Created on 02-04-2019 at 15:14 PM
The record cup winners against the team from the second tier – it’s clear who the favourites are in Wednesday evening’s DFB Cup quarter-final between FC Bayern and 1. FC Heidenheim (live ticker from 18:30 CEST). That does not mean Niko Kovac and his team will be underestimating their opponents, though. “You can’t do that in this competition,” stated Kovac. “We want to take the game seriously and try to settle it as early as possible.”
The 47-year-old is aware of Heidenheim’s strengths. “The physical battle element is much more marked in the second division, and we can expect that on Wednesday.” He doesn’t want to reduce the visitors to merely these battling qualities, however. “They have the quality to play football if you let them. For us, as ever, that means grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck,” added Kovac, who came up against the Baden-Württemberg club with Eintracht Frankfurt last season. On that occasion, his team won 2-1 in extra-time to book their place in the quarters.
Kovac hoping for repeat of last season
Bayern will be looking to repeat that feat on Wednesday as they bid for a 10th successive appearance in the last four of the competition. To that end, they will not be resting any big guns, despite the top-of-the-table Bundesliga match against Borussia Dortmund three days later (Saturday 18:30). “I’ll play a team that we think will progress to the semi-finals,” revealed Kovac, who’s also hoping a victory will generate “the positive atmosphere we need for the Dortmund game”.
The Bayern boss will again be without injured duo Arjen Robben and Alphonso Davies. Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer missed the final training session on Tuesday with a calf problem and will face a late assessment, with Sven Ulreich in line to replace him as he did at the weekend. “We have to approach it with high concentration, produce a tidy performance and not make too many mistakes, because even a second-division team will take advantage of them,” commented Ulreich.
Ex-Red Dorsch fired up
The underdogs from Heidenheim have already eliminated one Bundesliga team from this year’s competition, beating Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 in the last round. Niklas Dorsch played his part in that triumph and is looking forward to the next challenge – for multiple reasons: “I know a lot of the lads there and also the staff and everyone around, so it will certainly be something special for me,” said the 21-year-old, who donned the Bayern jersey from 2012 to 2018.
A win would earn FCH a place in the semi-finals for the first time in the club’s history. “We’re certainly not treating the game like a day out,” assured captain Marc Schnatterer, adding: “We want to give a good account of ourselves.” Dorsch issued one last rallying cry: “We want to give everything we have and get the best out of that, like we did against Leverkusen.”