On the eve of the first round encounter with “Tournament Terror” Eintracht Trier, Peter Stöger seems very sincere about wanting to treat the encounter with a fourth-division club just as he did the derby with Fortuna Düsseldorf and as he will next weekend’s return to league action when the Effzeh travels to Paderborn.
Just because Stöger says he will start “the strongest line-up” he can, does not mean he thinks Trier as an equal, saying 1. FC Köln simply is “the better team.”
Trier, who made their reputation as a dangerous draw in the DFB Cup tournament by defeating UEFA Cup holders Schalke 04 and Champions League champions Borussia Dortmund in consecutive rounds in 1997, certainly maintains the confidence of past success on which to lean, prompting coach Roland Seitz to state plainly about the prospect of an upset that “It wouldn’t be the first big club we dispatched.”
Seitz refers not only to the aforementioned double-killing of German giants, but also the 2009-10 tournament run that saw Trier knock two Bundesliga teams (Hannover 96 and Arminia Bielefeld, respectively) out of the competition before falling in the third round.
The opponent that ended the Cinderella story that year?
That’s right! 1. FC Köln made the quick trip south to deliver a 0:3 result, before bowing out to second-league FC Augsburg in the quarterfinals.
Even so, there is a bit of a difference between a third-round match with a team that has just proven it can manage a pair of upsets and an opening-round match with a relatively unknown quantity. Stöger is certainly correct in saying the raw materials at his disposal are simply superior to those in Trier, but a good many intangibles can contribute to making things a bit more even than they might otherwise be.
While the 2,000 seats allotted to visiting fans will be packed with some of the loudest and proudest fans in professional sports, the remaining 8,000-plus on hand for the match are likely going to be in full voice themselves, not only to avoid being out-shouted by a visitor, but also to provide all the extra boost available to their club. An electric atmosphere can and should be expected at kickoff Saturday night at Moselstadion.
In his pre-match press conference, Seitz made clear that he was aware of the difference in class between the two clubs and is planning accordingly.
“We want to provide little space and then quickly thrust forward,” said the coach about potential tactics. “We can and want to avoid starting any offensive fireworks. Such a technically strong team like the FC would then laugh and strike coldly.”
Stöger, likewise, has formed an opinion of his opponent through video study, and wants to make sure his team does not slip, looking too far forward. Despite Trier losing their first and only match of the season so far 2:3 at home to Hessen Kessel, the Effzeh coach says “We wil take no opponent lightly.”
Speculation that striker Anthony Ujah could be rested in the cup match to give the Nigerian national some rest he did not get during a busy summer of Confederations Cup service to his home country, may turn out to have been unfounded. Ujah reportedly looks more energetic this week in training than he did in the run-up to the derby match, leaving Stöger to imply he may employ the man who has the only two goals the Effzeh has scored this season from the start by implying that resting Ujah in favor of experimenting with the line-up would be “arrogant.”
Express reports Bruno Nascimento will get his first start of the season in place of Roman Golobart. Matthias Lehmann’s strong second-half performance against Fortuna may have gotten him the nod at the six in Trier, moving Adam Mattuschyk into the offensive midfield row in a 4-1-4-1. Also said to be making his debut start since coming to the Effzeh Daniel Halfar, with Mato Jajalo getting a day off. Express did not say who the other player from last week’s starting eleven would be rotated off to accommodate the changes, but Yannick Gerhardt and Thomas Bröker would seem the most-likely candidates.
After Stöger was fairly defensive of Gerhardt in the wake of criticism of his play in the Düsseldorf match, I would be slightly surprised to not see him play. Nothing will let a young player maintain his confidence than his coach running him out there after a lackluster match. Conversely, you could praise him all week long, but if you don’t let him play, he’s going to feel that.
Ultimately, I can’t quite put my finger on what Stöger is doing other than trying to keep every single player preparing as fully as they can for the chance to play and keep everyone else, opponents included, guessing.
Hence, here’s what I have in mind as a mixture of what I want and what I think will happen when the team is announced.
I know everyone is confident, but my son says it in his best German.
If you’re headed to the match, stay safe and cool and have a great time.