Minnows tackle the giants
BERLIN: Borussia Dortmund begin the defence of their German Cup trophy away to minnows Rielasingen-Arlen tomorrow and mighty Bayern Munich head to Chemnitz among 32 first-round ties.
While Dortmund and Bayern tested themselves against each other in the Super Cup last week, the opening round of the cup is more serious business – even if neither will expect much difficulty in progressing.
“With the benefit of hindsight, we will probably take a lot of positives from this game,” Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Buerki said of the penalty shoot-out Super Cup loss to Bayern. “We covered ground well too. We need to continue in this vein.”
Bayern, record 18-time champions, are missing a handful of players such as Javi Martinez and James Rodriguez through injury, but still travel with a powerful squad.
A mixed pre-season included various defeats but the shoot-out win over Dortmund boosted spirits once more.
“We’ll definitely be as strong as we were in the last and second-to-last seasons,” Robert Lewandowski said.
The cup action begins today with Bundesliga sides Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Moenchengladbach going to RW Essen and Karlsruhe respectively.
“There’s always the same buzz ahead of the opening match, but at the same time we know that we have a difficult job ahead of us,” said Gladbach winger Patrick Herrmann.
Other Bundesliga clubs playing tomorrow are Freiburg at Germania Halberstadt, Werder Bremen at Wuerzburg, Hoffenheim at Erfurt, Mainz at Lueneburger Hansa, Cologne at Lehe and Eintracht Frankfurt at Erndtebrueck.
On Sunday, Bundesliga runners-up RB Leipzig visit seventh-tier Dorfmerkigen, Wolfsburg go to Eintract Norderstedt and Augsburg head to Magdeburg.
Top-flight newcomers Hanover and VfB Stuttgart travel to Bonn and Energie Cottbus, while perennial underachievers SV Hamburg go to Osnabrueck.
The first round concludes on Monday with Schalke travelling to former East German powerhouse Dynamo Berlin and the capital’s current force Hertha taking on Hansa Rostock. “Of course we know we are the favourites to progress,” Schalke keeper Ralf Faehrmann said. “But we must cope with those expectations. – dpa