Kaiserslautern ends 3rd-division Saarbruecken’s run and reaches German Cup final

SAARBRUECKEN, Germany (AP) — Kaiserslautern ended third-division Saarbruecken’s fairytale run to the German Cup semifinals with a 2-0 win on Tuesday to book its place in the final.

Almamy Touré set up Marlon Ritter for the first goal and headed in the second himself as second-division Kaiserslautern became the first German Cup finalist from outside the top flight since 2011.

Kaiserslautern heads to the Olympiastadion in Berlin on May 25 to play either runaway Bundesliga leader Bayer Leverkusen or second-tier Fortuna Duesseldorf for the cup and a place in next season’s Europa League.

Kaiserslautern is a four-time German soccer champion currently languishing in the second division — and fighting against possible relegation to the third. A win in the May final would be its first trophy of any kind since the league title in 1998 and the club’s third cup win in all.

Saarbruecken, which knocked out three top-division teams including Bayern Munich earlier in the competition, had to battle the rain just to host the game.

The stadium is prone to flooding and Saarbruecken took no chances after its quarterfinal game had to be postponed once. The team’s last league game on Saturday was rescheduled to keep the field in good condition and the surface was covered with a tarp to keep off recent rain.

Saarbruecken’s best chance to take the lead came just before halftime as Kai Brünker sent a diving header just wide of the post. Kaiserslautern then scored twice in the second half to take the game out of the smaller team’s reach.

On its way to the semifinals, Saarbruecken earned an estimated 6.5 million euros ($7 million), a huge sum for a club of its size.

Kaiserslautern has had a relatively smooth path to the final despite its second-tier status. Its only meeting with a Bundesliga team was a 3-2 win over struggling Cologne in October’s second round.


AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/Soccer

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