Cup round of surprises
Bayern-Schreck is hoping for a huge windfall
December 5, 2023, 8:12 a.m
Six first division teams, eight second division teams, plus Homburg and Saarbrücken: the cup round of 16 is also a meeting of outsiders. For small clubs, just one more win would have enormous financial effects. Only the host of the final is no longer dreaming.
The record cup winner out, the defending champion gone: without FC Bayern and RB Leipzig, the DFB Cup could become the cup of surprise teams this year. In addition to the new top favorites Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen, the Bundesliga middle class with Eintracht Frankfurt, Borussia Mönchengladbach and VfL Wolfsburg now also senses their chance at the big coup. The dream of the final in Berlin is also alive at eight second division locations before the round of 16 on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The last time there was a cup final without Munich or Leipzig was six and a half years ago. Especially BVB, who play against VfB Stuttgart on Wednesday (8.45 p.m./ZDF and Sky and in the live ticker at ntv.de) and Leverkusen know about their opportunity. “Of course we look at what the others are doing, and if Bayern are kicked out, we have nothing against it,” said Leverkusen’s sports director Simon Rolfes. “But in the end you have to win your own games.” The Bundesliga leaders are the clear favorites against SC Paderborn (Wednesday 6 p.m./Sky and in the live ticker at ntv.de).
Only six Bundesliga teams left
It’s not just the absence of Bayern and Leipzig that makes the competition unusually attractive and full of opportunities for the remaining clubs. Of the 16 round of 16 teams, only six come from the Bundesliga. Because there are two first division duels, a maximum of four of them will reach the next round. In addition, at least three second division teams will be in the quarter-finals. Beatable opponents will definitely be in the next draw pot.
For many clubs, just making it to the quarter-finals would be enormously important from a financial perspective, in addition to footballing success. There is a good 1.7 million euros as a bonus for reaching the round of the last eight teams. There is also audience revenue. The effects would be particularly great for Bayern’s defeaters 1. FC Saarbrücken and regional league representatives FC 08 Homburg. “If we win against Frankfurt, that would be a third of our planned budget for this season,” said the press spokesman for third division team Saarbrücken, Peter Müller.
The additional money would also create new opportunities for some second division teams in the coming winter transfer period. “I hope that we can progress and that the financial scope expands a little,” said Fortuna Düsseldorf’s sporting director Christian Weber before the game at 1. FC Magdeburg (6 p.m./Sky and in the ntv.de live ticker). “It’s not always planned before the season that you’ll get to the fourth round. Accordingly, that would be a bit of additional income.”
Dardai no longer dreams of the final
Tuesday, December 5, 2023
1. FC Kaiserslautern – 1. FC Nuremberg
1. FC Magdeburg – Fortuna Düsseldorf (both 6 p.m.)
Borussia Monchengladbach – VfL Wolfsburg
FC Homburg – FC St. Pauli (both 20.45)
Wednesday, December 6, 2023
1. FC Saarbrucken – Eintracht Frankfurt
Bayer Leverkusen – SC Paderborn (both 6 p.m.)
Hertha BSC – Hamburger SV
VfB Stuttgart – Borussia Dortmund (both 20.45)
It’s not just Fortuna, which won the cup in 1979 and 1980, that fans dream of achieving something this year that only one club has ever achieved. Hannover 96 was the only second division team to win the DFB Cup in 1992. “This year the chance for a second division club is higher than usual. Maybe someone can actually repeat what we did back then,” said Roman Wojcicki, who was there as a player at the time.
The longing is particularly great in Berlin. The Hertha fans there have long dreamed of their professional team making it to the final in their home Olympic Stadium. Coach Pal Dardai knows this. His view of his team’s chances is before the round of 16 against Hamburger SV (Wednesday, 8.45 p.m./Sky and in the ntv.de live ticker) but emphasized soberly: “I’ve been here for almost 30 years, I’ve stopped dreaming,” he said. “We just work as hard as we can and don’t want to promise anything.”