When the draw for the first round of the 2023/24 DFB Pokal took place back in June at the German Football Museum in Dortmund, the late addition of Homburg to the mix set up a potential great draw.
How did Homburg qualify?
The DFB Pokal comprises of all 36 teams from the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 plus the top four teams in 3Liga. This leaves 21 more places…
Each year the winners of the Regional Cups qualify for the first round of the DFB Pokal. In the 2022/23 season Homburg lost 3-2 in their Semi-Final to Saarbrücken and in the other semi-final SV Elversberg beat Auersmacher 4-1.
With Elversberg already having qualified for the Pokal as a team being promoted from 3Liga to Bundesliga 2, and Saarbrücken finishing as the fifth placed team in 3Liga (but qualifying as the 4th team as Freiburg reserve team is not allowed to enter), it meant that the Saarland Cup position would be offered to the winner of the two losing Semi-Finalists. Homburg defeated Oberliga side Auersmacher 4-1 to claim that place.
Great Draw Complete
The first round draw saw Homburg as the first ball out. Who would they face? A big team visiting The Waldstadion would be ideal. FCH fans would not be disappointed when newly promoted Bundesliga team SV Darmstadt were drawn as the opponents.
On June 28th 2023, the German Football Association published that this match would take place on Monday 14th August at 6pm – perfect for fans as the next day is a public holiday in the Saarland region.
DFB Pokal 1st Round
The first round matches had been played all weekend with very few surprises. Teams playing those from higher league had taken a battering in many situations. Eintracht Frankfurt had defeated LOK Leipzig 7-0 in-front of 11,000 fans at the Bruno Plache Stadion, Wolfsburg had beaten Berlin side Makkabi 6-0 in the Capital whilst Homburg’s neighbours Kaiserslautern had dismantled Koblenz 5-0.
With few upsets taking place, did this set up Homburg for the big headlines?
This wasn’t our first visit to Homburg and we were pleased to be able to return for such a big match. Flights were difficult and in the end we opted for a route which would take us from London Stansted to Cologne and then a long winding train journey south which would take 3 hours via Mannheim.
The match was scheduled for a local 18.00 kick-off and even then the sun was scorching and when the large flag was pulled across at kick-off, the short period of shade was welcome.
The match kicked off on-time and Homburg looked comfortable from the first whistle. Even though Darmstadt retained the ball for long periods, the hosts were pressing and when they won the ball back they attacked with intent.
Homburg’s main man, Markus Mendler caused mayhem in the stands by putting the home side in-front after just 10 minutes and these scenes were repeated when the second goal arrived early in the second half from Michael Heilig and now the fans had belief. In the intense sun, cups of beer were thrown into the air in celebration and for the rest of the match sweat and beer was running down the ecstatic faces.
When the third goal arrived in just 81st minute from Phil Harres, the jubilation became a realization that the job had been completed. Chants of “Berlin, Berlin, we’re driving to Berlin” commenced as a fairy tale Pokal final in the Capital City next May were entering peoples thoughts.
Even an 89th minute penalty couldn’t dampen the spirits as the excellent Kretzchmar, between the Homburg sticks, prevailed against Darmstadt striker Stojilkovic with a great stop. The save was cheered like a fourth goal, this was the icing on the cake.
Make no mistake, this was a sensational performance and result against Bundesliga opposition, three tiers higher than the hosts. Homburg now have to wait for the second round draw which they have reached for the first time in 28 years. The club have suggested we should return once more for the next round – we will see.
If you are planning a trip to Europe (or in the UK), you can use the Futbology App to check which matches are in your area and on which dates. The list of matches is constantly updated.
Once at the match, open the app and you will be prompted to “check-in” at the stadium and match and you can see who else has checked in there too.
What we love about the Futbology app is the ability to discover new football clubs and stadiums you didn’t know existed. Suddenly you find yourself at a loose end on a Thursday evening and we just jump on the app and see what is happening nearby.
With over 1000 leagues and more than 70,000 grounds within the Futbology App, not only can you check out matches where you are, but also where you plan to be. Add your games, collect badges and when you connect with friends you will be notified when they check in at a match too!
Receive a badge on completing a league
Each day you can see memories of previous seasons as it highlights the matches you visited on that day each previous year. You can also see which teams you have watched the most, whilst highlighting important facts such as your first ever match, your best match and your most recent match.
Mystery Football Weekends
Covert Football Trips offers a new method of ground-hopping across Europe. Just select your weekend of travel and we do the rest, sending you to fantastic matches whilst taking care of your flights, accommodation and match tickets. Check out our packages here.
When booked we will send you Ticket Stubs so you have something tangible whilst you wait for the big reveal!