Wednesday, March 4, 2009

German side 1. FSV Mainz 05, of the Second Bundesliga, have reached the semi-finals of the DFB Pokal, Germany’s equivalent of the FA Cup, for the first time in their history. They defeated Bundesliga side FC Schalke 04 by 1 – 0 on a goal from Aristide Bancé in the 88th minute. For Schalke, it was just another disappointment in an already dismal season; being elminiated from the Cup means they must improve their current Bundesliga standing to fifth – it was eighth place at the conclusion of the 22nd Matchday – to have any chance to appear in the UEFA Europa League.

Mainz got started just after the first whistle, when Markus Feulner had a shot from the left side blocked by Jefferson Farfán after eight minutes. However, Schalke began to dominate after the half-hour mark. A shot from Heiko Westermann sailed just wide of the goal in the thirty-second, and a corner kick from Mladen Kristaljic richocheted off the crossbar eight minutes later. Schalke manager Andreas Müller was unhappy with his team’s effort in the first half, however, saying “We don’t have enough power to penetrate towards the front.” Striker Kevin Kurányi was replaced by Halil Altintop at the break. An opportunity for Mainz in the sixty-eighth was stopped by keeper Manuel Neuer after an unsuccessful rescue attempt by Ivan Rakitic. Altintop had a shot fly inches wide of the post in the seventy-first. Schalke nearly gave up a penalty in the eighty-second as Rafinha made a hard and controversial tackle on Sr?an Baljak, but referee Felix Brych allowed play to continue. Finally, in the eighty-eighth, Aristide Bancé converted off of a long indirect free kick to put Mainz through to the semi-finals.

March 3, 200920:30 (UTC+1)
1. FSV Mainz 05 1 – 0 FC Schalke 04 Stadion am Bruchweg, Mainz Attendance: 20,100 Referee: Felix Brych (Munich)
Karhan 60’Soto 66’Buckley 66’Neustädter 75’Feulner 75’Bancé 88’Svensson 90’Baljak 90′ Altintop 45’Kurányi 45’Rakitic 64′ Engelaar 64′