The Week in Germany: Cup Finalists Determined and Surprising Coaching Change

by Olaf Goldbecker

The Bundesliga action was limited to one game as the national cup semifinal had its regular matchday and one of the two re-scheduled games had to be cancelled again. Surprising and breaking news happened during the week when FCR Duisburg – remember, they are under the guidance of an insolvency lawyer – fired Coach Petra Hauser (who just took over in winter and was on the sideline for exactly one game, a 0-2 derby loss to Essen) as well as sporting director Jörg Schemberg, and pulled a successor out of the trigger, Sven Kahlert. Kahlert (42) was fired by 1.FFC Frankfurt in September after a nearly three years tenure, in which – given Frankfurt’s high expectations – they only added one national cup trophy to the title collection. He is supposed to run both jobs now and will. With Duisburg losing nearly all its good players he will have a difficult task in his new job.  

Kahlert was one of two coaches in league action right away this weekend when Duisburg hosted Bayer Leverkusen, both clubs shared the same number of points on the spots ahead of the relegation zone. The coaching change would almost have an immediate effect given that Mandy Islacker cared for Duisburg’s halftime lead, but two goals by Bella Linden turned it around in period two and gave Leverkusen a 2-1 win. In the very uneven standings, Leverkusen jumped to rank 8 while Duisburg sits on 10.

More important were the cup semifinals, one was played on Saturday, another one on Sunday. First finalist was VfL Wolfsburg that smashed SC Freiburg, 5-0. “It did not look like that in the first half, you could clearly see our lacking playing time”, said VfL Coach Ralf Kellermann. Indeed Freiburg was having the first big chance after a corner kick when Chioma Igwe headed the ball against the crossbar, the first of three hits against the aluminum of the Wolfsburg goal. The opposition was more effective. Alexanda Popp scored the half time lead after twenty minutes, and after the break the game became one sided. Luisa Wensing and Conny Pohlers added to a 3-0 lead within fifteen minutes after the break, and clearly proved a defensive problem for Freiburg: “After a set piece we unnecessarily allowed the 0:1 with a header. In the second half we could not clear two corner kicks and the opponent scores the 2:0 and 3:0.” Already one week before Freiburg allowed the one goal for the opponent after a corner kick. The rest of the game just was for the stats. Martina Müller and Conny Pohlers added one each, and Freiburg’s Carmen Höfflin was sent off with a straight red for a ruthless tackle.

A thriller happened between champion Turbine Potsdam and cup winner Bayern Munich in the second semis. Potsdam was the better team over 60 minutes and deservedly led 1-0 on a goal by Lisa Evans, scored in minute 51. Yet the longer the game went the stronger Munich got. With eight minutes left on the clock a long ball by Niki Cross beat the offside trap and Sarah Hagen tied the match. Munich now looked like the better team that would have an advantage in the overtime but things went differently. A penalty shot was awarded to Potsdam in minute 101 and Yuki Ogimi took the chance for another lead. No more than a minute later Lena Lotzen hit the post on the other side. Bayern continued with the pressure and opened up the longer the game went – and that was punished by Potsdam. Lisa Evans and Pauline Bremer scored on counter attacks in the final two minutes of the match for a 4-1 OT win, which sends Potsdam into the final against Wolfsburg, to be played on May 19 in Cologne.