We’re down to the last eight in this season’s DFB Pokal and the second of the quarter-final match-ups take place on Tuesday and Wednesday to see who will progress to the semi-finals. Here we take a look at the midweek Pokal action.
Bayer Leverkusen v VfB Stuttgart (Tuesday)
The third of the quarter-final clashes is one between two sides riding high at the top of the Bundesliga as leaders Bayer Leverkusen look to defend their unbeaten streak this season against a VfB Stuttgart side lying third in the table and coming off the back of two successive wins.
The Werkself have negotiated their way past Teutonia Ottensen, Sandhausen and Paderborn on the way to this last-eight clash at the Bay Arena. Their earlier league match with the Swabians ended all-square with a 1-1 draw at the MHP Arena on matchday 14. Leverkusen’s unbeaten run now encompasses 29 matches across league, cup and in Europe.
The Rhine club have only won the DFB Pokal once in their history with their sole triumph coming back in 1993 when they defeated the Hertha Berlin amateurs at the Olympiastadion with Ulf Kirsten scoring the only goal of the game.
Stuttgart have recovered from starting the year with successive defeats by winning their last two against RB Leipzig and Freiburg. They are back amongst the goals with eight scored in those two matches, but come up against the league’s meanest defence with Bayer conceding just 14 so far this season.
Sebastian Hoeneß’ side have beaten TSG Balingen, Union Berlin and Borussia Dortmund in the previous rounds and are looking to win their fourth DFB Pokal after hoisting the famous cup twice in the 1950’s and more again in 1997.
1.FC Saarbrücken v Borussia Mönchengladbach (Wednesday)
3.Liga side Saarbrücken are the lowest ranked side still left in the competition so the magic of a minnow staging a giant killing remains. Their league form hasn’t quite matched their cup exploits this season with Rüdiger Ziehl’s side in 12th place in the third tier.
Their Pokal run this season has seen them overcome Karlsruher SC, Bayern Munich and Eintracht Frankfurt so they have already made plenty of headlines. Their shock elimination of the Bundesliga champions back in November sent shock waves through Germany with Marcel Gaus’ 96th minute winner stunning the Rekordmeister and 20-times winners of the Pokal.
They have started the year with two draws and a defeat with the most recent match seeing them take a 1-1 against Borussia Dortmund II at the weekend. Another raising of the game will be needed if there are to be more heroics at the Ludwigsparkstadion on Wednesday.
The Foals have won the Pokal three times (1960, 1973 and 1995) so it is nearly 30 years since their fans got to celebrate the lifting of a trophy. They will be desperate to do so this season, but will also be wary of the fate suffered already by Bayern and Frankfurt at the hands of surprise package Saarbrücken. They will be favourites, but not overwhelmingly so thanks to their inconsistent form in the Bundesliga which sees them sitting 13th at the moment.
Their cup run has seen them beat TuS Bersenbrück, Heidenheim and VfL Wolfsburg (aet). A 3-1 defeat at the weekend to Bayern Munich was not the ideal preparation, but Gerardo Seoane’s side were more resolute the previous weekend when they held Bayer Leverkusen goalless.