Daniel Batz. 


A name which meant next to nothing to us all before Tuesday evening – but sometimes the stars align and allow those who are forced into the shade to step into football's glowing sunlight, and bask in the warmth of recognition that their entire career deserves. 


And so, we begin our journey in Germany, where Bundesliga side Fortuna Düsseldorf travelled to lowly FC Saarbrücken to play out a seemingly routine tie for a place in the semi-final of the DFB Cup. 


But first, a bit of background on our heroes. 


Who are Saarbrücken?

Founded in 1903, FC Saarbrücken are a south-west German side currently plying their trade in the Regionalliga Südwest, the fourth tier of German football. But not for long! (hopefully). Saarbrücken are top of their southwest league, and hold a six-point lead over nearest rivals SV Elversberg. Exciting times.

Away from the league position, they boast a fire-breathing lion wearing a crown on their badge, and they don the blue and black stripes as their home kit. 


It's not been an easy path ​to stardom for Saarbrücken, who played out two 3-2 thrillers in the opening rounds of the competition, beating Jahn Regensburg and giants FC Köln. Their round of 16 tie ended as a tense 0-0 stalemate against Karlsruher SC, but our plucky protagonists earned a superb 5-3 penalty shootout victory to clinch their place in the final eight. 


And now we can pick up from where we left off. 


Saarbrücken grabbed a shock lead on the half-hour mark, Tobias Janicke sending the home supporters into absolute delirium. The hosts looked set to hold onto their famous win, but they conceded a penalty with eight minutes to play. 


Disaster. 


This is the moment our hero Batz takes to the stage. 


Who Is Daniel Batz? 

Other than having a cool name, Daniel Batz is now a cult-hero, goalkeeping extraordinaire and penalty expert. The 29-year-old is the first-choice shot-stopper for Saarbrücken, and he is currently leading them to glory in the Regionalliga Südwest. 


He's also picked up two yellow cards this season, so we can only assume he's probably a bit of a nutter, too.


Anyway, back to the matter at hand. 


Fortuna looked set to break Saarbrücken hearts with their late penalty, but Batz flung himself low to his right-hand side and parried the spot kick. But the real kick in the nads was still to come. 


The visitors bagged a 90th minute equaliser and, to the despair of the home crowd, forced extra-time.  But maybe this was Batz's-finking along. The 30 minutes of additional time passed without a break in the deadlock, and so, it was shootout time. 


The ultimate tear-jerker for any underdog. 


The newly-crowned 'king of the spot-kicks' had other plans, however. Batz saved a gobsmacking four penalties in the shootout, first parrying with his legs before brilliantly tipping the second onto the post down to his left. 

Batz then kept out another shot to his right, before facing up to the decisive penalty. A save would put Saarbrücken through to the semi-final of the German Cup. No pressure. 


With an entire fourth-tier fanbase resting on his shoulders, Batz produced another incredible stop, sprawling to his left and tipping the ball away to earn a dramatic 7-6 win in the shootout. Cue pandemonium. 


With that save, Saarbrücken became the first fourth-division side to reach the semi-finals of the DFB-Pokal, joining giants ​Bayern Munich in the race for an unprecedented place in the final. 


But let's not get carried away by the possible successes or failures around the corner – and bask instead for a second in the glory of Daniel Batz and FC Saarbücken.