On the heels of a big day in the Bundesliga, the draw for the semi-finals of the 2011-2012 DFB Pokal took place. The two matches will play out like this:
- Borussia Monchengladbach vs. FC Bayern Munich
- SPVGG Fuerth vs. Borussia Dortmund
It would have been nice to avoid either of the other two 1. Bundesliga sides, but ... what can you do. Monchengladbach has beaten us twice out of two matches this year, so we get a chance to get a little revenge. These matches will take place on March 20 and 21st. For Bayern, this falls between games on the road vs. Hertha Berlin and at home vs. Hannover 96. For 'Gladbach, meanwhile, the Pokal semi comes after a road trip to Lerverkusen and before a home game vs. Hoffenheim. It's always difficult to determine whether either club's surrounding schedule will play any role. But if either club might be more likely tired / injured / unfocused after the prior match, you've got to say it's Monchengladbach.
So, basically, our calendar is full for the foreseeable future. Starting on February 18th, we'll have 9 matches in just over 4 weeks of real time, with two Champions League legs, a Pokal semi-final, and a few tough/tricky Bundesliga matches all taking place in that span. If today's results were a good guide, and we're finding our form at the right time, we could come out of this stretch in excellent shape and with the mid-season struggles in our rear-view mirror. But if our offense bogs down like it did in January, or if we're beset by poor decision-making on the defensive end, this could end up looking disturbingly like last season.
(OK, that's an exaggeration. Last season was pretty awful).
We all wish Bastian were here for this vital stretch; if we can get through it without him, though, we should be in great shape for a spring-time charge at 3 trophies.
More on this tomorrow or Monday, just wanted to get the news up. Thanks for reading.