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Last 16 the target in the cauldron of Dresden

A historic opportunity awaits the Boys in Brown when they run out at fellow second division side Dynamo Dresden in the second round of the DFB Cup on Wednesday evening (18:30 CET). Victory would see the Schultz XI progress to the Round of 16 for the first time in 16 years.

"It's nice to wake up having won 4-0 at home and then go to the training ground and feel the positive mood and energy," said midfielder Marcel Hartel one day after the convincing defeat of Hansa Rostock. Hartel and Co. had another excellent day and were well worth their win in the end. The table-topping Boys in Brown now go to Dresden full of confidence after five victories in succession.

An "exciting proposition" was how Hartel described the cup clash. There was only limited excitement in the league meeting between the two sides at the Millerntor just three weeks ago, but a strong performance was enough to see off the Saxony outfit by three goals to nil. What happened in the league is of no import for the DFB Cup, however. It's a different competition under different conditions, and the Boys in Brown will be without home advantage. Timo Schultz likened the atmosphere at the Rudolf Harbig Stadium to a cauldron of noise, something his team will have to deal with on Wednesday evening as they focus solely on replicating their successful performances of late.

In form terms, the two teams have gone in opposite directions since the league encounter in early October. That 3-0 defeat of the Saxony outfit was followed by victories over Heidenheim (4-2) and Rostock (4-0), while Dynamo slipped to defeats against Nürnberg (1-0) and Schalke (3-0). And while the Boys in Brown will definitely go into the tie the more confident of the two sides, they are fully aware how difficult the task will be. "Although we beat Dresden just three weeks ago, it'll be tough and we begin at 0-0 again," Hartel continued. "We have to be fully focused throughout and go flat out. We want to extend our run on Wednesday and have the chance to reach the last 16 for the first time in more than 15 years."

The two sides won through to the second round in early August, though neither had it easy. Dynamo, whose only appearance in the round of 16 in the last 15 years came in the 2014/15 season, saw off a decent Paderborn team 2-1 at home, while the Schultz XI won 3-2 at Magdeburg, who now have a five-point lead at the top of the third‑division table. That victory earned them the opportunity to progress to the last 16 for the first time since the legendary 2005/06 season, when they went all the way to the semi-final.

That feat was achieved on 25 October 2005, almost 16 years ago to the day, when a 4-0 home win over VfL Bochum gave the third-tier Boys in Brown victory. Timo Schultz was a member of a team that delivered an outstanding battling performance to see off the challenge of the previously unbeaten second-division leaders. The same will be needed at Dresden, as Hartel was keen to point out: "We aim to defend collectively as a team and get forward. We have a lot of creativity. We never let up and have no intention of letting up. On the contrary, we want to step up another gear. It's going very well at the moment and we want to keep it up, of course."

Photos: Witters

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