Dortmund coach eyes Pokal glory


Wed, Dec 20, 2017 - Page 16

New Borussia Dortmund coach Peter Stoeger has his sights set on glory as his team prepares for a heavyweight round-of-16 DFB Pokal tie with Bayern Munich today.

Cup holders Dortmund have won two games in two since Stoeger took over from Peter Bosz earlier this month, rediscovering their winning ways just in time to face Bayern in Munich this week.

Faced with his biggest test yet as Dortmund coach, Stoeger is allowing himself to dream of silverware, as Dortmund look to retain the DFB Pokal.

“I don’t know how many chances I will get to reach a cup final,” the Austrian said. “Ideally, I would like to win the trophy.”

There is a place in the quarter-final at stake today, but with Bayern and Dortmund facing each other so early on, the winners will surely be the favorites to go on and win the DFB Pokal.

Having overcome title rivals RB Leipzig in the last round, favorites Bayern face yet another unusually tough test when they host Dortmund.

The two teams have met in the cup in each of the past six seasons, each winning three ties, and have contested three finals since 2011-2012.

It is Dortmund who have had the upper hand recently, eliminating Bayern in the semi-final twice in the past three years.

“We have always played well against Bayern in the Pokal over the last few years,” Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos said. “They will be favorites on Wednesday, but everything is possible in one game.”

Bayern won 3-1 in Dortmund in a Bundesliga fixture last month and the two teams have had conflicting fortunes. While Bayern have pulled 11 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga under Jupp Heynckes, Dortmund endured eight games without a win until Stoeger’s arrival.

Yet Bayern insist that they are not going to underestimate their rivals.

“We must assume that we have an extremely difficult game ahead of us on Wednesday,” defender Joshua Kimmich said. “It is an absolute highlight and we absolutely have to win it.”

Both sides are struggling with injury problems, with several key players set to miss out.

Arjen Robben, Thiago and Manuel Neuer are still sidelined for Bayern, while Dortmund will be without Marco Reus, Mario Goetze, Maximilian Philipp and Gonzalo Castro.

While Goetze will miss out on a chance to visit his former club, former Dortmund players Robert Lewandowski and Mats Hummels are expected to start for Bayern.

“Games between Bayern and Dortmund are simply brilliant,” Hummels said. “You always get nervous in the buildup. It is without doubt the biggest game in German football.”