Min­nows tackle the giants

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

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

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