FC Bayern and Dortmund avoid each other

There will be high tension at this year’s end. The round of 16 in the DFB Cup competition promises very thrilling matches on December 18-19. Title holders Borussia Dortmund will meet Hannover 96 in one of the top matches, to be broadcast live on ARD from 20:30hrs on Wednesday, December 19, as will the encounter between record-winning Cup champions FC Bayern Munich at neighbours FC Augsburg on the previous day (Tuesday, December 18, from 20:30hrs). Pay TV channel Sky will show these and the other six encounters live.

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The duel between Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski (right) and Hanover’s Sergio da Silva Pinto could be repeated in the DFB Cup competition. (Photo: Firo/Augenklick)

 


Four matches between Bundesliga clubs, one meeting of second-division clubs and two each with a third-division club, with the outsiders enjoying home advantage against Bundesliga teams, and a game between a Bundesliga and a second-division club will conclude the competitive club year 2012. The first leg of the Bundesliga will conclude with the 17th round on December 16, the second leg will then kick-off on January 18, 2013.

Football will once again prove its fascination in the round of 16 with the best teams in the DFB Cup, although the top favourites FC Bayern, Dortmund and Schalke are avoiding each other. The great FC Bayern Munich, who assured themselves the unofficial title of “autumn champions” early after just 14 rounds, will travel to mini neighbours FC Augsburg.

An Augsburg victory over Bayern would be a sensation

German woman international Saskia Bartusiak drew this internal Bavarian clash during the draw on November 4. Though Augsburg, promoted to the Bundesliga in 2011, are struggling to remain in the highest division in their second year they can look back on traditional success almost as good as the German record-winning champions from Munich. A victory, which would be a real sensation, would mean a perfect end to 2012 for FCA. In 2010 the club, then still in the second division, reached the DFB Cup semi-finals and lost 2-0 at Werder Bremen.

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Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker (left) tackles Philipp Lahm: Bayern won the last encounter between Augsburg and Munich 2-1 in November 2011. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)


Reigning DFB Cup champions Dortmund, who defeated Bayern 5-2 in last year’s final, have the extra advantage of playing Hanover at home. “The obstacle is anything but low, but we can overcome it”, said coach Juergen Klopp after the draw. When it was certain that BVB had reached the round of 16 in the Champions League, the goal was set to reach the quarter-finals of the national Cup competition on February 26. However, the Hanoverians also have high aims and have proven again and again that they are capable of achieving them.

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Peruvian Jefferson Farfan converts a penalty to give Schalke a 1-0 lead during their 3-0 win over Mainz in a Bundesliga match in September 2012. (Photo: Firo/Augenklick)


The other Ruhr-Region club and Champions League participant also enjoys home advantage. FC Schalke 04, five-time Cup champions, most recently in 2011, host 1. FSV Mainz 05 (Tuesday, December 18). An explosive Baden Derby will kick-off at the same time in Karlsruhe, when third-division Karlsruher SC meet Bundesliga club SC Freiburg. On the same day, the second third-division club Kickers Offenbach will play Fortuna Duesseldorf (20:30 hrs). “Bieberer Berg has been a stumbling block for many a club“, said Duesseldorf coach Norbert Meier about the famous, traditional Offenbach stadium. After improvements the arena was re-opened in the summer of 2012 with a capacity of 20,000 spectators and is now called “Sparda Bank Hessen Stadium”. The former Bundesliga club Offenbach are currently placed mid-table in the third-division and are coached by the former Dutch striker Arie van Lent.

Second division Cologne with a good record in Stuttgart

It’s not just newly promoted Fortuna Duesseldorf, who have won the DFB Cup twice after appearing in seven finals, who are aiming to reach the quarter-finals in an away match. The other two clubs from the Rhineland still in the competition also have to travel; second division 1. FC Cologne to Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart (Wednesday, December 19, 20:30hrs). The Swabians may well be called the favourite opponents for 1. FC as Cologne have won 19 Bundesliga matches in the Neckar Stadium, losing just twelve times. This time, however, it is clear that Stuttgart are favoured against the team relegated from the Bundesliga who are currently fighting to close the gap among the top teams in the second division.

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A snapshot from a derby between Freiburg and Karlsruhe in September 2005: KSC goalkeeper Markus Miller, Christian Eichner (centre) and Roda Antar (no 20) fight for the ball. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)


The match between VfL Wolfsburg and Bayer 04 Leverkusen will kick off on Wednesday at 19:00hrs. The Lower Saxons want to conclude a mediocre year with this fourth match between two Bundesliga teams. Their high aims in the Bundesliga have not been met. Leverkusen have performed far better and want to prove their good results by the conclusion of the year. At the same time the only encounter between two second division clubs will kick off in the Ruhr Region. VfL Bochum, experiencing big problems in the league, meet 1860 Munich, who are not performing as well as hoped. Reaching the quarter-finals would be a valuable success for both teams. The evening of December 19 will tell the same story for the other seven clubs fighting to reach the semi-finals at the end of February.

The dates of the round of 16 in the DFB Cup:

Tuesday, December 18

19.00 hrs:
FC Schalke 04 vs FSV Mainz 05
Karlsruher SC vs SC Freiburg

20.30 hrs:
Kickers Offenbach vs Fortuna Duesseldorf
FC Augsburg vs Bayern Munich

Wednesday, December 19

19.00 hrs:
VfL Wolfsburg vs Bayer Leverkusen
VfL Bochum vs 1860 Munich

20.30 hrs:
VfB Stuttgart vs 1. FC Cologne
Borussia Dortmund vs Hannover 96