Almost every European country has its own cup game that usually involves several divisions among its football league. So basically, some (but not all) fourth league teams, third league teams and second league teams get the opportunity to play against the first league teams. There are shockers when a lower-ranked team will knock off a higher league team so it does happen. To me, the first rounds are basically a gate-ticket opportunity for the lower-ranked teams to sell tickets since a big-time team will be coming to town. After the first few rounds is when things get super serious and you can easily figure out who’s who – the contenders, not the pretenders.
In this game, it was SV Wehen Wiesbaden vs FC Köln with FC Köln being the visiting team and after spending one season in the second league and winning it, the team is back to the first league as it should. Wiesbaden has also been promoted, going from third league to second league after being in third place of the third league and winning the relegation/promotion playoffs. The team has started seeing some success after spending quite a bit of time in the regional and third leagues, but maybe it’s finally time for the team to see success finally? Who knows… they could do well or do badly to where they get relegated back down to third league.
But this game was a great game as Wiesbaden kept putting the heavy pressure onto FC Köln in the beginning. A bit different when Paderborn last year when Paderborn would just counterattack and win the game that way. Wiesbaden would high press and attack from all sides but FC Köln was just too resilient and ended up scoring 2 goals in the first half. But after the halftime break, Wiesbaden continued its relentless attack and scored its first and second goals to tie the game, shocking the visiting team and visiting fans. As the final horn sounds, it’s time to go into overtime as these games are not considering away goals advantage. Nothing happened in the first overtime, but in the second overtime, FC Köln strikes a third goal to put the home team away… until Wiesbaden in complete desperation manages to equalize with its third goal!
The game goes into the penalty shootout which was a roller coaster as well! Blocked shots, massive pressure…. it had it all but Köln wins in the end by scoring the last and definitive winner but I could see that both sides were tired. Köln was pushed to the limits.
The game was just wild, wacky, and fun. Despite the Police Chief of Wiesbaden making a speech to the fans to behave properly, nothing really bad happened other than people were throwing beer when the home team scored. People threw beer at the opposing players (because Brita Arena is smaller than most stadiums, bench players that warm up near the end sideline are a lot closer and within throwing distance) which is a complete no-no. I remember even when Wiesbaden equalized on the second and third goals, the fans threw beer in celebration and a couple fans jumped on the railing!
Overall, it was a great game as both teams were pushed to their limits going all the way to the penalty shootout which you don’t see much unless it was a deadlock which in this game, it was.