Germany: DFB Pokal
1 - 2
(1 - 1)(0 - 0)
Union Berlin
By Ultan Corcoran@UltanCorcoran

Extra-time heartbreak for gutsy Chemnitzer, as late Behrens goal ensures Union Berlin advance

The Regionalliga Nordost side gave it their all, but Urs Fischer's tactical substitutions made the difference as last years beaten semi-finalists keep their Pokal dream alive.
After a considerably successful pre-season, Die Eisernen made the 250km journey south from the German capital to Regionalliga Nordost side, Chemnitzer FC, in what commenced the beginning of the competitive season for both teams in the first round of the prestigious DfB Pokal.

FC Union gave the hosts an early scare on 15 minutes from a Niko Gießelmann corner. The wing-back’s delivery found the unmarked Knoche who’s headed effort was expertly kept out by Jakubov, despite appearing to be positioned behind his own goal line whilst making the spectacular save. Gießelmann himself had a half chance before the half hour mark – Siebatcheu, who arrived from Young Boys this summer, directed the ball into his path only for the German to blast over on the half volley.

Despite three divisions of German football inferiority between the teams, Chemnitz were performing admirably and working hard all over the pitch, more than making up for the quality possessed by the established Bundesliga side. It remained scoreless at the break as last years Pokal semi-finalists failed to create anything more than half chances against a resilient Chemnitzer FC.

Die Himmelblauen made a bright start to the game’s resumption – a dangerous cross from the right flank gave the Union rear-guard a brief scare. The Dane was forced into a fine save moments later, when 18-year-old youngster Max Roscher drilled his shot towards the near post only to be defied by a strong left hand.

Just as a frustrated Urs Fischer appeared to turn to his bench after the hour mark, Chemnitzer took a deserved lead. Pagliuca’s right sided set-piece found captain Tobias Müller in the box who hammered a firm header home from close range. Amazingly and agonizingly, the Chemnitz lead was snuffed out inside a minute – Fischer’s substitute Vogelsammer made an instant impact, lofting a ball into the path of Siebatcheu who’s close-range acrobatic finish on his competitive debut levelled matters at 1-1.

With ten minutes left Jakubov pulled off yet another phenomenal save in front of the travelling FC Union supporters. Trimmel’s delightful cross found Schafer, who’s header was destined for goal but for the fingertips of the Chemnitz shot-stopper’s brilliance. Union captain Trimmel hit the post moments later in what seemed to be the Berlin side starting to turn the screw. In the end, neither side could find a winner inside 90 minutes.

With the onset of extra time, cramp and fatigue began to take its toll on both ranks, Chemnitzer’s Berger made way for Ulrich after running himself into the ground, while Khedira went down, and Siebatcheu made way for Kevin Behrens. Trimmel went close once more in the second additional period of extra time but narrowly whizzed past the target.

As Chemnitzer did their best to shut up shop and hold out for penalties, Union Berlin made the breakthrough. Despite his 35 years of age, Trimmel was growing more and more into the game – sure enough the Austrian’s pinpoint corner on 114 minutes found Behrens who powered home for 1-2.

Cruel an ending as it was for brave Chemnitz FC who pushed Union to the pin of their collar, the Berlin club’s quality coupled with some masterstroke substitutions from the wily Urs Fischer, Die Eisernen got over the line and advance to the Pokal’s next round. Vogelsammer's assist and Behren's winner highlighting the genius of the 56-year-old Swiss tactician.

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