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Cup date in Cologne

Holders set out on the long road to Berlin

With the pre-season period at an end, the action starts again for real on Monday. Some 93 days after winning the DFB Cup for a record 15th time with a crushing 4-0 triumph against Werder Bremen, FCB return to the competition in a first round meeting with fifth-tier Germania Windeck. Naturally, the Bavarians are keen to retain the trophy.

“Winning the cup is always important, We win it last year, and I don’t think the players have forgotten the party afterwards,” reflected Louis van Gaal, setting out the club’s target in this season’s tournament in no uncertain terms. First of all, Goliath will have to slay David, but beating Windeck cannot be achieved simply by turning up, Van Gaal warned.

“We respect our opponents, and I’ve had them analysed twice,” the Dutch bss revealed ahead of the match at the RheinEnergieArena in Cologne. Germania, who qualified for the first round proper as winners of the Middle Rhine association cup last season, have been in good pre-season form, holding Bundesliga side FC Köln to a goalless draw and sealing a 1-1 draw against second division Rot-Weiß Oberhausen. Bayern will be well advised not to underestimate the minnows.