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Munich, Berlin hope for better cup show

Published on 02/12/2003

2 December 2003

HAMBURG – Holders Bayern Munich and Hertha Berlin have plenty to make up for in their third-round German Cup matches on Wednesday.

Bayern, coming off a terrible 2-2 draw in the Bundesliga against bottom club Cologne, host SV Hamburg, who are on the up after a slow start to the season.

Hertha travel to in-form Werder Bremen and face a tough task there if they don’t improve on the form that has seen them slip into the Bundesliga drop zone after a 3-1 home defeat against Schalke.

Hertha coach Huub Stevens saved his skin last month with a second- round cup win in Rostock, but now the omens don’t look good for the Dutchman who turned 50 on Saturday.

“A swift separation can’t be ruled out,” observed Kicker sports magazine on Monday, that although Stevens vowed he would not throw in the towel.

Bremen have little to fear from Hertha and a victory could further bolster their morale for next weekend’s Bundesliga showdown with Munich.

“We will not rest any player. We are only thinking of the cup match,” said Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf.

Munich also badly need a good result against Hamburg to win back their confidence. Munich have had an indifferent season so far as the star-studded team is yet to find the right balance between attack and defence.

“We are making things difficult for ourselves,” said club president Franz Beckenbauer.

Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said he will make “two or three changes” from the Cologne game as Jens Jeremies, Bixente Lizarazu and Willy Sagnol are doubtful.

Hamburg have nothing to lose in the Olympic stadium where they managed a 1-1 league draw last season. The team is steadily improving under new coach Klaus Toppmoeller and is undefeated in three Bundesliga matches.

League leaders VfB Stuttgart visit Borussia Moenchengladbach on Tuesday, aiming to keep up their unbeaten run in domestic competition.

But goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand warned that “we are quite exhausted after five games in two weeks”, a reference to Stuttgart’s engagement in the German events plus the European Champions League, where they have qualified for the round of 16.

Stuttgart have no reason to underestimate Moenchengladbach as they ousted Borussia Dortmund in the previous round.

The other games are lower-league TSG Hoffenheim vs. Bayer Leverkusen, Jahn Regensburg vs. MSV Duisburg, Eintracht Braunschweig vs. Alemania Aachen (Tuesday), Cologne vs. Greuther Fuerth and VfB Luebeck vs. SC Freiburg (Wednesday).

Subject: German news