Goal.com previews the DFB Pokal round of 16 clash between Hoffenheim and Gladbach.Pokal Could Be Easiest Path To Europe For Hoffe
Despite going 2-0 up early, Hoffenheim were unable to hold onto their lead against Wolfsburg on Saturday, and had to settle for a fourth consecutive draw to end the Bundesliga fall campaign.
“We controlled the game for roughly 70 minutes and highly deserved to have taken the 2-0 lead,” coach Ralf Rangnick told reporters following the game. “After Wolfsburg got the first goal back, they began to put our defence under a lot of pressure and we failed to hang on to our lead.”
After having a strong start to their campaign, the village club failed to maintain their form, and have since slipped to eighth place in the standings. They will enter the spring term with plenty of competition as they aim for a top five finish. Hamburg and Schalke are hot on their heels, and Wolfsburg and Bremen remain dangerous.
Indeed, Hoffenheim may find the Pokal to be the path of least resistance en route to a first-ever Europa League appearance. Thus far, the Sinsheim outfit have beaten Hansa Rostock and Ingolstadt on their way to the round of 16. On Tuesday, they face Bundesliga opposition for the first time in the Pokal, and can expect stiff resistance. They had just that in October, but rallied from a goal behind to beat Gladbach 3-2. A repeat performance would suffice.
Gladbach Out For Pokal Redemption
The fall campaign has been a dismal one for former giants Borussia Moenchengladbach, who in mid-season are last in the Bundesliga table, having taken just ten points from 17 matches.
Following Friday’s 2-1 home loss to Hamburg, a match that the hosts dominated in the first half, coach Michael Frontzeck was gutted.
“At the moment it’s unfortunately the case that our opponents need only a few chances to beat us,” he said according to the official Gladbach website. “We too often fail to take our chances.”
“If you look at how each of the matches has gone, the fact that we’ve not taken a single point from any of our last three home games is actually a joke,” Frontzeck added.
It may be a joke to the coach, but Gladbach fans aren’t laughing.
Frontzeck’s men have a chance for redemption on Tuesday, however, as die Fohlen visit Hoffenheim in the DFB Pokal round of 16. Gladbach have performed well in the German league cup thus far, and beat title hopefuls Leverkusen in penalties in the previous round. It won’t be easy, but should they advance, it will give the Gladbach faithful something to celebrate this holiday season.
Vedad Ibisevic is suspended following his sending off against Ingolstadt, and Ralf Rangnick may also be without Luis Gustavo, who is struggling with a groin injury.
Probable Starting XI: Haas – Beck, Gustavo, Compper, Ibertsberger – Vukcevic, Rudy, Salihovic, Sigurdsson – Mlapa, Ba
Raul Bobadilla, who has been suspended from Bundesliga play has been sent to the reserves. As well, Mohammadou Idrissou has been suspended for disciplinary reasons.
Probable Starting XI: Heimeroth – Schachten, Callsen-Bracker, Daems, Wissing – Marx, Neustaedter, Bradley – Reus, Arango – De Camargo