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‘A treat for football fans’

Leverkusen: Final hurdle on way to Berlin – “Treat for football fans”

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FC Bayern face another big match just three days after the impressive 5-1 win against Borussia Mönchengladbachgeht. Tuesday night brings the DFB Cup semi-final against Bayer 04 Leverkusen (live ticker in English from 20.45 CEST) and the prize is nothing less than the final in Berlin on 19 May. This away trip does not worry Jupp Heynckes.

“Thanks to my experience, I can be more relaxed and less excited,” said the 72-year-old at the pre-match press conference on Monday. Another factor that has positive effects on the mood of the FCB coach is the current form of his team. “Recent results make me feel optimistic that we’re on the verge of achieving great things. We’ve been playing at a really high level,” praised the coach, “we are well prepared. All the players are highly motivated and fully fit.”

Vidal and Tolisso sidelined

At least all the Bayern players who Heynckes is taking with him to Leverkusen. In addition to Manuel Neuer and Kingsley Coman, Arturo Vidal and Corentin Tolisso are also unavailable. “Coco has heavy bruising. He was hit in the same place again in the game against Gladbach,” explained the head coach who is expecting a special encounter. After Borussia, Heynckes is again facing one of his old teams.

The former thoroughbred striker coached the Werkself from 2009 to 2011 and he has fond memories of that time. “We weren’t just successful on the pitch but we were able to work in harmony with each other.” He’s still in contact with some of the staff there so “it won’t be just another game”. “But I’ll put that to one side.”

Great respect for Leverkusen

Heynckes has just one target and that’s Berlin. Getting there will not be easy as Leverkusen “are in very good form. They play excellent football and are highly talented. They have a good mix of young and experienced players. It will be a very difficult task.”

Heynckes is sure the Rhinelanders “will compete at the top next season.” Heynckes is relaxed looking forward to the semi-final but full of anticipation. “It’s a game between two teams that play very attractive and creative football. It will be a treat for football fans.” A true cup tie.