The last 16 of the DFB-Pokal kicks off with 1. FC Heidenheim taking on Bayer 04 Leverkusen (Tuesday 5th February, 18:30 CET). It will be the first time in history that the clubs have met in a competitive game. Europa League side Bayer Leverkusen are definitely favourites for the game, but Heidenheim will be hoping that being in front of their own fans could give them an advantage. “Bayer Leverkusen will be a massive challenge for us, of course. But I wouldn’t rule out an upset with our fans behind us and our strength at home,” said Holger Sanwald, Heidenheim chairman.
The 2. Bundesliga side have only qualified for the competition 11 times, but they are no strangers to an upset. On 30th July 2011, the then-third-division side beat Werder Bremen 2-1. Marc Schnatterer scored the winner on that day, and the Heidenheim captain will be looking for a similar result next month. The attacking midfielder is currently his club’s top scorer in the league, with seven goals. Schnatterer also has seven DFB-Pokal goals to his name, a club record.
Heidenheim made it to the quarter-final in 2016
Heidenheim are in the last-16 for the third time, but they went one step further in 2015-16 and made it to the quarter-final, their best performance in the competition to date. Frank Schmidt’s side haven’t been caused too many problems this season, beating SSV Jeddeloh 5-2, followed by a 3-0 win against SV Sandhausen.
Leverkusen showed their potential in the second round, beating Borussia Mönchengladbach 5-0. Peter Bosz’s side made it to the semi-final last season, losing 6-2 to Bayern Munich. However, they have also fallen to some surprising defeats in recent years. Most recently, this was a penalty loss to third-division side Sportfreunde Lotte in 2016/17 and a 4-3 loss to Dynamo Dresden in 2011/12.###more###