As Bayern Munich prepare for their quarterfinal clash with 1.FC Heidenheim of the 2.Bundesliga, the Bavarian giants hope to quell fears of complacency with a titanic Der Klassiker match up with Borussia Dortmund looming at the weekend. Defender Mats Hummels is chief among those warning against such an oversight due to his own knowledge of the lower-league opposition.
In an interview with Bild, the former German international explained the reason for his in-depth knowledge of the South German club.
I actually watch them relatively often. Especially because a good friend of mine is a big Heidenheim fan. We keep in touch often.
This friendship might just pay dividends for Niko Kovac’s defense, as Hummels expressed an intimate knowledge of their attacking qualities.
They’re a team that plays well – especially up front: Schnatterer, legendary. Dovedan is also a very good player. Then they have a certain heading power in Glatzel. They’re a really good bunch!
Hummels isn’t wrong with his diagnosis either. Marc Schnaterrer is truly a club legend. At 33-years-old, the winger has played a pivotal role in Heidenheim’s improbable rise from the Regionalliga Süd to the 3.Liga in 2009 and the 2.Bundesliga in 2014. With 9 goals and 8 assists in 21 appearances in the second division this season, the German right midfielder has served as the engine of the Heidenheim attack.
The strike partnership of Nikola Dovedan and Robert Glatzel aren’t too shabby themselves, contributing six goals and four assists and 12 goals and one assist respectively in league play. Kovac should also be wary of Denis Thomalla on the left wing who has bagged a balanced six goals and four assists.
In addition to a potent attack, Bayern can look forward to a reunion with former youth starlet, Niklas Dorsch. The 20-year-old talent has pulled the strings in the midfield for the South German challengers in his first campaign as a senior player.
This attacking quartet, coupled with a more than capable midfield and relatively solid defense has helped drive the overachieving club to sixth in the 2.Bundesliga table—within striking distance of the promotion playoff—just behind former-Bundesliga competitors FC St. Pauli and Paderborn.
Hummels will no doubt convey this scouting report to the rest of the squad, who should take notice of Heidenheim’s impressive 2-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen to advance to the quarterfinals. The record-champions may be out of contention in the Champions League, but the German defender knows there is still much to play for.
If we were to think only about Saturday, then something would definitely get burned. But this is for the Pokal. We’re in the quarterfinals and we naturally want to advance to the semifinals. Because that is one of the two major goals that we still have this season.
Mats as his eyes on the prize. Let’s hope everyone else does!