Preview: SV Sandhausen vs. Freiburg
SV Sandhausen will be aiming to reach the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal for the first time in 37 years when they host Freiburg on Tuesday.
The visitors, meanwhile, lost on penalties to RB Leipzig in last season’s final as they missed out on winning the competition for the first time in the club’s history.
For Sandhausen, who have remained in the second tier of German football ever since gaining promotion to it for the first time in 2012, this is the third time in 10 seasons that they will compete at the last-16 stage of the DFB-Pokal.
Only once in their entire history have they made it to the last eight of Germany’s primary domestic cup competition, though, which was when they lost 3-1 to Borussia Dortmund in the 1985-86 campaign.
They defeated their relegation rivals Karlsruher SC on penalties in the previous round to set up a mouth-watering home tie against last season’s runners-up, who in many ways have set the blueprint for second tier sides given their recent rise in status on both the domestic and European fronts.
While head coach Alois Schwartz would prioritise his team’s survival this season given that they are currently only above the relegation zone on goal difference, causing a major upset at BWT-Stadion am Hardtwald in midweek would ensure Sandhausen’s fans have at least one major positive memory to take from this season regardless of how it eventually unfolds.
Freiburg, meanwhile, may make the trip across Baden-Wurttemberg with their confidence somewhat dented after being thrashed 5-1 by Dortmund at the weekend.
Kiliann Sildillia’s dismissal for two bookable offences left the visitors in a world of trouble after just 17 minutes at Westfalenstadion, although they headed into the break level at 1-1 atfer Lucas Holer’s equaliser on the stroke of half time.
However, their one-man disadvantage proved a burden too heavy to carry, with Karim Adeyemi, Sebastien Haller, Julian Brandt and Giovanni Reyna inflicting a disappointing day at the office for Freiburg, who fell to sixth in the table as a result.
While Christian Streich’s side still have every chance of securing a top four finish this season – and thereby qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in their history – the 57-year-old will undoubtedly have his eyes set on delivering the club’s first major trophy in the form of either the Europa League or the DFB-Pokal.
With winnable matches against Stuttgart and VfL Bochum on the horizon in the Bundesliga, Freiburg have the perfect opportunity to return to winning ways against a team ranked one division below them on Tuesday evening.
SV Sandhausen DFB-Pokal form:
SV Sandhausen form (all competitions):
Freiburg DFB-Pokal form:
Freiburg form (all competitions):
We say: SV Sandhausen 1-3 Freiburg
With Freiburg likely to rotate several players given that they are competing on three fronts this season, Sandhausen could have an outside chance of causing a major upset on Tuesday.
However, the visitors should still have enough quality within their ranks to progress to the quarter-finals, especially with them likely to be determined to bounce back after suffering a huge defeat in Dortmund in their last match.