Following their greatest achievement last season, TuS Rot-Weiss Koblenz from the Oberliga Rheinland-Pfalz/Saar are preparing for the biggest game in the club’s history when they meet recently-promoted Bundesliga side Fortuna Düsseldorf in the first round of the DFB-Pokal. They qualified for the competition following a 1-0 win in the Rheinlandpokal final against city rivals and former 2. Bundesliga side TuS Koblenz. 7,473 fans crammed into Stadion Oberwerth – the ground shared by the two clubs – making it the highest attendance for a Rheinlandpokal final.
In an interview with DFB, head coach Fatih Cift (36) discusses his team’s chances against Fortuna, meeting dugout opopnent Friedhelm Funkel and insurance premiums for the underdogs.
DFB.de:In your main job you are an insurance broker. Would you insure Rot-Weiss Koblenz for a win against Fortuna Düsseldorf, Mr Cift?Fatih
Cift:Honestly, probably not! The risk would be far too high.
DFB.de:Is the match against Fortuna Düsseldorf a dream draw for you?
Cift:Initially no. I’m not just a coach, I’m also a fan. And as such, I would have loved to see us face Bayern München, Borussia Dortmund or FC Schalke 04.That being said, Fortuna Düsseldorf are a very old club with a great fan culture. They will make sure our ground is completely full. I had to familiarise myself with them initially. I only actually knew Düsseldorf from a stag do! (laughs)
DFB.de:If everything goes to plan, your team shouldn’t really have a chance. So how do you plan to trip up the favourites?
Cift:We have different expectations as a fifth-tier side. None of us are professionals, all players and coaches work too. However, our aim is to go toe-to-toe with the reigning 2. Bundesliga champions for as long as possible and frustrate them. First of all, we want to have fun and enjoy the day. We’ve worked hard for this.
DFB.de:What role can the Koblenz supporters play?
Cift:Düsseldorf have played twice at the Stadion Oberwerth against TuS Koblenz, in the DFB-Pokal and the league, and both times they lost. Perhaps that isn’t a bad omen for us. I hope that as many locals as possible will come to the stadium to support us. Who knows when we might have the chance to play in a match like this again?
DFB.de:How often has the cup match been a topic of discussion for you?
Cift:Daily! I had to sort out a few tickets for friends and family.
DFB.de:Is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to?
Cift:Getting to know Fortuna coach Friedhelm Funkel. As a child I saw him play a lot with Uerdingen. He has coached a lot of teams and has so much experience. To meet a man like that is always special. I’m also looking forward to meeting Turkey international Kaan Ayhan.
DFB.de:As far as the rest of the season is concerned, do you think you’ll be happy when the cup is over?
Cift:The last few weeks have been very stressful for us. The whole club has been scrambling to make sure everything goes smoothly on matchday. I’ll admit, it won’t be too bad when everything calms down again.
DFB.de:What are your aims in the Oberliga this season?
Cift:Our goal is to be as far away from the bottom as possible. We need a consistent season for that. In recent months, we’ve made a taken a big step forward. Of course we also want to go as far as possible in the cup, but we know we will be the team everyone wants to beat.