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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 30, 2006

Schalke, Hamburg reach German Cup semis

BERLIN, July 29 (Reuters) - Schalke 04 and Hamburg SV on Saturday reached the semi-finals of the Bundesliga's pre-season League Cup tournament made up of the top six teams.

Schalke, fourth in the league last season, won 9-8 in a penalty shootout against Bayer Leverkusen, who finished fifth in the standings, following a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes.

Hamburg earlier beat Hertha Berlin 1-0 on a hot afternoon with a 52nd minute goal by Belgium's Vincent Kompany.

Hamburg, who were third in the Bundesliga last season, visit league runners-up Werder Bremen in Tuesday's semi-final while Schalke travel to champions Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

Schalke keeper Frank Rost, who missed their third penalty, made amends when he saved Marko Babic's spot kick to secure victory in a match played at a neutral ground in Duesseldorf.

'I was angry my shot hit the post,' said Rost.

'It was good to see where we are. We had a lot of chances but only one goal. We need to improve our finishing.'

Leverkusen had taken the lead in the 28th minute through a Dario Rodriguez own goal before Schalke defender Marcelo Bordon equalised nine minutes later in front of a 23,195 crowd.

Schalke were without playmaker Lincoln and striker Kevin Kuranyi, who were suspended after being sent off in their team's final match of last season against VfB Stuttgart.

Berlin had several good chances in the first half but Hamburg keeper Sascha Kirschstein saved Brazilian defender Gilberto's effort after four minutes while Turkey midfielder Yildiray Basturk's 17th minute header glanced off the post.

The final of the tournament, a low-key affair that teams still want to win for prestige and financial reasons, is on Friday in Leipzig a week before the season starts on Aug. 11.