One of the early DFB Pokal kick offs on Tuesday saw two teams both at the top end’s of their league’s. Bayer Leverkusen are currently in 4th place in the Bundesliga after their 1-0 win over Freiburg on the weekend. Kaiserslautern are challenging to earn promotion once again this season and they look on course for that if they keep their form up, on Friday they managed a 2-1 win over Greuther Fürth and are currently 3rd in the Bundesliga 2.
The first real opportunity for either side came after twelve minutes, Julian Brandt forced Marius Müller into action when Karim Bellarabi managed to stay onside down the left before cutting the ball back to the young German.
On the twenty minute mark the home side came close once again, this time the cross from the left came from the right foot of Sebastian Boenisch, his in-swinging delivery was met by the head of Simon Rolfes, who directed his header towards goal and he saw it fly just wide.
One of the best chances the visitors had in the opening half hour saw Andre Fomitschow whip in a cross towards Simon Zoller, the on loan striker is yet to score since returning to the club, however he came close as his header from twelve yards drifted wide. Four minutes later Kaiserslautern had their best chance of the game, Karim Matmour was on the end of a cross from the right and at the back post he could only head across goal after taking a hit, Alexander Ring was on the end of Matmour’s header and Bernd Leno proved his worth with a great save down to his left.
Kaiserslautern had the first chance of the second half, after a bit of patience a lovely ball down the left fed Matmour and his cross perfectly found Jean Zimmer, he didn’t get the best of contacts on his shot and it was straight at Leno. Leverkusen responded and from a corner Ömer Toprak came close with a looping header which went just over and onto the top of the goal.
Just after the hour mark, Brandt tried his luck from range to break the deadlock, it was a good curling effort, however the youngster Müller in goal more than matched it and was able to palm the shot away from danger.
Leverkusen claimed for a penalty as the game edged towards the last twenty minutes, Hakan Calhanoğlutried chipping a ball through Willi Orban and Tim Heubach and it hit the arm of Orban, however it would’ve been a huge gift by the referee had he given the penalty. Soon after the youngster Müller was once again proving hard to beat as he got his fingertips to yet another curling shot, this time from Bellarabi.
Leverkusen dominated the first half of extra time and they came the closest they came in the whole game when Bellarabi struck a terrific shot from range and it cannoned off the crossbar after beating Müller. Leverkusen’s extra time domination finally paid off just before half time, Calhanoğlu stepped up and as usual he came up with the goods, he brilliantly whipped the ball round the wall and past the stretching Müller.
Stefan Kießling had a golden chance to confirm Leverkusen’s place in the next round when a long ball over the top saw him go one-on-one and he put his effort well wide. Despite that miss it will be forgotten as straight away he had another chance to see off Kaiserslautern. This time making the most of his opportunity, Müller’s goalkick was headed back towards the Kaiserslautern goal by Rolfes, after Müller and Orban had a some communication issues Kiessling was allowed to have an easy tap in.
Kaiserslautern can be very proud of their performance, they fought very hard and the scoreline flatters the hosts. Leverkusen decided to increase the tempo in extra time and with energy levels low Kaiserslautern struggled to cope. The quarter finals await for Leverkusen and they’ll be hoping they cane make it four wins in a row on Sunday when they travel to Paderborn. Now Kaiserslautern are out of the cup they can concentrate on their promotion efforts and on Sunday they face Union Berlin.