The DFB Pokal quarterfinal fixtures are out! The draw took place on Sunday, at 7pm CEST, and the stage is set for what seems to be an enthralling quarterfinals.
Bayern Munich are set to face Schalke, an in-form team with a quality attack and great speed on the counter. The last time die Roten faced Schalke was a 5-0 walkover for Bayern at the Allianz, with Flick’s pressing and positioning system putting them to the sword. This time however, things could be different, since this is a cup knockout. The stakes are always higher in cup knockouts, so expect a fiery, determined Schalke to come out guns blazing, and throw everything and the kitchen sink at Bayern.
Bayern however, should be up to the task. With Thiago’s resurgence, Thomas Müller’s incredible game stats, the world-class Alaba-Davies pairing that protects the left flank, and Robert Lewandowski’s red hot scoring rate, the Reds should be clear favorites. A lot of the outcome could revolve around which side wins the midfield battle, as both clubs possess highly capable and composed midfielders. Flick will be expected to field his best possible midfield combination heading into the game — even if that means 3 midfielders.
The Schalke player to look out for is undoubtedly Amine Harit: the lethal Moroccan attacking midfielder already has 7 goals and 7 assists in the Bundesliga and DFB Pokal combined this season. With great pace, a good eye for goal and precisely weighted passes in the final third, shutting him down could be crucial to how the game progresses.
With all that being said, here’s a quick look at the rest of the fixtures:
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Werder Bremen
Another great tie sees the two teams that staged the “two great upsets” of the DFB Pokal round of 16 pitted against each other. Eintracht, having dispatched an in-form RB Leipzig side with a 3-1 victory courtesy of a stellar Filip Kostic performance, face Werder Bremen, the snoring devil that awoke at just the right time, beating a Dortmund side featuring Jadon Sancho, Erling Haaland, and Julian Brandt among others, 3-2. Expect to witness a counter-attacking treat, with both teams possibly playing a more open game due to their defensive approach.
Bayer Leverkusen vs Union Berlin
Another great tie: this one sees the resurgent Leverkusen face off against Union Berlin, a team that is faring surprisingly well in the Bundesliga after winning promotion from the 2.Bundesliga in the summer. Having just beaten Dortmund in the Bundesliga, Bayer Leverkusen look like a very, very dangerous side: especially with all its attacking facets. Union Berlin, meanwhile, are at the back of another Bundesliga victory, this time a 2-0 dominant display against Werder Bremen. Leverkusen are unsurprisingly favourites, but expect a highly open, well-contested affair.
Saarbrücken vs Fortuna Düsseldorf
Fortuna are the strong old goats of the Pokal: the side everyone thought wouldn’t last this long, but sent off all their opponents with relative ease. After a 5-2 hammering of Nürnberg in the Pokal, they look reinvigorated and have newfound confidence that can really help them in the latter stages. Even better, they face the only side in the quarterfinals that isn’t in the Bundesliga. Unfortunately for Saarbrücken, it finally seems like their good ride has come to its final stages, although, since it’s a knockout tie, anything is possible. Expect Fortuna to progress, barring a miraculous result.