Stuttgart beat Hertha Berlin to reach Cup semis

February 28, 2007

BERLIN, Feb 28 (Reuters) - VfB Stuttgart beat Hertha Berlin 2-0 at home in dreadful conditions on Wednesday to advance to the semi-finals of the German Cup and keep alive their hopes of a domestic double.

Brazilian striker Cacau finally found a way past Hertha's outstanding keeper Christian Fiedler in the 38th minute to put the hosts in front under steady rainfall in front of 32,000 spectators at Gottlieb-Daimler stadium.

Germany midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger doubled 1997 winners Stuttgart's lead 13 minutes from time with a long-range blast.

Favourites Stuttgart joined Nuremberg, VfL Wolfsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt, who all went through on Tuesday, in the semi-finals.

'We didn't set ourselves any goals for the Bundesliga before the season but we said from the start we wanted to make it to Berlin for the Cup final,' said Stuttgart coach Armin Veh.

'Now we're close to that goal. We didn't expect to be in second place in the Bundesliga. We've got a young team and never thought we'd be this high in the table.'

For Hertha, who are sixth in the Bundesliga table and have long dreamt of playing in the final at home at the Olympic Stadium, it was the frustrating end to another disappointing campaign.

Hertha had held Stuttgart to a goalless draw in the Bundesliga on Friday by packing their defence. Their tactics were similar on Wednesday with Fiedler again making several acrobatic saves.

'On Friday they sat back with a destructive style and got the goalless draw but we knew they'd have to come out and attack more this time and that created more room,' said Hitzlsperger.