With Jogi being in Stuttgart for Freiburg’s game and the DFB Pokal draw today things started out good, and then that ended about ten minutes into the game. All of a sudden the draw didn’t matter so much then. When the English league cup was drawn not long ago lots of people online said it was fixed, now I’m not saying the same thing about the Pokal draw but it’s interesting that’s for sure. Same as it’s funny that Stuttgart are the second team out, being drawn not long after their game kicked off. Bayern being drawn with Dortmund is obviously the one of most interest, it meaning that there won’t be the usual big two final this year, so that should in theory make things a little more interesting. A few weeks ago I would have thought Dortmund would be the favorites to win such a clash, but now with the Heynckes effect in full swing I’m not so sure.
Freiburg being drawn with Bremen is something I have mixed feelings about, it’s not the worst draw they could have gotten and they have a good record against Bremen in their own stadium. There’s two bigger questions than who’s going to win that game, one being where are they going to be in the league when that game happens, will Bremen have moved up from 17th place. And the second and even bigger question is will Alexander Nouri still be Bremen’s coach come the 19/20th December. Personally I wouldn’t place any money on that being the case. I wonder how many times have gone without a win in ten games and avoided relegation come the summer. The other interesting game is Gladbach v Leverkusen, in the league two weeks ago it ended 5-1 in Leverkusen’s favour. Here’s hoping for Matze’s sake that it goes a lot better this time.
But if it came down to it Freiburg getting through to the next round is all I really want. Not least because the Pokal is one of the few things that has gone right so far this season. With one win in ten games they are dangerously close to the perilous situation Cologne and Bremen are currently in. And today just compounded the misery. Having to play 80 minutes with ten minutes against Stuttgart was never going to be easy, but it being Caglar Söyüncü just made it so much worse. And the circumstances of his dismissal made it even worse. It’s not the fact he got sent off that is so infuriating, it’s the fact it took several minutes between the offence taking place and action being taken. What’s the point in video review analysis when it interrupts the game that way? How can that even be fair? And what the hell were the review team doing in that time? They have no excuse for not seeing it, what’s the point in having a video review system if they can’t act swiftly? Being punished so late after the offence has occurred, it’s almost like retroactive punishment. From the start I had mixed feelings about the video review system. Now I’m firmly against it and not only because it seems to have gone against Freiburg an awful lot since the start of this season. An English commentator sums it up from me, during a match a while ago one of them said more or less “football is a game played by humans, watched by humans and refereed by humans.” You can’t put it much simple than that, goal line technology is one thing and that’s great. But video review is obtrusive and unnecessary. You still have the same failings as before, it’s still dependant on humans being observant and paying proper attention. And it doesn’t remove arguments from the game, whether that be players and coaches or spectators, actually it just creates more arguments. Some people say give it time, that it’ll take time before the system works perfectly. Yeah and in the meantime your team could get relegated because of a decision made by a guy in a box hundreds of miles away.
I love watching draws no matter what competition they’re for but there were three very important reasons why today’s draw for the second round of the DFB Pokal would be extra fun. Firstly Freiburg are still in the competition, secondly the team I want them to avoid in the second round (Sandhausen) are out and thirdly Stefan Kuntz did the draw today. The latter gave me the excuse to take some nice screenshots and to add them into this post.
As far as who I wanted Freiburg to get there wasn’t any team in particular, it was more a question of who I wanted them to avoid. The aforementioned Sandhausen are no longer a concern after having being knocked out in the first round by Schweinfurt. Sandhausen knocked Freiburg out in the second round last season, hence my happiness at them losing in the previous round. In a twist of fate Freiburg have been drawn with Dynamo Dresden who funnily enough lost 4-0 to Sandhausen on Saturday. I wouldn’t count on Dresden being an easy team to beat but given the other options I’m relieved.
There were four teams left in the pot, Freiburg, Bayern, Dynamo Dresden and RBL. I prayed for it be Dresden and was duly rewarded, maybe Stefan proved to be good luck. Either way I don’t care, Dresden it is. And thank god because today has been cruel enough without getting drawn with Bayern or RBL in the cup. Today saw Tim Kleindienst score his first ever Bundesliga goal, what might have been the winner against Eintracht Frankfurt. At least it was his goal until the new video review system took it away. The first and only 0-0 draw of match-day one and it had to be Freiburg. Next week won’t be a 0-0 draw, you can guarantee that, playing Leipzig is a guarantee that won’t be the case. It’s not a game I’m looking forward to if I’m completely honest but then I’m trying not to think about it. I should think about Stefan instead and how funny and adorable he was today. He’s especially adorable when his old team Kaiserslautern get drawn and he can’t bear to look at who their opposition are, the presenter teases him by saying they might get Bayern. Luckily they avoided that fate, getting drawn with VfB Stuttgart instead which if nothing else will be interesting. By rights Stuttgart shouldn’t be in the second round, Zieler has never saved a penalty, why did now have to the time he finally does it. I so badly wanted Energie Cottbus to beat them and they came close, but it just didn’t work out. It would have been so perfect too, twenty years after they played each other in the final, almost too perfect it seems.
There’s quite a few games in the list I want to see, chief among them Paderborn v Bochum, Wiesbaden v Schalke, Leverkusen v Union Berlin and of course Bremen v Hoffenheim. As for Matze he and Gladbach will be meeting Fortuna Düsseldorf. On paper Gladbach are the obvious favourites but they only just got through the previous round with a narrow 2-1 victory over fourth tier Rot-Weiss Essen. Fortuna have gotten off to a good start this season so I wouldn’t be so quick to make any predictions. It’s ironic given who they knocked out, what fun that would have been, a little bit of history repeating itself. Fortuna knocked out Arminia Bielefeld who in the 2014/15 season actually knocked Gladbach out themselves and went all the way to the semi-finals where they were beaten 4-0 by VfL Wolfsburg. Their goalkeeper at the time was none other than Alexander Schwolow, who was on loan from Freiburg.
A few weeks ago I decided to watch the Landespokal for no other reason than I couldn’t find anything better to do, I didn’t know Nils Petersen was going to be at Halberstadt’s game in advance. Nor did I know his father was the coach. Halberstadt did indeed qualify for the first round of the DFB Pokal and at the time I commented how great it would be if Freiburg were to be drawn with them. I didn’t think it would actually happen but it has, not only that but Halberstadt were the third team out of the pot. Even better is the fact newly promoted VfB Stuttgart have been drawn with Energie Cottbus, their opponents from the 1996/97 final which Stuttgart won. The importance of that final being of course Stuttgart’s coach at the time, it being none other than Joachim Löw. Twenty years later and they face each other again. The other game of big interest is SF Dorfmerkingen v RB Leipzig. Two years in a row I’ve watched them get knocked out of the tournament, in the second and first round. It would have been out in the first round twice were it not for the idiot who caused the Osnabruck game to be awarded to Leipzig. Not that it mattered since they got what was coming to them in the second round when they lost 3-0 to Unterhaching.
I just hope getting my wish doesn’t come back to bite me. Seeing Nils at that game was a stroke of luck, let’s hope it doesn’t become a curse. And not only because he’s playing against his father’s team either. Last season he couldn’t play in the first round, he was in Brazil with the Olympic team. In 2015/16 in the first round they played a team from Hamburg and Nils scored not just a hat-trick but four goals. Maybe he can repeat that feat against Halberstadt:
Oliver Bierhoff did the draw for the second round, I suppose it would have been greedy to hope for either Jogi or Hansi. Even Marcus Sorg would have been nice, well I guess it could be worse, at least it wasn’t Schneider. Still I can’t complain, Freiburg avoided getting drawn with all of the teams I wanted them to avoid. The obvious ones to avoid being the big guns like Bayern and Dortmund, but also Augsburg because that’s who they went out to last year. Freiburg in fact got an excellent draw, their neighbours Sandhausen. In theory that shouldn’t be a problem, they beat them 4-1 at home and 2-0 away last season. Whatever happens I can rest easy about the chances of them facing Augsburg if they get through to the next round, being drawn with Bayern pretty much guarantees them getting knocked out. The same goes for Union Berlin after getting drawn with Dortmund.
Through to the second round are 16 Bundesliga teams, 13 from the second tier, 2 from the third and just one from the fourth tier which is the regional leagues. That lone team being Astoria Walldorf who beat Bochum 4-3 in extra time. The two Bundesliga teams who got knocked out are Bremen and curiously enough RB Leipzig. I say curious because their new coach is Ralph Hasenhüttl, last season he was the coach of newly promoted Bundesliga side Ingolstadt. They were knocked out in the first round by Unterhaching. Leipzig suffered a similar fate, losing to Dynamo Dresden. Another curious pairing is that of Sportfreunde Lotte and Bayern Leverkusen, they met in the first round of the competition last year. Other than Freiburg’s clash with Sandhausen the other game of interest is 1.FC Köln v Hoffenheim. Two Hansi teams going up agaisnt each other, I personally will be rooting for Köln. For two reasons, first of all they aren’t from Baden-Württermberg and thus aren’t a direct rival to Freiburg in that sense, secondly becuase Jonas Hector plays for them. Because of him I’ll root for Köln anytime, as long as they aren’t playing Freiburg of course.