2 February 2004
HAMBURG – Bundesliga frontrunners Werder Bremen and title holders Bayern Munich enter their mid-week German cup quarter-finals at second division clubs in a different frame of mind.
Bremen are flying high ahead of Tuesday’s match at Greuther Fuerth, having restarted their Bundesliga campaign after the winter break with a 4-0 demolition of Hertha Berlin.
Munich, by contrast, were held 1-1 at lowly Eintracht Frankfurt and will need to improve considerably if they want to reach the semi- finals with a victory at Alemania Aachen Wednesday.
“If we play like this in Aachen we will be eliminated,” said playmaker Michael Ballack after the mediocre showing of the star- studded Bavarian outfit.
The draw left Munich trailing Bremen by six points in the league, but they still have the chance to get a historic back-to-back German double.
Bayern will likely be without Ze Roberto due to a virus, and Martin Demichelis is definitely out with a foot injury.
Aachen, for their part, are enjoying a spectacular season as they are tied for first place in the second division with Nuremberg. But their first home defeat of the season, 1-0 against Burghausen, could not have come at a worse time.
“We were not thinking of the Munich match,” insisted coach Rudi Bommer. “The Munich game is the highlight of the season, but the championship is our priority.”
Fuerth also lost ahead of their game with high-flying Bremen, 3-1 at Unterhaching, and club boss Helmut Hack has no illusions about the outcome.
“Bremen are in a different league, but we will not be hammered,” said Hack.
Bremen are after their fifth cup success, and if all goes well league top scorer Ailton and his team-mates could also achieve their first domestic double.
“I want to win every title possible. But it will be a fight in Fuerth, not as easy as the game against Hertha,” said Bremen’s Turkish defender Umit Davala.
In the other two quarter-finals Tuesday, Borussia Moencgengladbach host second division Duisburg after they eliminated Borussia Dortmund and VfB Stuttgart in earlier rounds.
Third division Hoffenheim, who dumped out Bayer Leverkusen, meet second division Luebeck.
The winners advance to the semi-finals set for March 16 and 17. The final is May 29 in Berlin’s Olympic stadium.
Subject: German news