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Cup cracker

Hitzfeld demands cold-blooded efficiency

Bayern have yet to win a Munich derby at the Allianz Arena and have not beaten TSV 1860 Munich in the last four meetings between the sides, “but they were only friendlies,” Philipp Lahm pointed out. The situation is entirely different on Wednesday evening when the Reds host the Blues in a mouth-watering DFB German Cup quarter-final. “It is needling us a little, so it’s time to make amends,” declared Ottmar Hitzfeld.

The match is the 204th Munich derby, and the first competitive meeting between Bayern and the Lions in four years. There is only one option, according to Uli Hoeneß: “A win. We don’t have the excuse that it’s just a friendly, this time it’s serious. And there can definitely be no excuses for losing to a second division side in the Cup. We’d be desperately disappointed with anything less than a place in the semis.“

Ruthless Bayern

In any case, the Bayern camp is not wasting any time contemplating defeat. “We’re favourites to make the semi-finals and take another step towards our target of the final in Berlin,” commented Hitzfeld, “we’re taking the match very, very seriously. This is a huge opportunity to win a trophy, and we don’t intend to pass it up.“

Nevertheless, the Bayern camp is well aware the derby tie will be anything but a walkover. Franck Ribéry is expecting “an aggressive battle,” Philipp Lahm “a match with lots of heat“. The Lions have nothing to lose, mused Hitzfeld, warning his men to expect a physical contest with the side lying seventh in the second division. “Fighting spirit can compensate for a shortage of class,” the coach advised, “we mustn’t let them drag us down, we need to play with cold-blooded efficiency and focus on winning the game.“

Beware of the Lions

Over in the 1860 camp, no-one is making a secret of the Blues’ desire to trip their more illustrious opponents. “My lads are really up for it,” said coach Marco Kurz, “we want to achieve the impossible. We want a place in the semis.“ Fighting spirit will be the order of the day. “We can only do it with desire, enthusiasm and passion,” declared director of sport Stefan Reuter, “we’ll run and fight like lions.“

However, 1860 have only won one of their three matches since the mid-season break, and have scored in only one of those, largely because recognised strikers Berkant Göktan, Markus Schroth and Antonio Di Salvo are all sidelined with injury. The trio are definite non-starters on Wednesday, with right-back Fabian Johnson rated doubtful, although Gregg Berhalter and Markus Thorandt return from suspension.

Ribéry returns

“We won’t notice their current bad patch on Wednesday, they’ll run till they drop,” Hoeneß warned. Hitzfeld believes his side will once again be asked to unpick highly defensive opponents, and has one or two selection issues of his own. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Martin Demichelis and Breno are doubtful, while Ribéry may again be held in reserve until later in the game.

“But we’re all determined to prove we’re the best club in Munich,” remarked Lahm, one of three Bayern players born in the city. “We Munich natives have 1860 fans as friends. If we lose, we won’t be able to look them in the eye until the next derby.“

One for the crowd

In fact, every Bayern man is utterly determined to see off the Blues. “We owe our fans a win,” insisted Ribéry, ahead of what chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge termed “his first real derby“. Bayern intend to send out an unmistakeable signal at the Allianz Arena, the stadium they share with their bitter rivals. “There’s only one really big club in this town,” Hitzfeld declared.