Alright, strap up everyone, English weeks are back! Bayern Munich travel to (checks smudged writing on hand) Poderbear in what will undoubtedly determine who wins the German Cup this year.
All joking aside, this is a serious match with some serious implications. Paderborn will not be pushovers. While they have not faced any Bundesliga opposition in the Pokal thus far, the (googles Paderborn’s nickname - wait, they don’t have a nickname?) home team in this fixture will be expected to dig in and make life difficult for the Bavarians. And they might have an unexpected advantage ...
Paderborn’s pitch is in really, REALLY bad shape
According to Bild, it looks like Bayern won’t be getting a green carpet reception on Tuesday. The winter weather has done a number on Paderborn’s turf, and the fixture congestion in the 3.Liga hasn’t helped matters. For a team like Bayern that likes to play with the ball on the ground, such a pitch could complicate things. It will be difficult for the Bavarians to move the ball crisply under such conditions, especially with pass-master Thiago Alcantara still out injured.
Meanwhile, a more pressing concern for Jupp Heynckes will be the health of his players. With Champions League knockouts coming up, Bayern Munich cannot afford silly injuries playing on a bad pitch against a third division side. It will be a fine balancing act — Jupp Heynckes will need enough quality to get the job done, but also save the best for later.
Jupp: “We’re taking our opponent seriously.”
The Bayern Munich manager did not mince words in his pregame press conference, refusing to underestimate his opponents.
I’m impressed by how Paderborn plays football. They play with a clear structure, transition quickly, are good runners, aggressive, and have good players in their ranks. It will be a real fight for the cup.
As for the lineup, Jupp confirmed that Jerome Boateng will be out with a stomach bug (seriously, what is up with Bayern and stomach bugs?) and Javi Martinez has problems with his ankle. Arturo Vidal should be good to go, since he trained with the team on Sunday. Apart from that, the lineup is anyone’s guess.