There was a lively back and forth between the team cabins of Wiesbaden and Leipzig on Wednesday evening after the work was done. The Leipzig national soccer player Benjamin Henrichs sought friendly contact with the Wiesbaden second division professional Gino Fechner in the Hesse Arena in order to give him his jersey. The Wiesbaden offensive player Franko Kovacevic, in turn, was waiting in front of the Leipzig locker room for his exchange deal; Benjamin Sesko, a two-time goalscorer in the Saxons’ 3-2 away win in the first DFB Cup main round, handed him the object of his dreams.
When Wiesbaden’s goalkeeper Florian Stritzel briefly joined teammate Kovacevic, they pretended for fun that they belonged to different clubs. “Good luck,” Kovacevic said to Stritzel and grinned. The rebellious outsider’s anger over the missed opportunity against the defending champions seemed to have disappeared.
Leipzig with a “big compliment” to Wiesbaden
Sascha Mockenhaupt, the captain of the losing team, who received a “big compliment” from Leipzig coach Marco Rose, reported afterwards that he had “ambivalent feelings”. Because the brave Wiesbaden team had given the Champions League participants a thrilling cup fight in front of 12,100 enthusiastic spectators and were close to the 3-3 equalizer in the final minutes, they had the impression that the big surprise would have been possible. On the other hand, Mockenhaupt and his colleagues felt proud of what they had achieved and of having kept up quite well with their seemingly overpowering opponent.
“After the early deficit, I thought that we had to close the doors so that there was no pack,” said Stritzel. Wiesbaden’s carelessness in defense and a big mistake by defender Marcus Mathisen ensured that Leipzig took an early 2-0 lead through Emil Forsberg and Sesko (7th and 18th minutes). But the people of Wiesbaden didn’t give up quickly, which also corresponds to their mentality in everyday business.
“We have already proven in the league that we have steam. “You could already tell that Leipzig was wobbling,” said coach Markus Kauczinski, pleased with his team’s contribution to a “great game.” Colleague Rose, on the other hand, had to admit to his regret that there was a “phased loss of control” of his ensemble of millions, which only managed to maintain a narrow lead with some luck. Sesko’s 3:1 (70′) was followed three minutes later by Wiesbaden’s Ivan Prtajin’s 2:3, who had already scored 1:2 (41′).
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Rose announced that he would have to talk to his professionals about their lack of confidence when defending a lead. “We started well and did a lot right. But then something happens that you don’t need on a cup evening like this. The stadium is waking up and the opponents believe in themselves again.” Three days before the top game at home against Bayern Munich, Leipzig still had to do some hard work after an easy start to the cup game.
Ivan Prtajin played a large part in this. The Croatian striker, who scored 17 goals and ten assists in 31 competitive games last season, presented his executioner qualities on a big stage. “Ivan is a very dangerous striker both in the air and on the ground,” said Wiesbaden’s sporting director Paul Fernie when extending his contract with the storm jewel in the summer. In the current second division round, the attacker has two goals in seven games. “We played well against one of the best teams in the world. We were in the game until the last minute.”
After the final whistle, Prtajin was pleased that television expert Bastian Schweinsteiger had said he had a good game as he ran past. The highly praised person attaches great importance to his words. “Bastian Schweinsteiger is one of the best German players of all time,” said Prtajin.