German Cup: Babbel confident of progression

The wait is finally over! After a long, intensive pre-season, this weekend sees TSG 1899 Hoffenheim's first competitive match of the 2012/13 season. One week ahead of the opening Bundesliga match, Markus Babbel's side are set to face fourth division team Berliner Athletik Klub 07 in the first round of the German Cup on Saturday at 15.30 CET.

“The anticipation is huge”, said manager Markus Babbel during his press conference on Thursday. “The lads are really looking forward to the game following a long pre-season, and they're ready to give their all.” The first meeting of the two clubs will take place at the Poststadion in Berlin, a stadium steeped in history, having hosted many important sporting events during the 1930s.

Even if it isn't a walk in the park, Markus Babbel still believes his side have a good chance of progressing. “We know that we're facing a good opponent in Berliner AK; they're well organised and they have some players who can play at a high level. We're going to approach the game with 100 percent focus and concentration and put our foot down right up until the final whistle. Therefore, I'm confident that we'll reach the next round of the competition.”

Heading to Berlin without Compper

The manager almost has a full complement to choose from. Marvin Compper is the only first team player certain to miss out, having to serve a suspension carried over from last year's competition. Last minute decisions will be made over Daniel Williams, Fabian Johnson and Isaac Vorsah, who recently returned from international duty. Eren Derdiyok is available for selection again after overcoming a hamstring strain. Edson Braafheid and Ryan Babel will remain part of the U23 set up until the end of the transfer period.

BAK, who were known as Berlin Ankaraspor Kulübü 07 between 2006 and 2011 due to their ties with Turkish second division side Ankaraspor, will be hoping to pull off a major upset against the Bundesliga team. It's the fourth division side's second appearance in the German Cup, having also played in it in 2010. Their opponents back then were 1. FSV Mainz 05, who beat them 2-1 in the first round.

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