Home Sports Munich, Dortmund go to Hamburg for cup dates

Munich, Dortmund go to Hamburg for cup dates


BERLIN – Holders Bayern Munich and runners-up Borussia Dortmund face mid-week trips to Hamburg for second-round German Cup ties at ailing home sides before their Bundesliga showdown on Saturday.

Dortmund hope to rediscover their Champions League form,  rather than continue their poor showings from recent Bundesliga games when they play at second division St Pauli on Tuesday.

The next day Bayern were at SV Hamburg, where they were held to a goalless draw in the league a few weeks ago.

None of the four managed to win in the league at the weekend, with Bundesliga leaders Bayern held 0-0 at second-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach, Hamburg crashing 3-0 at Hertha Berlin, St Pauli humbled 4-0 at home by Karlsruhe and Dortmund losing 1-0 at home to Hanover.

Instead of dueling with Munich for the top spot, Dortmund have amassed a league-worst six defeats from nine games and find themselves just one place (and point) above the danger zone, while already 10 shy of a Champions League berth and 14 behind Munich.

Dortmund convincingly won their Champions League dates with Arsenal, Anderlecht and Galatasaray, but they have difficulties finding the net in the league, in spite of a host of chances, even against teams like Hanover which defend deep.

“This is the most difficult time that any of us has ever faced. But we can learn from it.

“But we must also admit that it will be difficult to reach our targets for the season,’’ captain Mats Hummels said in the wake of the worst league start since 1985.

The cup could possibly offer the easiest path to Europe, and the date at St Pauli comes ahead of back-to-back Bundesliga matches against Munich and Moenchengladbach.

“We have to keep fighting, there is no alternative,’’ coach Juergen Klopp said.

St Pauli are not better off than Dortmund in division two, placed 16th in the play-off spot after the heavy home defeat against Karlsruhe, which has dampened their mood ahead of the big game on Tuesday.

“I am rather looking at the (league) table. The league is our bread and butter,’’ goalkeeper Philipp Tschauner said.

Crosstown rivals Hamburg are also 16th, in the top flight, with just one season win– 1-0 in Dortmund.

The Bundesliga 0-0 against Bayern was the first game of new coach Joe Zinnbauer, but, coming off the convincing defeat in Berlin, there were fears that they could crash against Bayern just as in last season’s 5-0 quarter-final defeat.

“We are certainly not favourites,’’ forward Nicolai Mueller said.

Even worse off than Hamburg are their northern German rivals Werder Bremen. Winless last in the Bundesliga and with Viktor Skripnik promoted from under-23 trainer to first team coach on Saturday in succession of sacked Robin Dutt – just as Zinnbauer was last month.

Bremen visit third division Chemnitz, and new chairman Marco Bode– like Skripnik a former Bremen player– insisted that victory was not only a must from a sporting point of view.

“We have economic potential and should not waste it,’’ Bode said in reference to their difficult financial situation.

Five Bundesliga clubs went out in the first round and at least two follow in mid-week, the losers of the Hamburg-Munich and Eintracht Frankfurt v Moenchengladbach games.

The other nine hope to avoid upsets, with Bayer Leverkusen visiting lower league Magdeburg, while Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim host second division opponents in Heidenheim and FSV Frankfurt. (dpa/NAN)

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