Tricky cup test awaits at Paderborn
Sunday, 13. August 2017, 16:00 Uhr
As in previous seasons, the league campaign pauses after two games for the first round of the DFB Cup. In third division leaders SC Paderborn, Olaf Janssen's side face tough opposition who will be looking to continue their run of form and progress to Round 2 on Monday evening (kick-off: 1830 CET).
One unbeaten run will come to an end at the Benteler Arena, that much is certain. Paderborn have not lost a competitive game since the appointment of new head coach Steffen Baumgart in mid-April, a spell that includes nine league matches plus three wins in the regional cup competition. A 5-0 home drubbing of Sonnenhof Grossaspach took Baumgart's team to the top of League 3 last time out, while a 3-1 defeat of league rivals Preussen Münster during the week saw them through to the second round of the Westphalia Cup.
"They have all my respect for the way they've been playing," warned Janssen. "Their pressing game is just amazing. We'll have to be prepared for some fireworks. It's going to be our toughest test so far this year, so we need to find the right tactics and the right starting eleven to make things as difficult as possible for our opponents and ensure we go through to the next round."
Paderborn are not only the only team in a rich vein of form, however. Since the 1-0 reverse at Erzgebirge Aue in late March, FCSP are unbeaten in ten games. Add all the warm-up matches, such as those against Werder Bremen (2-1) and Stoke City (4-2), that figure climbs as high as 18. The Boys in Brown have been particularly impressive away from home in that time, racking up wins at Nürnberg (2-0), Düsseldorf (3-1), Kaiserslautern (2-1) and Bochum (3-1 last season and 1-0 on the opening day this season).
The aim now is to extend that successful run in the DFB Cup. Apart from Philipp Ziereis (recovering from a muscle tendon injury) and Ryo Miyaichi (in rehab after a cruciate ligament tear), Janssen has a full squad to choose from. But no matter which players the head coach opts for on Monday, they will all be determined to reach the second round.
Both clubs have progressed to that stage of the competition just five times in the last 12 years. Paderborn's best run in the DFB Cup dates back to the 2004-05 season, when they reached the Round of 16 before losing out to SC Freiburg on penalties. FCSP's biggest success came a year later. Wins over Wacker Burghausen (3-2 a.e.t.), VfL Bochum (4.0), Hertha BSC (4-3 a.e.t.) and Werder Bremen (3-1) carried the Boys in Brown all the way to the semi-final, where they went out 3-0 against Bayern Munich.