Record 18-time winners Bayern Munich must overcome their latest Bundesliga setback quickly if they want to reach the quarterfinals of the German cup at Hertha Berlin today.
Munich slipped seven points behind league leaders Borussia Dortmund when they lost 3-1 at Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, and their best chance for domestic silverware now appears to lie in the cup. But there they run into a Hertha team that beat them 2-0 in the league in September and wants to repeat this feat Wednesday, despite also losing 1-0 at home to Wolfsburg over the weekend.
Hertha forward Davie Selke didn't dwell too much on the setback as he said, "That will be an important match for us and the fans. I am convinced that we will present ourselves in a very different way."
Coach Pal Dardai was also upbeat because "we have always managed against Bayern to neutralize their creative players."Hertha have an extra incentive as they want to reach the final for the first time since it is played in their home stadium every year since 1985. Only their second team has managed to reach the decider in 1993.
Bayern coach Niko Kovac hopes for an instant reaction from his players after lamenting careless moments in defense in Leverkusen.
"We'll work through the game, analyze it and address the issues," Kovac said.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is doubtful with a hand injury which saw him miss Saturday's game, with Sven Ulreich to deputize again if Neuer remains on the sidelines.
Four-time winners Dortmund can meanwhile dream of a domestic double as in 2012 when they take on Werder Bremen in their last 16 match Tuesday. Dortmund have played in five of the last seven finals and also lifted the trophy in 2017. Dortmund or Munich have been in every final since 2011 while RB Leipzig aim for their first-ever quarterfinal berth when they face the 2015 winners Wolfsburg on Wednesday.
The other all-Bundesliga duel is between Schalke and Fortuna Dusseldorf who are tied on 22 points in the lowlands of the league which is poor by their standard for Schalke while promoted Dusseldorf are happy to be seven points above the danger zone.
The remaining ties are between top and second-tier sides in the form of SV Hamburg versus Nuremberg, Heidenheim versus Leverkusen and Holstein Kiel versus Augsburg; plus a second-division duel between MSV Duisburg and Paderborn.