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Lost by the golden goal: Werkselv in the semi-finals

Lost by the golden goal: Werkselv in the semi-finals

Thanks to an energetic performance, Bayer Leverkusen moved into the semi-finals of the German Cup with a 3-2 win after falling behind twice to Stuttgart, who always played on equal footing.

Celebrations after the winning goal in the quarter-finals: Jonathan Tah after a 3-2 win in the 90th minute.
imago/team 2

Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso rotated five positions after the 2-0 win over newly-promoted Darmstadt: Kovar started in goal in the cup again in place of Hradecky (bench). In addition, Tapsoba, Frimpong, Hofmann and Cech played in place of Stanisic, Tila, Hlozek and Borja Iglesias (all substitutes).

VFB coach Sebastian Hoeneß made just one change after the 3-1 derby win over SC Freiburg. Eto'o (after Japan's exit from the Asian Cup) replaced Stergio. Top scorer Djerassi returned from the Africa Cup of Nations (with Guinea absent) on Monday, but is still absent from the squad.

Milot is clever, Anton says thank you against Tapsoba

From the start, VfB constantly put Werkself under pressure during the build-up, causing major problems for the Bundesliga leaders. Moreover, the Swabians took an early lead: Milot first followed up intelligently into the opposition penalty area and won a corner against Grimaldo. After that, Tapsoba was not close enough to Anton, who headed in Stuttgart's equalizer (11).

As a result, Leverkusen also had a difficult time. In the middle of the first half, Frimpong fell inside the penalty area after contact with Eto'o (23rd), and even after reviewing the video assistant referee, the referee's decision was: no penalty kick. In the 36th minute, Andrich, who had already received a yellow card, came too late in front of Milot, who was injured in the back and foot. The game continued here too – good luck to Bayer.

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Send Noble twice if he is offside

Only in the final stage did Bayer gradually increase the pressure – and has now reached clear conclusions. An offside goal scored by Cech was not really appreciated (40th). Thus, Grimaldo's free kick, which Noble was able to defuse (42nd), was the first clear opportunity for Xabi Alonso's team (42nd). Shortly afterwards, the goalkeeper was on hand to save Cech's shot from close range (44'), so a defensively strong Stuttgart side remained narrowly ahead at half-time.

After restarting the game, the intensity of the game continues to increase. After Noble initially won with a single goal with a check (47 minutes), a few minutes later the score became 1-1. A very short attempt to clear the ball after a cross from Vertz ended in front of Andrić's penalty area, who fired a corner kick from a long distance (50).

Joker Adly stabs, Tah decides

It was now a game played very quickly and with eyes wide open on both sides. VfB were by no means surprised by the equalizer – and soon took the lead again after a setup error by the home team: Milot passed Fuehrich, who fired a central shot into the corner from 14 meters (58). But Leverkusen quickly tackled it. Vertz played a pass from the midfield into the path of Joker Adly, who had arrived shortly before, and who easily beat Noble with his shot from a fairly acute angle (minute 66).

After a very intense first 30 minutes of the second half, the game calmed down in the final phase of normal time. But Leverkusen still had a decisive attack in the end: after a corner kick, Wirtz sent a high cross to Tah in the penalty area, making the final score 3-2 with a header from close range (90).

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For Bayer Leverkusen, Saturday's top-of-the-table Bundesliga match (6:30pm) against Bayern Munich is close to being at the top of the table. One day later (Sunday, 3:30 pm) Stuttgart welcomes relegation-threatened Mainz in its home match. The cup semi-final matches are scheduled to be held on April 2 and 3.