The Calm Before: Mannheim steam rolling, an Oberliga throwback and other important headlines ahead of Day 2 of the Second Round of the DFB Pokal

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The Calm Before: Mannheim steam rolling, an Oberliga throwback and other important headlines ahead of Day 2 of the Second Round of the DFB Pokal
© Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

Recapping yesterday’s games really quickly before we jump into this one:

  • There will be no 4th division miracles this year as SV Babelsberg 03 fell 1-0 to RB Leipzig thanks to a 45’ goal from Dominik Szoboszlai. Elsewhere, Preußen Münster were able to enter the second half drawn at 1-1. But a red card just before the end of the first half saw them down a man and made it easier for Hertha to slip two past the keeper to make things 3-1.
  • At least both sides kept it closer than last year’s Cinderella team, Holstein Kiel. Both sides scored three goals, but unfortunately two of those for Kiel were on their own net finishing with a 5-1 loss to TSG Hoffenheim.
  • Hamburg and Nürnberg went to extra time — yet again — but they were able to finish things on penalties. HSV took advantages of a late miss and a late save in order to move on to the next round 4-2 on penalties.
  • Finally, the hopes for a Munich Derby stay alive as 1860’s Stefan Lex scored the only goal of the game just five minutes in. All eyes look to Bayern to hold up their end of the bargain and then it’s a matter of waiting and hoping.

The Calm Before: Mannheim steam rolling, an Oberliga throwback and other important headlines ahead of Day 2 of the Second Round of the DFB Pokal
© Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

The last two Oberliga champions kick off their second round

There are only three teams from the old DDR-Oberliga remaining in the competition. One of them, 1. FC Union Berlin, play the team featured in our next section — so we’ll talk about them there.

The other two remaining teams just so happen to be the final two champions of both the East German league (the DDR-Oberliga) and the East German cup (the FDGB-Pokal). Dynamo Dresden had done the league and cup double in the 1989-90 season only for Hansa Rostock to do the same in the following and final season for 1990-91. From there, post collapse of East Germany, the teams merged into the Bundesliga.

Nowadays, the teams haven’t been as successful. After being promoted into the Bundesliga, Hansa Rostock were immediately relegated in the 91/92 season. Dresden hung on to their place in the top flight for a few more years before being relegated in the 94/95 season — and as a result, they were the last team relegated after being directly promoted from the Oberliga. Rostock ended up making a few brief stints in the league years down the line — and in the 2006/07 season they became the last former Oberliga team to earn promotion until Union Berlin did it in their 2018/19 campaign. But the last few years have seen both teams spending time in the third division of German football (Dynamo even went as low as the 4th division).

This season, both teams returned to the 2. Bundesliga — with Dynamo winning their second 3. Liga title and Hansa finishing right behind them. Dynamo and Hansa occupy 12th and 13th place respectively in the league table and have even played each other earlier this season. Dynamo pulled out a 3-1 win which so far has seemed to help them stay above their East German rivals.

Both teams stare down trouble in their draws. For Dresden, it’s league leaders FC St. Pauli — a team who whipped them 3-0 at the start of the month. The Pirates started the scoring in the first minute and didn’t let their foot off the gas bringing a high press and quick flowing movement up front. In addition, Dresden are coming off a truly terrible run of form. After starting with 4 wins – 1 draw – 0 losses through their first five games, the team has struggled to a 1-0-4 record in their last five.

Meanwhile, Hansa have 2nd place team SSV Jahn Regensburg to play. The teams don’t play each other in the league until the 6th of November, but Hansa has had a similar start and similar rotten luck. They started their campaign going 2-1-2 through their first five, but have since incurred a 1-1-3 record as of late. That includes a 4-0 loss in the Politisches Derby this weekend against St. Pauli.

Both sides may have it tough going forward, but the Pokal does tend to not care about league results. We could have some fun on our hands.

The Calm Before: Mannheim steam rolling, an Oberliga throwback and other important headlines ahead of Day 2 of the Second Round of the DFB Pokal
© Photo by Uwe Anspach/picture alliance via Getty Images

Can Waldhof Mannheim send another Bundesliga team packing?

The biggest upset of the first round came when third division side Waldhof Mannheim outlasted Eintracht Frankfurt — winning 2-0 and sending Die Adler packing. The so-called Waldhof Buben (Waldhof Boys) don’t exactly play eye catching football — yet they were able to overcome one of the more talented rosters in the Bundesliga. I say more talented because while they don’t have the results to prove it, that squad is pretty well stocked. Mannheim shouldn’t have been in any position to challenge Frankfurt — and yet they wound up winning the day.

The team is the last 3. Liga side left in the competition [VfL Osnabrück lost to Freiburg on penalties yesterday] — and with all 4th division sides out, they remain as the last bastion of hope against Bundesliga supremacy in this competition.

Mannheim are currently sitting 5th in the 3. Liga, an interesting point considering their goal difference. Sure, it’s +8, but they’ve got the joint second least goals of any team in the top 10. They make up for it by having the 2nd best goals against mark in the league. Only seven players have scored for them in league play — but three of those seven have four goals. Amidst a relatively young midfield, the acquisition of Köln’s Marco Höger has been a wonderful move. His help in the defensive midfield has been integral in Waldhof’s transition from offense to defense. The team has only four clean sheets on the season — half have been 0-0 draws.

So what exactly is this team? How have they managed a good position in the league without truly being great at offense or defense on paper?

The team is great at bending but not breaking — and they’re great at constantly trying. A number of their draws and close wins have seen them give up goals early in the game. But the team manages to stay stronger together and not let it destroy them in the rest of their game. As for their offense they take a lot of shots. I mean — a LOT — of shots. The team averages 13.9 shots and 10.1 chances created per game in the league so far. In all of that, they’ve had five games where they’ve taken at least 17 shots and eight games where they’ve created double digit chances.

They’ll hope to put all of this to good use when they welcome 1. FC Union Berlin to Mannheim. Union may be fifth, but they haven’t done well in competitions outside the league. Union was only able to manage a 1-0 win over Türkgücü München in the first round of the Pokal. In their Europa Conference League group, they’re dead last behind teams like Slavia Prague and Maccabi Haifa. While Waldhof Mannheim may present an easier challenge than almost all those other sides, the habit for Die Eisernen to line up with three in the back could invite another round of those high shot games.

The Calm Before: Mannheim steam rolling, an Oberliga throwback and other important headlines ahead of Day 2 of the Second Round of the DFB Pokal
© Photo by Frederic Scheidemann/Getty Images

Three inter-Bundesliga draws happening today

The third game is our match of the day and deserves its own section. Meanwhile, we can quickly glance over the other two matches:

  • VfB Stuttgart v. 1. FC Köln: I’ve been wanting to talk about Stuttgart for weeks, but I’m waiting for the moment they get some more of their players back from injury. What I can say is that their goal scoring situation is on life support ever since Sasa Kalajdzic went down with an injury. They’ve somewhat managed without him, but their backline issues compound their lack of a real scoring threat up top. They play a Köln team who don’t have a problem finding a target man since the resurgence of Anthony Modeste (6G/0a 9GP). Köln instead have a backline problem. They’ve got a 1-3-1 record and a goal difference of -3 with 10 GA during that time. There hasn’t been too much tinkering going on so this might just boil down to needing the backline to click. They probably hoped they would have figured it out before the Pokal.
  • VfL Bochum v. FC Augsburg: Two teams at the bottom of the league who had battles in their first round matches. Augsburg drew fifth tier side Greifswalder FC and let them keep things within a goal up until Andre Hahn put the Bavarian side up 4-2. Bochum meanwhile needed extra time to defeat 4th division side Wuppertaler SV by a score of 2-1. Bochum have been the better of the two sides, holding an honorable 2-1-2 record in their last five games. It’s allowed them to jump Augsburg — whose 1-1-3 record was reflective of the fact they played Mainz, Borussia Dortmund, and Freiburg. Augsburg are now flirting with relegation — owning the second worst goal difference in the league (-13) and are tied for the least amount of goals scored with a paltry five. Bochum aren’t doing that much better (7 GF, T-4th worst goal difference), but they’ve managed to keep their heads above water. This has all the makings of a really ugly, low scoring match.

The Calm Before: Mannheim steam rolling, an Oberliga throwback and other important headlines ahead of Day 2 of the Second Round of the DFB Pokal
© Photo by Stefan Matzke – sampics/Corbis via Getty Images

Game of the Day: Borussia Mönchengladbach v. Bayern Munich

I wanted so badly to pick Dynamo Dresden v. St. Pauli, but this is the closest thing we’ll get to a rivalry game being played in this round.

Over the last few years, there’s been a really interesting pattern developing between Bayern Munich and Borussia Mönchengladbach: the first game of the season between the two is usually the toughest one. Consider this: in the last ten games, Bayern have played BMG enough to constitute five Hinrunde games and five Rückrunde games. In Rückrunde games, Bayern has the aggregate lead by a score of 19-3. In Hinrunde games, Mönchengladbach leads on aggregate 11-5. The last ten games constitute a 5-1-4 record between the teams with five wins for Bayern and four wins for BMG.

What ever makes the difference between the two is beyond understanding. However, in five games in the Hinrunde, Mönchengladbach won by a single goal in three of them — with the outliers being this year’s 1-1 draw and a 3-0 loss in the 2018/19 season. In five Rückrunde games, the only times Bayern won by a goal were a 2-1 win in the 2019/20 season and a 1-0 win in the 2016/17 season. The remaining three games were a 6-0 result and two 5-1 results for Bayern.

However, it’s been a while since Bayern and Mönchengladbach have played each other three times in a season. The last time it happened was a decade ago in the 2011/12 season. Bayern opened their season with a 1-0 loss at home to Mönchengladbach. Then they opened up their Rückrunde with another loss — this time 3-1 at BORUSSIA-Park. However, the two teams met a third time in the semifinals of the Pokal. After extra time ended 0-0, the sides went to penalties. After both sides converted their first two penalties, Mönchengladbach missed their next two with Dante (yes, that Dante) skying his kick and Håvard Nordtveit having his effort saved. Bayern won 4-2 on penalties and went on to lose the final to Borussia Dortmund.

But, that’s not the situation we have on our hands here. No, instead, we need to find the last time Bayern and Mönchengladbach met each other in between their Bundesliga games. That became a long and problematic journey:

  • The last time the teams met in the Second Round was the 2007/08 season. The year before, Mönchengladbach finished dead last in the table and they spent the following season in the 2. Bundesliga. Back to the search.
  • In the 2004/05 season, FC Bayern II beat Mönchengladbach in the first round on penalties, but sadly that won’t count. Back to the search.
  • We were so close in the 1996/97 season when Bayern and BMG met in the second round. Bayern won that game 2-1 — going on to lose in the quarterfinals to Karlsruhe. But sadly, the two teams didn’t meet in the league for the first time until December. Back to the search.

After combing through Wikipedia article after Wikipedia article after archive, we finally found what we were looking for: in the 1987/88 season. Bayern lost 2-0 in Mönchengladbach thanks to two goals from Uwe Rahn in September of 1987. They met in the Second Round of the cup and played to a thrilling draw. Bayern went up in the 72’ thanks to a goal from Michael Rummenigge, the younger brother of a certain Karl-Heinz. Mönchengladbach struck back within six minutes thanks to a goal from Christian Hochstätter. Off to extra time they went — with Bayern scoring first in the 97’ with Hans Dorfner and BMG responding in kind with Günter Thiele in the 100’. The game ended with a 2-2 draw. In those days, the cup played replays so they met again in November of that year. Thiele went in front for BMG in the 57’ with Lothar Matthäus making it 1-1 in the 74’. Off to extra time again. Rummenigge struck first just three minutes after extra time kicked off. Hans-Jörg Criens tied things up at 2-2 in the 110’. Rummenigge, disgusted by all of this, only needed another minute to put the nail in a coffin that should have been closed a while ago. Bayern advanced 5-4 over the two legs. And sure enough, true to today’s fashion, the Rückrunde match ended 1-0 to Bayern at home.

Does this mean Bayern has the historical advantage going into this game? I mean…I guess so? This was from back in the 80’s and technically they played four games that season, but this will have to do. In fact, as long as the Bundesliga has existed, that is the only time the teams met under those circumstances (both in the league, the fixture being in between rounds of the league).

So now that you know that, you can bet accordingly.

Here are all the matches being played today (all times Eastern US):

Wednesday, October 27th


  • Bayer 04 Leverkusen v. Karlsruher SC (BayArena — Leverkusen, North Rhine-Westphalia)
  • VfL Bochum v. FC Augsburg (Vonovia Ruhrstadion — Bochum, North Rhine-Westphalia)
  • Dynamo Dresden v. FC St. Pauli (Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion — Dresden, Saxony)
  • SV Waldhof Mannheim v. 1. FC Union Berlin (Carl-Benz-Stadion — Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg)


  • Borussia Mönchengladbach v. FC Bayern München (BORUSSIA-PARK — Mönchengladbach, North Rhine-Westphalia)
  • Hannover 96 v. Fortuna Düsseldorf (HDI-Arena — Hanover, Lower Saxony)
  • SSV Jahn Regensburg v. Hansa Rostock (Jahnstadion Regensburg — Regensburg, Bavaria)
  • VfB Stuttgart v. 1. FC Köln (Mercedes-Benz Arena — Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg)
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