WE ARE THROUGH TO THE SEMIFINALS! After 120 long-fought minutes, Die Roten Bullen emerged as 2-1 victors against FC Augsburg on Tuesday evening, securing their passage to the next round of the DFB-Pokal.
Both sides started the second half with a degree of caution. Augsburg had the best chance in the opening stages, with Andre Hahn drawing a strong block from Leipzig custodian Péter Gulácsi. After a 254 minute stalemate between the two sides in all competitions, the deadlock was finally broken in the 74th minute. Substitute Amadou Haidara played a defence-splitting pass through to Timo Werner, who still had it all to do. Wrestling with his marker, the Germany international used his strength and pace to break free into a 1 vs. 1 scenario, before slotting the ball with a finessed shot past a stranded Kobel in net. The hosts refused to give up, however. Straight from the restart, Augsburg marched up the pitch and forced a fine save from Péter Gulácsi at his left post. The pressure increased as the full-whistle beckoned, with Leipzig besieged in their own half, but defending confidently and courageously. Die Roten Bullen looked to have clinched it, but the last kick of the game proved to be a cruel twist of fate. Marco Richeter whipped in a dangerous ball across the face of the Leipzig goal, with Alfred Finnbogason getting a crucial touch to send the ball into the net and the game to extra-time.
The first half of extra-time proved to be a cagey and nervous affair. The best chance fell to the hosts, with Finnbogason forcing a strong save from Gulácsi to keep the scores tied. Laimer had a shot as the first 15 minutes drew to close, but his effort was comfortably saved. The second half started with Augsburg on the front foot, while RBL looked too counter. Finnbogason’s strike was strongly palmed away by an ever-vigilant Gulácsi, while Halstenberg was unable to put Sabitzer’s cross on target from the volley. It was Leipzig, however, who won in a dramatic finale. Michael Gregoritsch handballed the box in his own box, with Marcel Halstenberg cooly slotting away the resulting penalty. With the away fans sent into raptures, RBL confirmed their place in the semifinals of the DFB Pokal.