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    After cup cancellation: Saarbrücken admits planning deficits


    Drainage was too expensive
    After cup cancellation: Saarbrücken admits planning deficits

    After the cup quarter-final between 1. FC Saarbrücken and Borussia Mönchengladbach was canceled, the search for a catch-up date has begun. The game did not start on Wednesday evening due to heavy rain and the pitch in the Ludwigsparkstadion was unplayable. Both teams agreed with the referee's decision. It is unclear when the game can take place. We answer some questions about the game and the rescheduling.

    When can you play?

    The German Football Association (DFB) wants to find an appointment quickly. In principle, the search shouldn't be that difficult since both teams are not internationally active. But it is expected to continue to rain over the next few days, which makes it unlikely that the event will take place next week. And in the game after next, Saarbrücken already has a catch-up game. The DFB said the announcement should be made “as quickly as possible” in coordination with both teams.

    What's next in the cup?

    Bayer Leverkusen, Fortuna Düsseldorf and 1. FC Kaiserslautern have already been confirmed as semi-finalists. The draw for the semi-final duels will take place on Saturday in the ZDF “Sportstudio”. The DFB announced that there would also be a double draw (Saarbrücken/Mönchengladbach) in the pot. If this were to be drawn as an away team, the opponent would not know until the match was played whether they were actually playing at home. Because if Saarbrücken progresses, home advantage would be reversed.

    Why are there always problems with the Saarbrücken lawn?

    There had already been repeated discussions in advance about the playability of the third division team's pitch due to drainage problems. The league game against Dresden in October was canceled and the cup game against Bayern had been hanging in the balance for a long time. It was only the day before the planned Gladbach game that the city council decided to repair the lawn. According to information from several media outlets, Mayor Uwe Conradt said in a statement on Wednesday evening: “We can only apologize to the clubs and the fans of both teams as well as to everyone who was in action on today's match day for the inconvenience.” We now have to “eliminate planning deficits” and “solve the lawn problem”.

    Stop! Stop! Stop! Planning deficits? Typical. Didn't the stadium just open?

    Gladbach warmed up without rubber boots.  They hadn't packed them. Gladbach warmed up without rubber boots.  They hadn't packed them.

    Gladbach warmed up without rubber boots. They hadn't packed them.

    (Photo: IMAGO/Football News Saarland)

    It's just a matter of definition. The first competitive game in the stadium, which was not yet fully renovated at the time, took place at the end of September 2020. The fact is: The time-honored Ludwigspark was renovated in 2016. The original costs were estimated by the owner, the city of Saarbrücken, at around 16 million euros. What happened on many construction sites followed: construction stops and skyrocketing costs. As the “Kicker” reports, the costs for the stadium, which now has a capacity of around 16,000 spectators, tripled to around 48 million euros. It's just a shame that the 200,000 euros for professional pipe drainage were no longer included.

    Instead, those involved tried to counteract this week's rains with tarpaulins. But at some point they had to leave the field and the football field turned into a muddy desert. When the guests from the Lower Rhine arrived, they were amused and amazed. “We definitely don't have the rubber boots with us,” the “Kicker” quoted Gladbach's sports director Nils Schmadtke as saying.

    What do the other people involved say?

    “When you see the effort that goes into a game like this, it hurts us that it's not being played,” said Gerardo Seoane, the coach of Borussia Mönchengladbach, in the catacombs of the Ludwigsparkstadion.

    Tim Schreiber was annoyed, but said goodbye to the fans. Tim Schreiber was annoyed, but said goodbye to the fans.

    Tim Schreiber was annoyed, but said goodbye to the fans.

    (Photo: IMAGO/Jan Huebner)

    The Bundesliga soccer team and its supporters traveled almost 300 kilometers to the third division club in Saarland only to find a battered lawn after hours of constant rain. The cup fight fell through. Seoane emphasized that his team “absolutely wanted to play”. But it is “not a question of wanting, but of ability. From that point of view, I can absolutely understand the decision.”

    Despite all the disillusionment, the 45-year-old was still able to find something positive about the cancellation. “Now we're coming home a few hours earlier,” said Seoane: “We now have three or four hours on the bus to think about how we're going to use the training session.”

    Okay, that was Gladbach. And what do the hosts say?

    “It's just annoying. The city should now see that it's not acceptable,” complained Saarbrücken goalkeeper Tim Schreiber. He and his teammates have long been fed up with the recurring problems in Ludwigspark. The 21-year-old keeper added: “It wouldn't have been possible today at all. We'll have to see when we can play.”

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