Feeling positive ahead of DFB Cup trip to Dortmund

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim travel to Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday evening (20:30 CEST) as they take on Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals of the DFB Cup. Manager Markus Gisdol is full of anticipation ahead of the clash and only has one target in mind: Making the semi-finals.

Markus Gisdol on…

…the opposition:

Dortmund, just like us, have had to move on quickly from the last league match and switch focus to the DFB Cup. BVB have an incredibly good team and I don't think that anyone in Dortmund really knows how they ended up rooted to the bottom of the table in the first half of the season. Everyone was surprised. However, they've improved immensely in 2015 and have now stabilised their position in the Bundesliga.

For me, Dortmund are the favourites. They've displayed real glimpses of their former selves in 2015. The team attacks the second ball and quickly switch from defence to attack. That's not easy to defend against…


David Abraham will definitely be missing on Tuesday evening after he pulled an adductor muscle against Gladbach. Central defender Ermin Bicakcic was suspended for the game on Saturday but we can call on him again in the DFB Cup. Things are looking good for Eugen Polanski because his fever stopped on Friday and the doctor has given him the green light. He will probably be included in the squad. On the other hand, question marks remain over Pirmin Schwegler and we'll have to wait until after the final training session before deciding whether he'll make the trip.

…the current situation:

We want to make it through to the semi-finals. The conditions are the same as normal; we'll play in front of 80,000 fans and all know how loud it always is in Dortmund. I'm looking forward to the game but I don't think the teams will focus too heavily on tactics. It's a knockout game and we want to achieve something special. One thing is clear: We're really looking forward to the game and want to take the positives from previous matches. We obviously have fond memories of our last knockout game in Dortmund, which definitely doesn't put us at a disadvantage. This time though we're in a positive position going into the game because there are no real negative consequences for whoever is knocked out. It was different for us two years ago.

Previous meetings:

Almost two years ago, Hoffenheim also went to the Signal Iduna Park for an all or nothing game. The fixture took place on matchday 34 of the 2012/13 season and TSG knew only a win would do. What happened during the game is known by almost everyone. TSG haven't been able to win any of their last three games against BVB, with a draw at home and two defeats in Dortmund the results (3-2 and 1-0). The last time the two sides met in the DFB Cup was back in 2007/08 in the quarterfinals. Hoffenheim were in the second division back then and were knocked out after losing 3-1.

The form of the opposition:

Jürgen Klopp has revitalised his team. The fear of being relegated was high in Dortmund after Borussia spent nine matchdays in the relegation zone. However, BVB have jumped up the table since the winter break and didn't lose a game between matchdays 20 and 26. They have now opened up an eight-point gap between themselves and the relegation play-off spot and currently sit in tenth. They will have to play extremely well to finish in a European spot at the end of the season. However, they could still reach Europe through the DFB Cup...

The key battles:

It's not easy to defend against Dortmund's attacking threat according to Markus Gisdol. Marco Reus, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang & Co. wasted a lot of chances in the first half of the season, as BVB's impressive attacking game seemed to have gone astray. But things are looking up in 2015. Bayern also came into some trouble at the back last weekend, despite dominating the game. It won't be an easy tie for Oliver Baumann and his teammates at the Signal Iduna Park but it'll be important to keep Dortmund's attacking threat under control from the off.

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