1-0, Hillenbrand 32'.
FC-Astoria Walldorf 1-0 SV Darmstadt 98: Hillenbrand the hero for hosts
Image credit: SV Darmstadt 98

FC-Astoria Walldorf 1-0 SV Darmstadt 98: Hillenbrand the hero for hosts

Their Pokal dream lives on for yet another round.

Jonathan Walsh

It was a special moment for Nico Hillenbrand as his strike secured a huge 1-0 win over SV Darmstadt 98 for FC-Astoria Walldorf.

Team news

Matthias Born, whose side played in front of 350 fans at home to FC 08 Homburg at the weekend, opted for three alterations ahead of the cup clash. Steffan Haas, Christopher HellmannSteffen Straub dropped out for Timo Kern, Yakub Polat and Marcus Meyer.

Norbert Meier's men, fresh from a 3-1 win against Wolfsburg, made five changes to the side that started that game. Antonio-Mirko Colak, Fabian Holland, Marcel Heller, Victor Obinna and Peter Niemeyer replaced Leon Guwara, Roman Bezjak, Florian Jungwirth, László Kleinheisler and Änis Ben-Hatira.

Hillenbrand gives the hosts a memorable lead

From the off, it was clear to see that Astoria Walldorf were more than up for the tie and forced Michael Esser into an early save from Andreas Schön's effort. Yet Darmstadt came back at their hosts and should have taken the lead when the ball eventually found Heller, but Jürgen Rennar made a smart stop with his legs at the near post.

Walldorf were putting pressure on their Bundesliga opponents and didn't look at all out of place in what was a very even game. Esser dealt with any danger rather easily.

Then came the spark. Some good play down the right finally paid dividends as Meyer played in Pascal Pellowski and he burst past his man to whip in a dangerous cross to the near post. Hillenbrand made the run that the left-back was hoping someone would, and he poked the ball home to the joy of the raucous home support.

They could, and probably should have added to that tally before the break. Schön saw his effort blocked by Aytac Sulu after clever build up play and a quick break allowed Meyer time to come inside and shoot, yet his effort slipped just past the post. Darmstadt were lucky to be just a goal down at the break.

Hosts ride their luck but hold on for famous win

The restart brought a change for the visitors and the introduction of Bezjak for the quiet Obinna. Yet to was Walldorf who made the early strides in the second period, and a brave run from Marcel Carl ended up with him cutting the ball back to Kern. Thankfully for Darmstadt, Holland was able to throw his body in front of the ball to deny Kern.

That seemed to finally wake the Lillies from their slumber and two good chances fell their way, as they aimed to get back into the contest. However, Jonas Kiermeier was only too happy to get in the way of Colak's stinging drive, while Schipplock's volley flew wildly across the face of goal in a bid for an equaliser.

From there, it was end-to-end and both sides could have had several goals in the space of 15 frantic minutes. Colak missed what can only be described as a sitter as he scooped the ball over the bar from four yards, while Kern and Pellowski both came close to putting the game beyond doubt for the Regionalliga outfit.

More desperate defending from the hosts and poor play in the final third brought the game to a tight and tense end, but Astoria had done enough to secure the win.