The boys are back in town…the town that they already lost in this term. This Wednesday we will see the brave men from Bavaria take on the (cursed) White Shirts at Borussia-Park in the semi-final of the DFB Pokal. The team spoiled us rotten last week, scoring 20 goals, winning their first away match since December, and playing rock-paper-scissors, much to the dismay of the German media (and despite a hate crime occurring in the Ruhrpott….cough). Either way, this is the first match of many in the next coming weeks, that will test if this is a new-and-improved Bayern side, worthy of praise and anti-Barcelona chants, or if the “crisis” has yet to be suppressed.
Gladbach have already faced Jahn Regensburg (3-1, a certain Schweinsteiger bro scored the consolation), FC Heidenheim (Gladbach advanced on penalties), Schalke 04 (3-1), and Hertha Berlin (0-2 on extra time). You all know Bayern’s story. Braunschweig, Ingolstadt, Bochum, and the match-up that happens every season – Stuttgart. (And then Bayern was like, why are you so obsessed with me?)
This seasons Glassman, Bastian Schweinsteiger, will be out with an irritated foot, which irritates my heart. Luckily, the only tragedies that have occurred in Herr Pig Climber’s most recent absence is USA presidential hopeful Rick Santorum being photographed shirtless and STOP KONY 2012’s founder caught pounding the ground (and the fence post, if you know what I mean) in the Los Angeles area. We’ll have Bastian to blame if he spilled any Invisible Children in the process. Aside from Bastian and the usual suspects, everyone should be fit for a run out. Rafinha consumed enough orange juice and chicken soup to come on as a substitute last Saturday and barring any last-minute slip ups, this could be a variation on a line-up (because Shifty Eyes always likes to mess with me):
Neuer – Lahm, Boateng, Badstuber, Alaba – Gustavo, Kroos – Robben, Müller, Ribery – Gomez.
Alaba had a bit of a tough time against Hertha Berlin (granted, the entire defense did) but Alaba/Ribery and Lahm/Robben seems to be working at the moment, so if it’s ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But do make your subs at 60 minutes, Mr. Shifty, and not in the last 10 minutes. Especially if it breaks like a roller coaster at Six Flags you stood in line for.
With their first victory in 4 games, Gladbach won against Neverkusen 2-1 (de Camargo with the late winner) this weekend and fielded this line-up:
ter Stegen – Stranzl, Dante, Brouwers, Daems – Neustädter, Nordtveit – Wendt, Arango – Reus, Hanke
Gladbach have a chance to pull a hattrick on Bayern, something that no other club has done…ever. Winner of this match will advance to the final in Berlin, on May 12th. This Wednesday, the dream of the treble lives or dies. (Dun dun dun).
If we fail, the whole world and all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties and so bear ourselves, that if we last for a thousand years, men will still say, this was their finest hour.
(Winston Churchill for Bayern coach 2013.)