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Borussia Dortmund: 4 Reasons Holstein Kiel Would Be No Pushovers in DFB Pokal

Anthony FaiersContributor IIFebruary 7, 2012

Borussia Dortmund: 4 Reasons Holstein Kiel Would Be No Pushovers in DFB Pokal

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    Borussia Dortmund are now sitting at the summit of the Bundesliga.

    This follows their convincing win against Nuremberg on Friday night.

    With Schalke, Bayern Munich and Borussia Mönchengladbach all having drawn their games this weekend, BVB now enjoy a two-point cushion at the top of the table.

    On Saturday comes a vital league match against Bayer Leverkusen. However, on Tuesday Dortmund must first face the long journey north to play Holstein Kiel in the quarterfinal of this year’s DFB Pokal Cup.

    Kiel are currently 58 places below Dortmund, plying their trade in the Regionalliga Nord, Germany’s fourth tier.

    That’s not to say this will be a walk-over, though.

    Here are four reasons why beating Kiel may prove more difficult than it seems.

Past Experiences

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    The DFB Pokal has not been a happy hunting ground for Dortmund.

    They have only won the competition twice before, most recently in 1989.

    In the 23 years since, they have only advanced past the quarterfinal stage once, losing to Bayern Munich in the 2008 final.

    Kiel do not have the experience of playing against the best German teams every week, but they have earned their quarterfinal place this year.

    In the last round, they beat top-flight opposition in the shape of Mainz 05.

    With Dortmund’s less than glamorous cup history and the unpredictability of this competition, Kiel may just think they have what it takes to pull off a big upset.

Under Pressure

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    Having taken the top spot in the Bundesliga this weekend, Dortmund will be under pressure to make sure they stay there.

    It is a bit too simplistic to say the title is now theirs to throw away, but the fact is,  if BVB win the remaining 16 games, they will win the Bundesliga.

    They will therefore be concentrating on winning as many league matches as possible. This may take precedence over progressing into the semifinals of the cup.

    For Kiel, however, Dortmund are potentially the most prestigious club they will play all season and they will up their game accordingly.

And Now for the Travel and Weather

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    The draw has given Kiel home advantage, so Dortmund face a 540-mile round trip to the very north of the country.

    BVB supporters are famously passionate and committed, but this may mean that few of them will be keen to travel for around eight-and-a-half hours on a weekday, not including the nearly two hours at the game itself.

    For Holstein Kiel supporters, the chance to see their team battling with the current Bundesliga champions will likely be worth braving the expected temperatures of minus-12 Celsius.

    Expect to see the 11,400 capacity of Holstein-Stadion full tonight, but few of those to be wearing the black and gold of Borussia Dortmund.

Bender Blow

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    Defensive midfielder Sven Bender has joined Mario Götze on the injury list after damaging his ankle against Nuremberg.

    Jürgen Klopp is now missing two of his regular midfield starters.

    They will miss the trip to Kiel. But an even greater concern is that Klopp will be without two midfielders for a vital part of the season, where injuries seem to occur all too often.

    However, Bender’s absence may mean a start for 19-year-old Moritz Leitner, who impressed on Friday with an amazing, if possibly unintentional, through ball to help set up Dortmund’s first goal.

Can Kiel really beat Dortmund?

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    Honestly, it seems unlikely.

    Even after having explored some possible advantages that could help tip the balance in Kiel’s favour, Dortmund’s rich vein of form should see them avoid embarrassment and progress to the semifinals. If they do, they will have a very good chance of winning the cup.

    But you can guarantee that Holstein Kiel will leave it all out on the field come the final whistle tonight.

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