Welcome to the German cup, I mean DFB Pokal quarterfinal preview. One lower league team and seven Bundesliga clubs remain. Lets dive into our four matches, each available stateside from ESPN3 or ESPN Deportes.
Bayern Munich, the 18 time winners of the Pokal had the luck to draw the sole remaining team from the lower divisions in third tier Paderborn. As per competition rules if a third tier or below team faces a team from the top two divisions then they are automatically the hosts.
Last time most heard of Paderborn they were in the Bundesliga for their first and only time in the 2014-15 season. Since they finished in the relegation places in both the last two seasons, saved from a third consecutive relegation by 1860 Munich’s inability to pay for their license. Since their unforeseen save Paderborn leads the third division by four points after 23 matches.
Prediction: Bayern has made at least the semifinals of every Pokal since the 2008-09 edition. While Paderborn’s trip is a nice story as the club rebuilds after being saved unexpectedly by Bayern’s city rivals only the German champions will come away winners here. 4-1 Bayern.
Bayer Leverkusen has been enjoying a less clustered fixture list. Facing Werder Bremen in the quarterfinals for the second time in three campaigns Leverkusen will be attempting to avoid falling at home such as they did at this phase to Bremen.
Each team had some squad rotation as Bayer had a dull 0-0 draw and Bremen pulled a rabbit with their 2-1 win at Schalke. In December this was a 1-0 win at the Bay Arena for Leverkusen but as has been seen before Werder Bremen is one for shock results in the Pokal.
Prediction: This is going to be close, penalties close and Leverkusen is going to pull through.
Eintracht Frankfurt v Mainz 05 is one of the tastier of the quarterfinals. Being local rivals this is usually a feisty affair. With fans to be turning up to the ground by river barge there will be more at stake in this quarterfinal.
Tactically Frankfurt puts a press than many team find difficult to deal with. Mainz has been poor on the road, their only victory in 17-18 was in the first round of the Pokal against a fourth division team. Frankfurt has been better on the road with more points earned in the Bundesliga there.
Prediction: Eintracht might look weak but will keep their Pokal magic moving. 2-1 Frankfurt.
Schalke has been a bit of a renaissance as this underachieving club is finding themselves in the Champions League places. Facing Wolfsburg this is one that will not get the headlines but it is better for each team.
Wolfsburg under Martin Schmidt is unpredictable. One match they draw with Bayern in Munich then they lose catastrophically. Schalke saved some legs for this one and with the Veltins Arena crowd.
Prediction: Schalke will stroll through this as Wolfsburg has hit a rough patch. 2-0 to the Royal Blues.