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Wuppertal boss Jerat

‘Promotion is our priority this season’

The German Cup Round of 16 encounter with Bayern rates as the match of the decade for Wuppertaler SV. To cope with the massive demand for tickets, the third division north leaders have switched Tuesday’s game to the Arena AufSchalke, where a crowd in excess of 61,000 will watch coach Wolfgang Jerat’s men attempt to upset the overwhelming favourites from Munich. “But promotion is and remains our absolute priority,” Jerat told

Interview: Wolfgang Jerat Wolfgang Jerat, does the twentieth of March 1993 man anything to you?
Wolfgang Jerat: “Oh yes, I was 1. FC Köln coach when we lost 3-0 to Bayern. We were well beaten, frankly. We basically didn’t stand a chance. The only good thing was that I came away with a nice snapshot of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, my son Tim [now a member of the Wuppertal squad – Ed.] and myself. I still have the photo.“ What’s your plan for beating Bayern this time?
Jerat: “Obviously it’ll be unbelievably difficult. Our main aim is to play our part in entertaining the 61,500 crowd, although we don’t want to end up as Bayern’s plaything.“ You have a reputation for favouring attacking football. Will attack be the best form of defence against Bayern?
Jerat: “You know the saying: if we have the ball, they can’t score, and that applies here. If we have a chance to get forward, we’ll do so. We have a good forward line, as our results in the third division prove.“ The Cup tie has been moved to Schalke. Is that good or bad from a sporting point of view?
Jerat: “It’s a slight advantage for Bayern, because they’re familiar with the stadium. But regardless of where the game’s played, we won’t make the next round unless we rise above ourselves. From a logistical and financial point of view, it would have been madness to play in Wuppertal. The capacity is only 16,500 at the moment due to reconstruction.“ Are you surprised that the game’s a sell-out?
Jerat: “Not in the slightest. Our supporters are really up for the match, we sold all our tickets exclusively in Wuppertal, they didn’t even go on sale nationally. But Bayern have fans all over Germany. I reckon they probably stocked up on tickets pretty quickly. And Schalke fans love watching football in their Arena, so we could have sold at least 100,000 tickets.“ You’ve been busy in the winter transfer market. Has that been financed by the revenue you expect from the Bayern match?
Jerat: “You’d be better off putting the question to our President Friedhelm Runge, but I don’t believe so. The idea behind our transfer activity was to cover for the eventuality of promotion to the second division, so we won’t have to do too much next summer. That was already the plan before we drew Bayern.“ The third division action doesn’t resume until mid-February, but the Cup tie is in late January. Has that affected your mid-season programme?
Jerat: “Yes, it’s made it very complicated. Bayern is a genuine highlight, but we risk being distracted. On the one hand, I hope we’re totally motivated against Bayern, but also lay the foundations for a winning start in the league on 16 February in Düsseldorf. The coaching staff and the physiotherapists are working hard on that. Promotion is and remains our absolute priority this season.“ Every since the draw, the whole of Wuppertal has been talking about Bayern. Would a defeat negatively affect your return to the bread and butter of the league?
Jerat: “No, no-one in Wuppertal would hold it against us if we lose to Bayern. It’s important we put up some resistance and don’t let them blow us away. Everyone knows that winning against such an outstanding team would be a real sensation.“ If you could take one Bayern star on loan for the rest of the season, who would it be?
Jerat: “We’re completely satisfied with our keeper Christian Maly, but it would be really nice if Olli Kahn chose to see out his impressive career with WSV."