The magic of the cup always brings up multiple surprises and with the Bundesliga yet to begin, it’s a great opportunity for lower tier sides to take advantage.
Every season there are one or two clubs who get caught out in the first round and here are four Bundesliga clubs that face a difficult challenge and could see themselves knocked out at the first hurdle of the DFB Pokal.
We start with Bayer Leverkusen, who face 3. Liga side Karlsruher at the Wildparkstadion on Friday night. Karlsruher came off a disastrous campaign last season, which saw them relegated from 2. Bundesliga, and it hasn’t been much easier for them in the third tier.
After four league games, they find themselves struggling in mid-table with only one win so far.
Bayer Leverkusen have had a well-documented change in manager and three key players flying the coup during the summer, leaving plenty of uncertainty as they enter this season.
Der Werkself haven’t won in pre-season yet with defeats to second tier Sandhausen and Serie A side Lazio.
The club seemingly haven’t fixed their defensive issues over the summer and could be vulnerable to the likes of Anton Fink, who has been in goal-scoring form so far in the third tier. Leverkusen fans will be making a very nervy trip to Karlsruher on Friday night
Change has always been a common occurrence at Hamburg and they’ve had a difficult time finding stability within all faculties. They make the trip to Osnabrück, who current preside in Germany’s third tier.
Osnabrück have been a solid side in the 3. Liga, but have struggled mightily so far as they are currently second to bottom and have the worst defensive record in the league.
Hamburg themselves haven’t had a glittering pre-season, with only one victory, a 4-0 domination of Oberliga side Buchholz. However, they shipped five against 2. Bundesliga side Holstein Kiel and have really struggled to gain momentum as the prepare for the up-coming campaign.
Hamburg had the league’s third-worst defence in the Bundesliga and Osnabrück could easily take advantage of their fragilities at the back.
Augsburg barely avoided relegation last season and have been quite busy in the transfer window to avoid a repeat of last season. Their first round opponents are Magdeburg, who pose an interesting threat to the Bavarians.
Magdeburg ply their trade in the third division and are currently sixth in the standings thanks to goal difference.
Last season was less than ideal for Augsburg, but so far in pre-season the club have gained some momentum, including an excellent 4-0 victory over Southampton.
New signing Michael Gregoritsch has looked really dangerous in front of goal and will be called upon to provide a threat up front. Augsburg will face a tough task against Magdeburg, who have an excellent home record and haven’t lost once at the MDCC-Arena this calendar year.
Our final Bundesliga club is Werder Bremen, who have had some tight tussles in the DFB-Pokal over the past few renditions. Their opponents are Würzburger Kickers who they, in fact, matched-up with in the first round of last season, with Bremen needing extra time to defeat the hosts that day.
Würzburger Kickers have struggled mightily in 2017, winning only seven points before their relegation. New manager Stephan Schmidt has failed to bring back a winning mentality to the club who are yet to bring three points back to the Flyeralarm Arena.
Bremen have had an interesting off-season, with the rumours of Max Kruse’s departure spearheading much discussion at the Weserstadion. Their pre-season results have been a mixed bag; defeats to Valencia and St Pauli were supplemented by a win and a draw in two games against West Ham.
Würzburger Kickers will provide a really tough test for Bremen who have a habit of being knocked out in the first round. Since they made the final in 2009/10, Werder have been knocked in the first round four times.
Which one of the four teams will be eliminated in the first round? Let us know in the comments section below.
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