TSV 1860 München have already kicked two higher-tier sides out of the DFB-Pokal this season in the form of 2. Bundesliga sides SV Darmstadt 98 and FC Schalke 04. They will meet another second-tier club in the round of 16 on January 18th or 19th 2022 in the form of Karlsruher SC. In an interview with DFB.de, 1860 head coach Michael Köllner spoke about the draw, and the league.
DFB.de: The DFB-Pokal round of 16 will see your TSV 1860 side face off against Karlsruhe. What first went through your mind after the draw, Mr. Köllner?
Michael Köllner: It’s a difficult draw, that’s for sure, but was definitely a wish of ours to get a team from the 2. Bundesliga again. That way, we have a better chance to be able to let our fans at the Stadion an der Grünwalder Straße see us progress than, say, against a team at the top of the Bundesliga like Borussia Dortmund. I would have also been pretty happy with a team like HSV or FC St. Pauli, but it ended up being KSC, who made a big impression and proved that they have a very good team with their win against Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
DFB.de: How did you follow the draw?
Köllner: In the afternoon, I was in the stadium to watch the Bundesliga game between FC Augsburg and VfB Stuttgart, but I left early so I could get back home in time to watch the draw on TV. Luckily I was able to get back, so I could relax and watch the draw from my own sitting room.
DFB.de: You’ve already knocked out two second-tier sides so far this season. How did that happen?
Köllner: We’ll need to look at both games individually for that. Darmstadt were a team in transition at the time we played them, and were getting used to a new head coach, as well as being affected by Corona and having some players in quarantine. That said, it didn’t help us that we were still trying to find our best form at the time. On the other hand, Schalke 04 came here on a great run of form and were full of self-confidence. The team put in an impressive performance against them and earned their win against a really strong opponent. It showed that absolutely anything is possible in a single game of football.
DFB.de: TSV 1860 München are now the only club outside the top two tiers of German football to still be in the Pokal. How does that feel for you?
Köllner: It’s really not that spectacular for me – we haven’t had any influence on the other teams being knocked out (laughs). Seriously though, it’s a great thing for us to be going so well, not only in the regional cup where we’ve just got to the semi final, but also in the DFB-Pokal – we’re going into the new year still in three competitions! It’s such a great feeling for the 1860 fans, who have gone through so much in the last few years and still kept true to their club. After the Schalke game it really felt like the win did a lot for the area.
DFB.de: Reaching the round of 16 means some extra revenue for the club as well. Would it be a wish for you to be able to strengthen your squad in the winter transfer window?
Köllner: Of course, any unexpected income would be helpful for any club, as it makes some investments a bit easier. There haven’t been any discussions yet as to whether we will dip into the transfer market in January. What’s clear is that we trust our team 100% and we’re convinced that we can keep performing in the league at the level we have in the last few weeks.
Dfb.de: Did the 1-0 DFB-Pokal victory over FC Schalke 04 give the team a boost which helped them to a 6-0 win over SC Freiburg U23s in the 3. Liga at the weekend?
Köllner: Firstly, I must say that we were already on decent form after picking up draws in Verl and at home against Viktoria Berlin, and we performed well during a 1-1 draw in Saarbücken, even though we were disappointed to concede late on because it cost us two points. Hats off to the lads for a brilliant performance against Schalke, it was like they’d just been unchained. We built on that from the first minute against Freiburg and kept pushing after each goal, which really pleased me.
DFB.de: You’re only one point above the drop zone in the 3. Liga, but you’re only six points off the relegation play-off spot with one game in hand. What’s your view of the current situation?
Köllner: I’m now into my third season in the 3. Liga with 1860. The table is always tight and the point gaps between teams are tiny. So for us, it’s about putting in more consistent performances turning them into consistent results, that’s how we’ll climb up the table. We’ve been held back up to because we’ve been drawing too many games.
DFB.de: Next up for you on Saturday is a game against VfL Osnabrück. What are you expecting from the game?
Köllner: It’s always special to play at the Bremer Brücke, and a lot will be asked from us there. If we can build on our performances against Schalke and Freiburg then we’ve got a better chance of a positive result.
DFB.de: What are you expecting of your players?
Köllner: First things first, I’m expecting that they all recover well from playing twice in a week – I gave the lads the weekend off to spend some time with their families. From Wednesday, we’ll be completely focused on Osnabrück and we’ll do all we can to make the 1860 fans happy in the coming weeks and months.