Bundesliga sides will fight for the DFB Pokal this week, and none will be taking it too lightly. Usually, in the earlier rounds of this competition, lots of Bundesliga sides are drawn against largely inferior opposition. Despite that, the games are rarely easy and even throw up a few surprise results. While most of the Bundesliga’s representatives are taking on teams from lower divisions, Bayern Munich face Werder Bremen in a repeat of last year’s final. Certainly the match of the round! Let’s have a look at Tuesday’s matches.
Victoria Hamburg v VfL Wolfsburg
This should be an absolute walk in the park for Wolfsburg, but will at least be a bit of a confidence booster if Wolfsburg really pound their hosts. Victoria Hamburg are a German fifth division side, and the massive gulf in class between the two teams will definitely be on display tomorrow night. Steve McClaren will want to avoid injuries, but other than that he will send his side out with the full expectation of a win. If they fail to deliver one, the pressure on McClaren will really begin to mount. He’s had an up-and-down start to the Bundesliga so far despite a few big signings in the summer, and Wolfsburg fans will be looking for a resounding win here.
FC Koln v 1860 Munich
The Koln board sacked manager Zvonimir Soldo this weekend after his 2-1 loss to Hannover, and installed ex-under-21 coach Frank Schaefer as caretaker manager. The temporary boss will face his first managerial challenge here, and like most things concerning Koln this season, it’ll probably be a lot harder than it first seemed. 1860 Munich captain Benjamin Lauth has a lot of Bundesliga experience and is also a German international, and he’ll provide the main threat for Koln. The hosts can’t take this game lightly, or they’ll surely be punished. 1860 Munich currently occupy 9th place in the 2. Bundesliga, and they’ll be looking to achieve promotion this season.
Kaiserslautern v Arminia Bielefeld
Struggling Kaiserslautern will take on promotion candidates Arminia Bielefeld tomorrow night, and they’ll need to be wary of complacency against competitive opponents. Bielefeld can boast the experience and reliability of Oliver Neuville, whose experience in front of goal in the Bundesliga is vast. The German international was part of Germany’s 2002 World Cup squad, and although he is aging, he still has that eye for goal. Arminia Bielefeld currently occupy 18th place in the 2. Bundesliga, and will be hoping to avoid relegation to the third division. Kaiserslautern should take this.
Energie Cottbus v SC Freiburg
This is another tough fixture that pits a 2. Bundesliga side against a first division team. Energie aren’t a great side, and Freiburg should be able to handle them, but away from home any team can provide a stern test. Energie are currently 5th in the second division, and at home with the full support of their fans, they will still be formidable opponents for Freiburg.
FSV Frankfurt v Schalke 04
I’m going to keep this one simple. If Schalke lose, Magath has to go. FSV Frankfurt are fighting for promotion in the second division, but on paper are still vastly inferior to Schalke. Still, knowing what we know about Schalke this season, an upset is probably in the works here. I can’t see Magath lasting passed tomorrow night if die Konigsblauen lose. It’d be a major shock, and an even bigger embarrassment. It’d have to be the final nail in the coffin. The pressure is on!
Bayern Munich v Werder Bremen
And now for the big one. Bayern Munich will be boosted by the return of Diego Contento, and the strong form of Anatoliy Tymoschuk, who has reinvented himself in the center of defense. Werder Bremen have only won one of their last six meetings against Die Roten, and I can’t see Louis van Gaal’s side losing this one. Werder Bremen were very impressive offensively on the weekend, but their defensive woes continue and Bayern Munich will likely take advantage of them. Werder Bremen’s only bright spot at the back has been second-choice goalkeeper Sebastian Mielitz, who has stepped into the limelight after a knee injury to Tim Wiese.
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