all players except the goalkeepers had to take a spot kick before the deadlock was broken.

The game finished 1-1 after extra time before the hosts won 7-6 on penalties. Fortuna's Mathias “Zanka” Jorgensen scored a 90th-minute equalizer to force extra time but missed the decisive spot kick in the shootout.

Saarbrücken plays in the south-west regional league and had to win a local cup competition to even qualify for the German Cup. It's the first time a fourth-tier team makes the semifinals of the competition. Saarbrücken was a semifinalist in 1985 but played in West Germany's second-level league at that time.

Saarbrücken took the lead through Tobias Jänicke in the 31st minute and kept it thanks largely to a stellar performance from Batz in goal. He turned an 82nd-minute penalty by Rouwen Hennings against the post after a string of impressive saves as Fortuna laid siege to Saarbrücken's goal in the second half.

In the 90th, Fortuna sent goalkeeper Florian Kastenmeier up for its 15th corner of the game and was rewarded when Kastenmeier headed the ball on for Zanka to score and send the game to extra time.

Saarbrücken has knocked out four cup opponents from higher leagues.

Bayern made it five straight wins in all competitions, while Schalke hasn't scored in any of its last four games.

Schalke frustrated Bayern in defense but created little in attack, and the game was decided by a moment of skill from Kimmich. Floating on the edge of the box at a corner, Kimmich tracked a deflected ball and hammered a volley low into the far bottom corner in the 40th minute.

Schalke had an excellent chance to score on the counter in the 65th but Benito Raman poked the ball at goalkeeper Manuel Neuer from almost point-blank range.

Markus Schubert replaced usual starter Alexander Nübel in Schalke's goal. Nübel has agreed to join Bayern at the end of the season.

The semifinal matches will be drawn at a later date.

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