Head coach Achim Feifel made four changes to the starting eleven in the 2-0 defeat to MSV Duisburg: Anna Wellmann replaced Anna Klink in goal, Pauline Machtens, Barbara Reger and Ivana Rudelic came in for Frederike Kempe, Henrietta Csiszar and Milena Nikolic.
The first half got off to a quiet start. The first shot of the game came from the Bayer 04 Women but Jessica Wich did not pose a real threat to the opposition. The Black and Red defence were well organised and Anna Wellmann was only called into action from set pieces with efforts from Maximiliane Rall (16’) and Laura Lattwein (22’). Just before half-time, with a goalless draw looking a distinct possibility, Hoffenheim upped their game: Rall was left with a tap-in with the Leverkusen defence looking on (42’).
After the restart, the Werkself Women looked to get on the front foot against the favourites as they went in search of an equaliser. Feifel made his first substitution a few minutes into the second 45: Nikolic replaced Machtens (54’) – and that paid off twelve minutes later. Ivana Rudelic put in an accurate cross for the substitute to head home to level at 1-1. Shortly after that, Hoffenheim almost hit back – but the strike to make it 2-1 for TSG was ruled out for offside (72’). Henrietta Csiszár’s shot from 14 metres out was blocked and Tabea Waßmuth’s effort for the visitors was also kept out. The scoreline at 90 minutes was still 1-1 so the tie went into extra time.
Two minutes later, the Black and Reds were able to turn the game round: Zeller won the ball in midfield and fed Rudelic in the penalty area and she put it away into the left corner of the net (92’). Hoffenheim turned up the tempo and they got the ball into the back of the net just before halfway stage in extra time but the flag went up again – offside (99’). Instead, it was Bayer 04 who celebrated next: Rudelic beat several opponents in the penalty area and then slotted the ball past the keeper Janina Leitzig into the net from a tight angle – 3-1 (112’). Hoffenheim threw caution to the wind but the second TSG goal, scored by Waßmuth, came too late (120+2’).
“We’re knackered but happy. We set out to play for each other with courage and passion. It was very tough battle,” said double goalscorer Rudelic on DFB TV after the match. Zeller added: “It was very intense for all of us today, everyone gave 100 per cent and did all they could. Hoffenheim dominated for much of the game and we had to battle to the last minute but I think we deserved to win in the end.”
The semi-finals in the DFB Cup have already been drawn and will be played next week on 10 and 11 June. Leverkusen’s opponents will be decided in tomorrow’s game between FFC Turbine Potsdam and SGS Essen. The Werkself Women play Hoffenheim again on Friday, this time on matchday 18 of the FLYERALARM Women’s Bundesliga. The kick-off at the Dietmar Hopp Stadium is at 19.15 CET.
Bayer 04: Wellmann – Jessen, Wirtz, Barth, Sahlmann – Machtens (Nikolic 54’, Vinken 105’), Reger (Rackow 105’) – Zeller, Uebach, Wich (Csiszar 59’) - Rudelic
MSV Duisburg: Leitzig – Linder (Krumbiegel 99’), Specht, Wienroither, Pankratz – Lattwein (Dongus 46’), Hartig (Hagel 80’) – Harsch, Waßmuth, Rall (Bürger 99’) – Billa (Beuschlein 81’)
Goals: 0-1 Rall (42’), 1-1 Nikolic (66’), 2-1 Rudelic (102’), 3-1 Rudelic (112’), 3-2 Waßmuth (120 +2’)
Booked: Csiszar - Wienroither
Referee: Nadine Westerhoff (Bochum)
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