The last event before the winter break in Germany, was the round of 16 of the German Cup.
It provided plenty of drama and excitement, but very little in terms of the usual upsets in the competition.
The matches took place last Tuesday and Wednesday with two each being played at the same time.
On early Tuesday evening, VfB Stuttgart seemed in complete control against Mainz 05, when they led 1-0 and had a penalty minutes into the second half. They missed the spot kick, and minutes later Mainz was 2-1 up after two set piece goals. The 05ers added a third goal toward the end for good measure from a counter attack. 3-1 was the final score.
SC Paderborn has a unique story to tell. The team from the small college town gained promotion to Bundesliga 1 four seasons ago, which was beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. They initially carried that euphoria into the top flight, even reaching first place for a matchday.
But they ran out of gas toward the end of the season and were relegated back to Bundesliga 2. They then went on a continuous downward spiral, with relegation into the third tier.
Last season, they would have even fallen into the regional leagues, were it not for the fact that 1860 Munich did not get a license for the Third Division and Paderborn took the Lions’ place.
Now they are in second place in the Third Division, likely to be promoted and they are in the quarterfinals of the German Cup, after having defeated second-tier FC Ingolstadt 1-0 on Tuesday.
Later that night, VfL Wolfsburg defeated 1.FC Nuremberg 2-0 after extra time and Schalke 04 beat 1.FC Cologne 1-0.
Wolfsburg will lose their captain Mario Gomez in January, as he returns to his home town club VfB Stuttgart. In exchange, Croatian wunderkind Josip Brekalo will return to the Wolves from his Stuttgart loan spell early.
On Wednesday, Werder Bremen defeated SC Freiburg 3-2, despite Werder’s third goal having been offside. The Video Assistant Referee is only used in the last three rounds of the German Cup.
Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen beat Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-0.
In the evening, Bayern Munich defeated Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in a game of two halves and Eintracht Frankfurt prevailed 2-1 in extra time against 1.FC Heidenheim.
The Bavarians announced the next day that TSG Hoffenheim striker Sandro Wagner will join them in January and that winger Kingsley Coman has signed a long-term contract extension.
The draw for the German Cup quarterfinals will take place in early January, before it is played in February.