Summit clash in the DFB Cup: Bayern vs Dortmund

Half of the world’s population could be focussed on the Allianz Arena for a German football summit. On February 27 (Wednesday) at 20:30hrs CET, FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund will meet in the quarter-finals of the DFB Cup. The encounter between the German record winning champions and DFB Cup champions from the Free State of Bavaria, and the reigning DFB Cup champions from the Ruhr Region, is seen by many as the real final. That is obvious when considering the present level of both clubs, and last year’s Cup competition. The two teams met in Berlin on May 12, 2012 – in the final at the Olympic Stadium in which Dortmund performed brilliantly to win 5-2.

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Mario Goetze (front) and David Alaba in action during the Bundesliga match that ended in a 1-1 draw on December 1. Both are in excellent form prior to the DFB Cup encounter. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)

Now the outstanding club teams of the German Football Association, DFB, will clash at the Allianz Arena -- with the Bavarians hoping home advantage can help bring revenge. There cannot be a draw in the DFB Cup in Munich, as in the Bundesliga on December 1 last year (1-1). The rules demand there must be a winner, either after 90 minutes, 120 minutes or in a penalty shoot-out. It is crystal clear that Bayern, the superior current Bundesliga leaders, will be particularly motivated. After six matches without a win (five defeats, one draw) the team coached by Jupp Heynckes desperately want a victory. It would not only get them through to the semi-finals, but clearly underline the fact that in 2013 FC Bayern are once again Germany’s number 1 team – in all competitions. Theoretically it is possible that FCB and BVB could also meet in the Champions League this season.

Schalke’s Thon “drew” this explosive encounter

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But the Bavarians, who won the German Cup 15 times before 2010, will have to make do without their top striker Franck Ribery in the match against Dortmund. The Frenchman was sent off after a brawl with South Korean Koo Ja-Cheol in the round of 16 victory at FC Augsburg on December 18. It upset the Bayern executives that only Ribery was shown a red card by referee Thorsten Kinhofer, but in the end they accepted the two-match suspension.

The three-time Cup champions from Dortmund will, however, travel with confidence to the river Isar ground, and not only because of the non-appearance of the in-form Ribery.

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Korean Koo Ja-Cheol (Augsburg/left) slaps Franck Ribery lightly on the face. The Frenchman retaliates fiercely and is shown a red card, Koo a yellow. (Photo: Rauchensteiner/Augenklick)

At the beginning of February, coach Juergen Klopp expressed his aim: his team should finish runners-up in the championship and defend the DFB Cup title successfully. The logic behind this goal is a victory in Munich. “We are looking forward to this match. Of course it will be hard work”, said midfield magician Mario Goetze. “We want to reach the final again, and to achieve that you must eliminate every team”

Former Schalke player Olaf Thon was behind Dortmund’s difficult task at Bayern. The 1990 World Cup champion, who also played with Bayern, drew the quarter-final fixtures. VfL Bochum were not happy with “Fortuna” Thon either. The team from the Ruhr Region, currently battling against relegation from the second division, must travel to first division VfB Stuttgart. This match will also take place on Wednesday (February 17) at 19:00hrs CET.

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Jakub Blaszczykowski, called “Kuba”, on the ball during Dortmund’s 1-1 draw in the Bundesliga match at FC Bayern on December 1, 2012. (Photo: Getty Images)

Third-division Offenbach hope to defeat Wolfsburg

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The other two quarter-finals will be held on the previous day, Tuesday (February 26). 1. FSV Mainz 05 and SC Freiburg will open the fourth DFB Cup round at 19:00hrs CET. Since their last encounter ended goalless in the Bundesliga on January 19, there must be a winner this time. Both teams are currently convincing with consistently good performances of a high level in the championship competition and could possibly achieve qualification to the Europa League. The DFB Cup could also lead to the international stage. For that they need three more victories, but reaching the final in Berlin on June 1 could also be sufficient.

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During a Bundesliga match in 2009, Christian Fuchs (Bochum/left) and Marian Ciprica (Stuttgart) fight for the ball. Now both are playing with Schalke. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)

An interesting encounter will kick off on Tuesday (February 26) at 20:30hrs. Third division club Kickers Offenbach will host VfL Wolfsburg. Offenbach celebrated three 2-0 victories at their home stadium Bieberer Berg, over Bundesliga newcomers Greuther Fuerth, second division Union Berlin and Bundesliga club Fortuna Duesseldorf. Now the 1970 DFB Cup champions, who are currently ranked in the lower middle table of the third division, want to hunt down the “Wolves”. The Lower Saxons, however, are planning differently. They want to conclude a so far unsatisfying season with their second final participation since 1995, and even better with their first triumph in the DFB Cup.