DAVID SMITH - Tuesday, June 8, 2010
With the backdrop of the World Cup taking all the attention, the 2010-11 German Cup first round was drawn over the weekend, giving several yanks a peek at their first meaningful competition following a busy summer.
While the brigade of Americans in Germany is sure to see several additions, subtractions and relocations in the coming two months before the mid-August first round, a handful can be relatively sure to play a part when their teams take the field.
The 64-team first round of the German Cup is drawn to, in most cases, pit each 1. or 2. Bundesliga club against an opponent from a lower division decided by regional cup competitions, with the higher-ranked team automatically designated as the road team.
Should he make his expected return to Schalke's midfield after missing the entire 2009-10 season, Jermaine Jones would see his first competitive action in more than a year against 3. Liga newcomers VfR Aalen, who just earned promotion after finishing top in Germany's fourth-tiered Regionalliga Süd.
Michael Bradley and Borussia Mönchengladbach face one of the toughest draws of the round, as they must travel to newly-promoted 2. Bundesliga club Erzgebirge Aue, who finished runners-up in the 3. Liga on their way back into Germany's second-tier.
Steve Cherundolo and Hannover will head west to take on Regionalliga mainstay SV Elversberg, who qualified for the tournament by way of their victory in last season's Saarland Cup.
The team will be looking to avoid another first-round embarrassment like they experienced last season, when a crushing 3-1 defeat to lowly fourth division team Eintracht Trier meant the end of the line for former head coach Dieter Hecking before the league season even had the chance to get underway.
Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Ricardo Clark will most likely take the field for the first time under his newly-extended contract with the when they head north to face fourth-division team SV Wilhelmshaven.
The team has won the competition four times in their history, most recently in 1988, but were knocked out by eventual champions Bayern Munich in the round of 16 last season.
German Cup first round draw
(games to be played August 13-16)
SV Wilhelmshaven - Eintracht Frankfurt
SV Elversberg - Hannover 96
Erzgebirge Aue - Borussia Mönchengladbach
VfR Aalen - FC Schalke 04
SC Verl - TSV 1860 München
VfL Osnabrück - 1. FC Kaiserslautern
TuS Koblenz - Fortuna Düsseldorf
FSV Frankfurt - SC Paderborn 07
FC Ingolstadt 04 - Karlsruher SC
FC Oberneuland - SC Freiburg
Berlin Ankaraspor - 1. FSV Mainz 05