Lukas Kwasniok summed it up succinctly and aptly. “I spoke beforehand of a magical night,” said the SC Paderborn coach: “It has become a tragic one.”

Up until the 86th minute, the second division team was leading against Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart, and the third quarter-finals in the DFB Cup in the club’s history was within reach. Then came the equalizer and in the fifth minute of stoppage time the decisive 1:2.

“If there’s anything good about it, it’s that it’s better to lose after 90 minutes than after 120,” said the coach. He fully acknowledged that the bottom line was that Stuttgart’s victory was deserved. “VfB crushed us,” said Kwasniok: “It would have been nice to get through. But it was absolutely doable, so it’s very bitter.”

Coach about referee: “Maybe there is still something open”

How much the end gnawed at the 41-year-old, who had led Saarbr├╝cken as the first fourth division team to the cup semifinals in 2020, was shown by his direct path to referee Daniel Schlager after the final whistle. “The anger hasn’t gone away yet,” said Kwasniok about an hour after the game. His frustration was that in the previous round against Werder Bremen, a corner kick for Paderborn was no longer allowed to be taken in regular time. This time it was, even though the three minutes of stoppage time indicated had already been exceeded by more than a minute. Stuttgart’s winning goal was promptly scored. “I know Daniel Schlager very well. We come from the same region,” said Kwasniok about the referee. And added with a smile: “He whistled for me in the district league. I don’t know, but maybe there’s still something open.”

With irony, the coach also commented on the fact that his club had to play again in the league against D├╝sseldorf just 72 hours after the cup fight. “That’s nothing new,” he said: “We only had two full days against Bremen before and after. We’re just second division and SC Paderborn. The game could certainly have been put on Saturday. But this time we planned at least three full days after the cup game. So that’s at least an increase.”