Bayern Munich vs. Kaiserslautern & Four Other Games to Watch in the DFB Pokal
The second round of the 2012-13 DFB Pokal kicks off on Tuesday, and as always, viewers can expect the unexpected as teams from Germany's top four leagues square off.
Only one match will contain two teams from Germany's top flight, but after the many shocks of the first round, no side can feel too comfortable. From derbies to matches between big-name clubs and surprise packages, read on for a rundown of the most interesting fixtures in store in the last 32 of the Pokal.
Aalen vs. Dortmund
Dortmund are among Germany's most electric teams to watch, and while their depth is limited, the Pokal holders have many exciting young talents waiting for the chance to prove themselves in the first team.
Given the grueling schedule BVB have had as of late and will endure in the coming weeks, Juergen Klopp may give the likes of Leonardo Bittencourt, Moritz Leitner, Mustafa Amini and/or Jonas Hofmann the rare opportunity to play in a full professional match.
Aalen will be no pushovers, though. The Baden-Wuerttemberg club gained promotion to the 2. Bundesliga last season and currently stand in the respectable position of seventh. Martin Dausch has been in excellent form this season, having scored five goals in 10 matches, and the BVB defense will have to be wary of his threat.
Berliner AK 07 vs. 1860 Munich
The Pokal produces at least one or two shocks each year, and this season's biggest surprise thus far has been Berliner AK 07's 4-0 rout of Hoffenheim.
A multicultural side with close ties to Turkish football, AK 07 only gained promotion from the fifth tier to the Regionalliga Nord in 2011. But, following their hammering of Hoffenheim, they must be respected.
1860 Munich are one of Germany's most historic clubs, but since 2004 they have been stuck in the 2. Bundesliga. The Pokal is their only real shot at glory these days, and given their status as an established second-tier side, the Bavarians have to favor their chances of advancing to the last 16.
It won't be easy, though, especially following their opponents' marvelous first-round performance.
Preussen Muenster vs. Augsburg
If Berliner AK 07's hammering of Hoffenheim was the most shocking result of the first round, Preussen Muenster's 4-2 victory over Werder Bremen was perhaps the most dramatic.
The 3. Liga side scored a late equalizer to force extra time and took the lead six minutes into the first additional period. Bremen had no response, and American striker Matt Taylor put the result to rest as he completed his hat trick in the 118th minute.
Muenster now are set to host an Augsburg side that may currently play in the 1. Bundesliga, but look in grave danger of dropping to to second division in May. With Augsburg playing like a 2. Bundesliga side and Muenster in position to be promoted to the second tier, there may not be much of a gap between the clubs after all.
Bayern Munich vs. Kaiserslautern
Bayern are Germany's most electric team at the moment, and their stunning domestic record suggests viewers are in store for another dazzling display on Wednesday.
The Bavarians are in the midst of a heavy schedule, and coach Jupp Heynckes may see the Pokal clash as an opportunity to blood some of his new talents, such as Emre Can and Mitchell Weiser.
Kaiserslautern were relegated to the 2. Bundesliga at the end of last season and have since undergone many squad changes. The Rhine side are looking more comfortable in the second division, and currently stand third.
Facing Bayern will be a big challenge, but 1. FCK will look to find out where they truly stand in their quest for promotion. How they perform against Germany's historically most successful side will be a good benchmark.
Fortuna Duesseldorf vs. Moenchengladbach
Due to the large number of teams involved and the many levels from which they come, the DFB Pokal is often the forum for derbies, sometimes those which are rarely played.
The forthcoming round of action is set to see only one local derby played, between Rhine sides Duesseldorf and Moenchengladbach.
Though separated by only 30 kilometers , the two sides went more than 15 years without meeting in the Bundesliga, as Duesseldorf plummeted as low as the fourth tier before returning to the 1. Bundesliga this season for the first time since 1996-97.
The two sides have already met, with Gladbach getting the better of their hosts in the September 1 fixture. Both sides failed to score, however, and the result was a scoreless draw.
Duesseldorf have a second chance to show their home supporters what they are capable of in the derby, and Gladbach will have something to prove amid their drought of Bundesliga form. Being a cup fixture, this time, there will be no draw.