Category Archives: DFB Pokal

The Bundesliga Show Episode 104 – The Berlin Adventure

The Bundesliga Show and the Bundesliga Fanatic were on the road in Berlin to record this end of season podcast. The 50th Bundesliga season has been a record breaking one for Bayern Munich and that continued in the German capital when the club won the DFB Pokal and secured a first domestic and European treble by a Bundesliga club.

Alongside analysis of the big game and reaction from Bayern’s season, Jon Hartley, Terry Duffelen and Niklas Wildhagen visit two clubs who have played their part in Bundesliga history but have fallen on harder times since – Tennis Borussia Berlin and Tasmania Berlin.

Enjoy the show!


The Bundesliga Show Epsiode 103 – The Final of all Finals

It was the game that Bundesliga fans had been building up to for weeks – the all German Champions League final. Jon Hartley and Terry Duffelen get under the skin of the big game and reflect on the winners Bayern Munich and the gallant runners up Borussia Dortmund.

The pair also look back at the promotion/relegation play-off that confirmed Hoffenheim’s place in the top flight for another season, they also discuss the troubles at MSV Duisburg and preview the game that could see Bayern crowned at treble winners…the DFB Pokal Final.

Enjoy the show!



DFB Pokal round up: Fortuna victim of Kickers

The first and third round of Germany’s domestic knock out competition is craftily scheduled. Round one usually happens a week before the league season starts and the third round comes along just after the end of the Hinrunde when German football takes a winter break and the players go off on their Christmas holiday.

The combination of early season jitters and pre holiday anticipation can catch players unaware and leave top teams vulnerable against lower league opposition in this competition. The build up to the third round has featured stern faced coaches in press conferences assuring everyone that their players are fully focussed on the task ahead and weren’t in any way thinking about Christmas parties and home for the holidays.

The Cup also presents giant killing opportunities for small clubs whose opponents, whether by choice or otherwise are, to use an old expression, “concentrating on the league”. Fortuna Dusseldorf, having prevailed in a tough Bundesliga encounter against Hannover 96 last Saturday would not have welcomed an away journey to third division Kickers Offenbach on Tuesday in the Cup. F96 coach Norbert Meier, not having the biggest squad, did not make any significant changes and must have been confident of a win against a team that had lost its last four 3-Liga matches.

It wasn’t to be however, and Kickers triumphed in a 2-0 giant killing thanks to two relatively late goals by Mathias Fetsch and Stefan Vogler. The second was a lovely strike after having made a perfect offside beating run.

Kickers, beat Cologne in the 1970 Final to win the Cup but are probably best known for their involvement in the match fixing scandal in the early 1970s. Since then the best they have been able to manage is the occasional appearance in the second division. However, the club moved into a new stadium in the Summer and can enjoy their moment in the Sun thanks to this cup run.

Schalke’s collapsing Hinrunde concluded after they crashed out of the cup at home to Mainz by two goals to one. Marco Caliguri opened the scoring before Klaas Jan Huntelaar equalised. Nicolai Müller bagged the winner in front of a disgruntled Veltins Arena. It was not the ideal start for interim coach Jens Keller but in fairness, the former Under 17 coach has had very little time to make a difference. He now has the entire winter break to work with his players unless Schalke make a swoop for an early replacement. One of the men fancied for the job in Gelsenkirchen is Thomas Tuchel of Mainz who would be forgiven for checking Keller’s office for carpets and curtains.

Elsewhere, Bayern fought off a determined Augsburg side despite having Franck Ribery sent off with two goals from Mario Gomez and Xherdan Shaqiri. Freiburg prevailed in what could have been a tricky encounter at Karlsruher. 1-0 was the final score at the Wildparkstadion.

Wolfsburg are slowly repairing the cracks in their home form with an impressive 2-1 win against Bayer Leverkusen. The result may prove to be Wolves coach Lorenz-Günther Köstner’s swansong as the German media report that Bernd Schuster is likely to become the coach at the VW Arena.

Bochum were triumphant in the all second division meeting against 1860 Munich. The 3-0 scoreline represented a modest upset insofar as Bochum are very much at the wrong end of the table.

Borussia Dortmund, faced Hannover 96 in what should have been a tough encounter but the Cup holders blew the opposition away with three first half goals. Jakub Błaszczykowski’s strike split a Mario Götze brace.Dortmund took the second half in their stride until the 78th minutes when Marem Diouf’s header made it 3-1. But Götze fired home a fantastic volley from a brilliant cross from Robert Lewandowski. And it was Lewandowski who got the goal he’d been after all evening, right at the death for 5-1 and game over. It was a tough result for Hannover who were given very opportunities  by BVB. Having said that, it is a measure of how far the club have come under coach Mirko Slomka that they should find themselves so disappointed.

Finally, FC Cologne, relegated last season and recovering slowly from an awful start to life in the second division faced Stuttgart. However, the first division team took what proved to be an unassailable lead in the first half with goals from Christian Gentner and Vedad Ibišević. Christian Clemens pulled one back for the away side but it was not enough.

German Cup Quarter Final Draw:

Kickers Offenbach v VfL Wolfsburg;  Bayern Münich v Borussia Dortmund;  Stuttgart v Bochum;  Mainz v Freiburg.

The Bundesliga Show Episode 68 – Cup Shocks & Matchday 1 Preview

Welcome back to a new season with The Bundesliga Show. At the start of the new season the show Matt Hermann joins Jon Hartley as the new co-host of the pod. In the first episode of the campaign, the pair tackle the Cup shocks from the DFB Pokal, talk Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Champions League  play-off and look forward to the kick-off of the 50th Bundesliga season.

Enjoy the show!

Download the Bundesliga Lounge Season Preview magazine here.

The Bundesliga Show Episode 65 – Relegation, Play-offs and the Cup

The league season may be over, but there is still so much to play for in Germany. Jon Hartley and Terry Duffelen run down through the key talking points of the final matchday of the season, which confirmed Cologne’s relegation and Hertha’s place in the play-off. Hertha Berlin face Fortuna Düsseldorf in the first leg of the play-off on Thursday evening at the Olympic Stadium.

In addition, ESPN’s Jim Proudfoot joins the pod to preview the up coming DFB Pokal final between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich. Richard Montague from Football Radar also makes guest appearance to talk about the final day of the season in the 2.Bundesliga.

DFB Pokal Final – Cup Magic

Matthias Suuck looks ahead to the DFB Pokal Final. Will it be a Dortmund ‘double’, or revenge for Bayern?

Every cup tournament, regardless of country or system brings with it a certain level of magic and passion that leagues have a hard time to equal. The main reasons for this phenomenon being that every match could be a clubs last in the tournament for that season and snatch away their only hopes of achieving a title, so the matches simply mean more. Another key reason is that it seems that every season some underdog, lower-league club trips up the big boys and thus gives hope and excitement to that base of supporters. The German DFB Pokal is no different. First introduced in 1935, the “Pokal” has produced some truly magical match-ups over the decades and this year’s final will certainly be no different.

With the two most dominant clubs in Germany this season facing off for the third time and fighting for the second title between them, the matchup of Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Munich is sure to provide plenty of thrilling moments and headlines. Bayern have, as is the case in the Bundesliga, dominated this tournament, winning it an astonishing 15 times, with the first one being in 1957 and the last one in 2010. Dortmund, on the other hand, have only won it twice, in 1965 and 1989. This is also a rematch of the final from 2008 that ended with Bayern winning 2-1 in extra time.

The 1989 DFB Pokal Winners - Borussia Dortmund

This season’s final has more at stake than in 2008, when a very young, upstart Dortmund side was the woeful outsider against the dominant Bavarians. After Dortmund just won its second straight Bundesliga title and having defeated Bayern every time in these past two title winning seasons, Bayern Munich certainly do not want to go down once again, especially when another title is at stake. Dortmund have the opportunity to achieve their very first “double” in the club’s long history.

So with both teams clearly having something to play for what are the differences to keep an eye on? Well, for starters Bayern have an even bigger cup final just one week later, when they face Chelsea in the Champions League. Though Bayern clearly have pride at stake and want to defeat Dortmund, they certainly will not risk key players such as Ribbery, Robben, Lahm, Gomez or Schweinsteiger. Though I do not see any players being rested from the Pokal final, it would be no surprise to see some players not see more than maybe 60 minutes of action, especially if Bayern are in front. However, for three of the Bayern players who are suspended from the Champions League final (Badstuber, Gustavo, Alaba), this will be their big moment to shine and give it their all, without causing manager Heynckes any consternation as to their fitness for the bigger final the following week.

A closer tactical analysis would be a bit redundant from what has already been written just a few weeks prior. Both clubs are coming in with a great run of form in the Bundesliga, each having scored four goals in their last match. Both squads are also quite fit, without any real injury worries for either manager. For some of the players this will be the last match for their respective clubs, so do not be surprised to see some extra effort from players such as Lucas Barrios or Ivica Olic (if they start). Another factor will be the fitness of Mario Götze, who had a good run out against Freiburg this past weekend. Though Jürgen Klopp would not wish to potentially jeopardize the young star’s future at the Euros this summer, especially given the great form from Kuba Blaszczykowski, I do expect to see him at some point during the final.

Both clubs will field their strongest starting elevens, but with the Champions League final looming (and the nervousness that it will cause Jupp Heynckes in terms of keeping his squad fit) and Dortmund’s brilliant 28 match unbeaten streak in the Bundesliga, I see a close match, but one that Dortmund will ultimately prevail in and thus secure their first “double” in club history.

The Bundesliga Show 27 – First Round Cup Folly, the big Bundesliga kick-off and Jim Proudfoot

The Bundesliga is almost back, but before the big kick-off there was the return of the DFB Pokal to wet our appetite’s – Jon Hartley and Terry Duffelen round up the results from the German Cup 1st Round.

The show also welcomes its first special guest of the new season, commentator Jim Proudfoot, who looks ahead to the season opener between Dortmund and HSV and also gives his thoughts on the up coming campaign. 

The Bundesliga Show 27 – First Round Cup Folly, the big Bundesliga kick-off and Jim Proudfoot by soundoffootball

Where Shot Putters Tread – Impressions of the German Cup First Round

You can learn much about the sporting development of a country from its lower professional sporting leagues. Germany, by comparison to the UK, seems to have a larger proportion of relatively small municipal athletics grounds. At least it looks that way. My observations are hardly scientific given that Germany is a much bigger place than Britain.
Of the thirty two Pokal fixtures, last weekend, I counted eleven grounds that had or used to have running tracks but the point I’m slowly reversing into is that in the UK, lower league clubs tend to own their own Football specific stadiums. Whereas, when I look through the pictures of lower league club’s stadia, I see a significant number of athletics tracks. In fact when I read the very splendid European Football Weekends blog I am drawn to the pictures of half empty track and field facilities taken from a small stand as, somewhere in the distance, some football players are struggling for attention amidst the ordinance reserved for spikes rather than studs. I assume that many of that these facilities are publicly owned and as a consequence, multi-purpose.
In the UK, there is a tradition for clubs to own your own football specific ground. It is seen as an important part of a club’s identity and essential to securing the club’s security and stability. In Germany, they seem to have taken a different approach, preferring to lease from the local council.
At this point we could go off into a discussion about the role of property within western societies and the respective cultural traditions that lie therein but I suspect you may find that a little dry. You could also point to many lower league clubs in Germany that do not play where shot putters normally tread and a number of UK clubs that do. In fact, I’ll start with Rotherham, Croydon FC and in a few years, West Ham United.. I’m also conscious that athletics is not confined to the lower leagues as Hertha and up until recently, Bayern and Stuttgart also played with one.
However, since I’ve been following German football for what must be seven or eight years, I’ve always looked forward to Pokal first round days where the big clubs of the First Bundesliga are compelled to travel to the homes of 3-Liga and Regionalliga football clubs a week before the start of the League season to face a packed house of partisan locals and a highly motivated opposition anxious to prove that they’ve still got it. In these moments that oft used axiom that athletics stadiums lack atmosphere seems hollow.
As an Englishman, it is almost impossible not to impose the traditional values of the English FA Cup Third Round on the DFB Pokal Round One. However, as a non German resident I must be careful not to presume that the competition is held in the same esteem in these early stages.
Even so, few will argue that getting knocked out by Regionalliga opposition is ideal preparation for a new season in the German top flight. But that is precisely what happened to Wolfsburg on Friday whose company picnic with RB Leipzig ended badly at the hands of Leipzig striker Daniel Frahn’s hat trick. Despite the obvious gulf between the two clubs it had a strange look about it. The Leipzig club are only passing through the divisions on their way to the top thanks to the support of the Red Bull corporation. They play in a modern stadium built for the 2006 World Cup and had the look of a team that had a purpose. The Regionalliga season is yet to get underway but you feel that RB Liepzig will be among the favorites to be promoted to the Third Division at the end of the campaign.
There was also, perhaps an absence of romance even about Second Bundesliga, Dynamo Dresden’s astonishing comeback against Bayer Leverkusen. Dresden have also moved to a swanky new stadium. The club clearly envisage the day when home wins against First Division clubs are the norm rather than the exception. None of which should take anything away from the players achievement.
But for the authentic cup upset experience you need to travel to the Voith Arena in Heidenhem where the Third division side beat the mighty Werder Bremen 3-1. Heidenheim’s, stadium used to hold athletics until it was recently converted to a soccer specific stadium. Perhaps, despite my earlier musings, there is a sense that if you want to get on in football, you need to ditch the Discus.
The other big upset of the weekend was at Unterhaching of the 3-Liga. An 87th minute penalty meant that Freiburg will be concentrating on the League this season. 3-2 was the final score at the Generali Sportpark. At the time of writing there is only one more match to go and that his on Monday evening where Bayern will be hoping that they don’t join Leverkusen, Freiburg, Bremen and Wolfsburg in the Slain Giants 2011 Club. The Bavarians travel north to newly promoted Second Bundesliga club Eintracht Braunschweig who, mercifully for bluff old traditionalists like me, play at an athleitcs stadium.

Company Picnic At The Pokal

Who doesn’t love a big, shiny, golden cup? After all, before the winnings from competitions such as the Champions League went from being paid in plug nickels to enough money to fully fund most Third World countries, the big prize was just a cup.
Okay, there might have been some ribbons too. The point is that, at the end of cup competitions, there is a tangible object–often a great lump of a trophy that’s been places you wish you could go–awarded to the triumphant side. One of the best cups out there to win, aesthetically speaking, is the DFB Pokal Cup. Just look at that lovely piece of silverware–it’s a solid and divinely-wrought piece of metal from which Vikings should be drinking mead.

Wouldn’t you want your club’s captain to be hoisting something similar to the German Cup at the end of a title-winning campaign in 1.Bundesliga over a bloody hubcap? The best thing you can do with that is dine on salad–Bundesliga winners deserve a cup that can hold a liver-wilting amount of beer rather than an over-sized appetizer plate.

But that cup instead goes to the winner of Germany’s domestic competition, and the opening round begins this weekend. The draw set up some interesting matches to begin, from a plucky club Terry’s featured elsewhere hosting Bavarian behemoths Bayern to a few that see 2.Bundesliga sides squaring off in perhaps more competitive affairs. One of the most intriguing fixtures, however, might pique those curious in the Battle for the Mead Cup for what the two clubs embody rather than which side will emerge victorious. When RB Leipzig host VfL Wolfsburg on Friday evening, it sees two clubs take to the pitch in a contrast of the company club from yesteryear with one of the modern footballing age.

Die Wölfe, of course, is the post-World War II incarnation of the football club associated with the Volkswagen auto works factory in Wolfsburg. With the pre-war works team BSG Volkswagenwerk Stadt des KdF-Wagen having been disbanded, VfL was granted license to operate by the British occupation forces after so that town residents–Volkswagen employees– could get a bit of exercise after having spent the week building VW Beetles. Playing in the shadows of Volkswagen’s office buildings and near barracks that once housed foreign prisoners forced to work for the company during the war, VfL nearly went extinct as well when all but one of its players left to play for 1.FC Wolfsburg, a club still in operation today in the Northeast German Football Association (NOFV). While today we consider them a 1.Bundesliga regular–their current spell in the top flight beginning in the late 1990s–and having even stolen a Hubcap off Bayern Munich in 2009, for a long period of their existence Wolves were mainly a regional team supported by the town’s employer in a scheme devised to let the employees blow off a little steam.

The story of RB Leipzig–that’s SSV Markranstädt in old German–probably is well-known to those that have been foolish enough to have read down this far. If not, then, a quick refresher: fizzy energy drink company Red Bull made the fifth division German side its fourth football acquisition in 2009 after having purchased franchises in Salzburg, New York, and Sao Paolo. With Bundesliga having that pesky ownership rule that insists outside investors can retain no more than a 49% interest, the company only purchased a minority stake of the former East German club and was allowed to rebrand the club as “RB” rather than Red Bull Markranstädt to smudge up said rule. As for the Leipzig part, shortly after the organization bought SSV’s playing license it moved the club from the cozy Stadion am Bad with a capacity of 5,500 a few miles away to play in Leipzig’s 45,000 capacity Zentralstadion, a bit of a “white elephant” that had been left over from the 2006 World Cup.
Red Bull’s goal is to have RB Leipzig competing in the 1.Bundesliga within the next eight years, which is the primary reason behind the move to what is now Red Bull Arena under a name that could easily be construed as being shorthand for “Rhapsodic Bohemian Leipzig,” or something like that.

As an odd parallel, SSV’s pre-fizzy drink history shows that, as Wolfsburg was being supported by an automaker in the west, rebranded RB Leipzig had spent portions of its own existence funded by manufacturing companies in the east. While the town of Markranstädt is known principally for brewing tasty beer, it also has been a home to automotive and machine factories. Company sponsorship of the club during the Cold War years was reflected in its name, from being known at various times as BSG Motor or BSG Turbine. Likely those sponsorships reflected the need for a local side to be able to survive financially during the difficulties of post-war German division and a company’s desire to keep said club in operation for the sake of domestic tranquility. A prime contrast between its previous company associations and the current RB Leipzig formula, then, lies in ambition.

Surely the East German motor works company or those machine builders did not lend their financial support in hopes of turning a fifth or sixth division club into a future 1.Bundesliga powerhouse. Nor did they have a philosophy of incorporating a Markranstädt side into part of their global marketing strategy. That has, it seems, been what has become of the club. It appears to turn the origins of company sponsorship, like that of VfL Wolfsburg, on its head; rather than being an recreational outlet for locals tired from the rigors of a business day, it has instead made the club part of the business itself, detaching the team from its Markranstädt roots and plopping it down the road and labeling it with enough red bulls to potentially break all the china in the Bundesliga’s shop.

Why say that? Red Bull’s purchase of the club and stated aim to fund it through to the top flight presented another potential ally to Martin Kind’s attempts at seeing out alterations to Bundesliga’s 50 + 1 rule. The Hannover 96 president recently presented a new proposal to be decided by the Court of Arbitration for Sport that would expand the previous statute allowing commercially-owned clubs Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg to retain their majority owners to other clubs that have also received uninterrupted support from a similar group for a lengthy period of time. Uli Hesse provided a fantastic summation of the current proposal here in Part I and Part II. Should this be approved, it would set up quite nicely for RB Leipzig, as Red Bull would then be able to continue funding the club up the league tables with a move to full ownership once that period of time has been reached without having to legally challenge for the right to do so.

So, while this DFB Pokal Cup clash between Wolfsburg and RB Leipzig is a first for two clubs that owe their current existence to commercial endeavors, it might not be the last. The future of Bundesliga might see a bit more of this, as traveling supporters hop in their Passats and sip Red Bull on the way to a match at Red Bull Arena. Perhaps we might see RB Leipzig lift the Mead Cup someday, guzzling from it the latest sugar-free concoction designed to give you wings. And while this meeting represents a bit of a new relationship betwixt company and club versus the old, one thing remains a constant. Should Red Bull achieve its goal of having RB Leipzig promoted to 1.Bundesliga some day, it will still likely have to steal that Hubcap away from Bayern Munich much like Wolfsburg did a couple years ago.