Germany: DFB Pokal
1 - 3
(0 - 2)
Hertha BSC
F. Reese (90)
J. Elvedi (5), R. Tachie (38), F. Kaloč (69)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Kaiserslautern punch through to DFB-Pokal semis after besting Hertha

Two-time DFB Pokal Champions 1. FC Kaiserslautern are through to the semi-finals of Germany's domestic cup after besting Hertha BSC 3-1 in their quarterfinal tie at the Olympiastadion on Wednesday evening. 

The Pfälzer "Red Devils" advance to the semis for the first time since in a decade and may potentially hope to meet fellow two time DFB-Pokal champs Fortuna Düsseldorf, who also punched through to the semis last night. 

Düsseldorf knocked Lautern out in the Round-of-16 the last year the famous Palatinate club wasn't eliminated in the opening round of the competition; back in 2019.
Dimitrios Grammozis' 1.FC Kaiserslautern continue to contest the relegation battle in the 2. Bundesliga, but have now advanced to the DFB-Pokal semi-finals after defeating Pal Dardai's Hertha BSC 3-1 in their quarterfinal tie at the Olympiastadion on Wednesday night. Combined with a 4-1 win over Schalke in the league last Friday night, "die rote Teufel" have now won twice on-the-trot. Lautern fans remain no strangers to Pokal glory combined with league misery. The Pfälzer last captured Germany's domestic cup in 1996, the very same year of their famous relegation from the top flight. 

Grammozis' team were quick to establish dominance against their hosts in the early minutes of Wednesday's fixture. The 1-0 resulted from a deeply played free-kicker. Tymoteusz Puchacz intercepted a poor clearance from the flustered Hertha defensive ranks and played Jan Elvedi in directly in front of goal. The Swiss defender finished impressively on the turn from about twelve meters out. Hertha attackers Florian Niederlechner and Aymen Barkok - both players with extensive top-tier experience - could only muster up weak efforts in response. 

Lautern allowed the Charlottenburgers to maintain possession for extended periods of time during the opening 45, defending cleverly and awaiting their chances on the counter. One such opportunity arose in the 38th. Marlon Ritter sent Richmond Tachie forward on a lightning quick transition. The Berlin-native and former Tennis Borussia academy man polished off the 2-0 from the right edge of the penalty area. The Palatinate side carried a deserved lead into the break. 

Hertha trainer Dardai tried to shake things up with a double substitution at the half. The ever-dangerous Fabian Reese came on and Hertha were able to rattle off some quality chances thanks to him during a furious phase just after the restart. Signs that Lautern would grab the third were nevertheless apparent. Reese's fellow sub, Andreas Bouchalakis, unfortunately sent a stray pass directly at on-rushing FCK midfielder Filip Kaloc in the 69th. The Czech youth international had an easy finish on the 3-0. 

Reese did ultimately pull a goal back one minute into second half injury time, but it would prove too little too late. A defensively disciplined and supremely confident visiting team took the glory and quickly rushed to a traveling fan block of some 10,000 traveling supporters to celebrate. As the Hertha "Nur nach Hause" anthem rang out through the Olympiastadion, Hertha fans were left to lament another squandered chance to reach the Final in their home stadium. 

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