The draw for the 2019-20 DFB Pokal Round of 16 has served up some enticing matchups and will see eight of the eleven Bundesliga sides face off against each other.
For starters, two teams who just enjoyed a highly successful weekend will go head to head, as Eintracht Frankfurt host RB Leipzig. The two teams enjoyed a whopping thirteen goals in their most recent Bundesliga matches. Although Leipzig is on a roll, Frankfurt away is never a place to take lightly (as FC Bayern found out rather unpleasantly yesterday), so this will be a mouthwatering tie.
FC Bayern will host TSG Hoffenheim at the Allianz Arena. Considering it was Hoffenheim who gifted Niko Kovac and his crew their first defeat of the season (minus the Super Cup defeat to Dortmund), the men in red will be out for revenge. Should Kovac keep his job until then, it will be interesting to see how he reshuffles the team in anticipation of Hoffenheim’s return. This is also an odd reflection of last season: Bayern lost for the first time last season to Hertha BSC and ended up drawing them in the same stage of the Pokal, not to mention the same venue. Bayern avenged their defeat by knocking Hertha out in extra time, so hopefully, history can repeat itself.
Speaking of Hertha, who barely scraped past Dynamo Dresden on penalties in a very entertaining 3-3 draw, they will travel to Gelsenkirchen to face Schalke 04. The last time the two faced off in the Veltins Arena was at the end of August when the Royal Blues dispatched Hertha 3-0 courtesy of two own goals(!) from the visitors. Who knows what this game will bring?
The final all-Bundesliga tie features a rematch of last season’s round of 16, as Werder Bremen take on Borussia Dortmund at the Weserstadion. As most of us remember, Bremen ended up knocking out Dortmund on penalties after a 3-3 draw, with Bayern legend Claudio Pizarro playing a major role. The match was played at the Westfalenstadion then, so it will be interesting to see whether Dortmund will get their revenge without their Yellow Wall behind them.
Elsewhere, Bayer 04 Leverkusen host VfB Stuttgart, who are sitting third in the 2. Bundesliga and are aiming to get back into the top flight. Union Berlin, who beat SC Freiburg in the previous round (and also in the Bundesliga a week before), will travel to SC Verl, one of the two remaining Regionalliga sides in the tournament. The other amateur side, FC Saarbrucken, will host SC Karlsruhe in the round’s only all-lower-tier matchup. Both Regionalliga sides had to get past an upper-tier competition to reach the round of 16. Verl defeated Holstein Kiel on penalties while Saarbrucken defeated FC Köln, which was one of the biggest upsets of the tournament so far. Finally, FC Kaiserslautern, the 3. Liga’s sole remaining representative will face Fortuna Dusseldorf in the coveted Fritz Walter Stadion.
Here’s hoping for another great round of matches, and also a less stressful win for FC Bayern!