DAVID SMITH - Sunday, June 12, 2011
The first round of the 2011-12 German Cup has been drawn, setting up a reunion for Matt Taylor against his former club and a tough visit for Luis Robles and Karlsruhe from fellow 2. Bundesliga team Aachen.
One highlight of the first round is SC Paderborn's visit to Rot Weiss Ahlen in a game which will see Matt Taylor likely receive a hero's welcome by fans of the team which he nearly saved from relegation in the previous season.
While Taylor's 17 goals on the season were enough to keep Ahlen out of the drop zone based points, they were eventually dropped two divisions after his departure after they were forced to go into insolvency.
Luis Robles will likely be manning Karlsruhe's nets as they host Alemannia Aachen in one of two all 2. Bundesliga matchups, which is also the only game of the first round in which an American will have homefield advantage.
Robles had struggled to maintain his starting spot at Karlsruhe during their tough season, but the departure of keeper Kristian Nicht likely signals that the Arizona-born keeper will be the team's number-one headed into the season.
Ricardo Clark and Eintracht Frankfurt will travel to Regionalliga team Hallescher FC, which has had the tough luck of being knocked out by teams featuring Americans in two of the previous three seasons.
Halle were beaten last season in the second round by David Yelldell's Duisburg, and two years before were blown out by Steve Cherundolo and Hannover, in a game marred by home crowd disruptions. The game will likely be moved to the Red Bull Arena in neighboring city Leipzig due to ongoing construction on Halle's home stadium.
Cherundolo and Hannover will head east to face fifth-division team FC Anker Wismar, as they hope to avoid the embarrassment of being knocked out in the first round for the third season running.
After reaching the competition's finale in Berlin's Olympiastadion, Yelldell and MSV Duisburg will head back to the Berlin area to take on newly-promoted 3. Liga team SV Babelsberg 03. They were blown out by Schalke by a 5-0 score in the recent final, however should have a less traumatic time on their return to the area.
Two players who are widely expected to depart their teams during the summer and are unlikely to participate in their teams' respective first round games are Borussia Mönchengladbach's Michael Bradley and Schalke's Jermaine Jones.
Gladbach will head east to face 3. Liga team Jahn Regensburg while Schalke look to begin their defense of the cup with a visit to seventh-tier FC Teningen.
Having withdrawn from the Gold Cup at his team's request in order to have a rest before Nürnberg's pre-season, Timothy Chandler should be fully rejuvenated when The Club visits recently-relegated 3. Liga team Arminia Bielefeld.
A short drive north of that game, Edson Buddle and a now-healthy Amaechi Igwe could both be in tow when Ingolstadt visits fifth-tier FC Oberneuland in Bremen.
Rounding out the first set of games, Daniel Williams and SC Freiburg face a southern duel on their visit to Munich-area team SpVgg Unterhaching, Alfredo Morales could feature when Hertha Berlin visit Regionalliga team ZFC Meuselwitz, Jared Jeffrey will hope to be back in Mainz's plans for their visit to fifth-division SVN Zweibrücken, and Bobby Wood will should be in uniform when 1860 Munich head northwest to VfL Osnabrück.
The exact dates of the games have yet to be determined, however all will be played over the weekend of July 29 through August 1.
German Cup first round draw
FC Teningen - FC Schalke 04
FC Oberneuland - FC Ingolstadt 04
SpVgg Unterhaching - SC Freiburg
Karlsruher SC - Alemannia Aachen
ZFC Meuselwitz - Hertha Berlin
Hallescher FC - Eintracht Frankfurt
Arminia Bielefeld - FC Nürnberg
Rot Weiss Ahlen - SC Paderborn 07
SVN Zweibrücken - FSV Mainz 05
FC Anker Wismar - Hannover 96
SV Babelsberg 03 - MSV Duisburg
SSV Jahn Regensburg - Borussia Mönchengladbach
VfL Osnabrück - TSV 1860 Munich