26.05.2007: Stuttgart double dream shattered

German Football
By German Football May 26, 2007 22:46

26.05.2007: Stuttgart double dream shattered

Nurnberg won the DFB-Pokal for the first time in 45 years after edging an entertaining affair against the 10 men of Bundesliga champions Stuttgart.

The Bavarians needed extra-time to finally claim the advantage in one of the most exciting cup finals in recent years.

Cacau had put Stuttgart ahead in the 20th minute, but Marek Mintal soon replied before Cacau was given his marching orders on the half-hour mark.

It was advantage Nurnberg when Marco Engelhardt headed home two minutes after the break, but just as Hans Meyer’s side were beginning to celebrate, Stuttgart were awarded a penalty which Pavel Pardo swept in to force extra-time.

A Jan Kristiansen strike just after the first period of extra-time then sealed the win for Nurnberg, earning them their first piece of silverware since 1968.

Having won the Bundesliga title seven days ago, Stuttgart were hoping to complete the double by breaking their seasonal jinx against Nurnberg.

The Bavarians were the only side to twice beat the Swabians in the Bundesliga this year.

It looked like that was about to change, though, when former Nurnberg striker Cacau beat the onrushing Rafael Schafer to put Armin Veh’s side in front.

The lead lasted seven minutes before Mintal brought Nurnberg level, starting and finishing a move which involved Bastian Reinhardt sending in a cross from the wing for the Slovakian to divert in.

The turning point of the game came minutes later when Cacau was shown a red card for aiming a punch at Andreas Wolf.

With just 10 men, Stuttgart found it more difficult to create any chances.

Early in the second half, Engelhardt finally put Nurnberg ahead, heading Javier Pinola’s cross past Timo Hildebrand.

The Nurnberg fans were beginning to celebrate when referee Felix Brych gave Stuttgart the chance to get back on terms from the spot.

Mario Gomez fell under the challenge of Schafer and, although the ball was running harmlessly out for a goal kick, the intervention was judged worthy of a spot-kick, and Pardo swept it in in the 80th minute.

Extra time it was, then, and once again it was Nurnberg who made their one-man advantage count, particularly as Stuttgart began to tire.

Four minutes into the second period, Kristiansen stole the morning headlines with a wonder-strike from almost 30 yards.

It was a goal worthy of winning any match and as it cannoned in off the underside of the bar, the Nurnberg fans began to celebrate, this time with the result not challenged.

German Football
By German Football May 26, 2007 22:46
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