The second round of the German Cup gets started with Leverkusen having to do without their coach and Frankfurt being forced to play before a tiny crowd. Both Hamburg clubs are hoping for a change in their fortunes.
Bayer Leverkusen without coach Schmidt
It hasn't been a great start to the season for Roger Schmidt (pictured above, center) and his charges, and there was a bit more bad news on Monday, when the DFB (German football association) announced that it had banned Roger Schmidt over his verbal altercation with Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann on Saturday. The two-match ban applies to Tuesday's second-round German Cup match against third-division side Sportfreunde Lotte, meaning Schmidt will have to watch from the stands. The good news is that Kevin Volland's two-match ban doesn't apply to the Cup, meaning he will be available on Tuesday. Lotte will be hoping to knock off a second Bundesliga side, after they eliminated Werder Bremen in the first round, one of a series of defeats that led to Viktor Skripnik's demise.
Bundesliga duel in a largely empty stadium
Eintracht Frankfurt host Ingolstadt in a battle of two teams you might have pegged as relegation candidates going into the season. This has turned out to be the case for Ingolstadt, who, after eight matchdays find themselves second from bottom. However, Markus Kauczinski's men delivered a sign of sign of life on Saturday, putting the scare into Thomas Tuchel's Dortmund - but having to settle for a 3-3 draw in the end.
Frankfurt, on the other hand, have had a surprisingly good start to the season climbing up into seventh spot through Friday's 3-0 victory over hapless Hamburg. Eintracht coach Nico Kovac was confident enough going into that game to rest the captain and the team's most prolific goal scorer in recent years, Alexander Meier. This was the first time in more than two years that a fully fit Meier was not in Frankfurt's starting 11. Meier should be back in the lineup against Ingolstadt.
The Commerzbank Arena has a capacity of more than 50,000, but this one will be played in front of no more than 6,127 spectators - due to DFB sanctions over crowd trouble caused by some of Frankfurt's ultras at their first-round match in Magdeburg. Kovac, who has experience with such situations from his days as coach of the Croatian national team, said he would do what he could to prepare his players for an atmosphere in the stadium that he expects to be "very benign and sad and not very pleasant."
Hamburg look to move on from 'worst-ever' crisis
The only team never to have been relegated from the Bundesliga are in what the chairman of their supervisory board, Karl Gernandt, has described their worst-ever crisis. Speaking to the mass-circulation "Bild" newspaper Gernandt demanded a "reaction" from the team when they travel to Halle on Tuesday. Hallescher FC is two divisions below Hamburg, but they couldn't have chosen a more vulnerable Bundesliga club to cross swords with.
St. Pauli - another Hamburg crisis
Apart from newly promoted RB Leipzig, Hertha Berlin are perhaps the most surprising club in the Bundesliga - particularly after beating fellow overachievers Cologne on Saturday. St. Pauli on the other hand, are another Hamburg club at the bottom of their (the second) division, having collected just five points from 10 matches. On paper, this is a no-brainer, and St. Pauli's veteran coach, Ewald Lienen, made his frustration clear in a rant at his pre-game press conference, appealing to his charges to "collectively give their all," against the third-placed team in the Bundesliga.
German Cup second-round matches
Tuesday, October 25
Sportfreunde Lotte vs. Bayer Leverkusen (18:30 CET)
Dynamo Dresden vs. Arminia Bielefeld
Freiburg vs. Sandhausen
Würzburg vs. 1860 Munich
Hallescher FC vs. Hamburg (20:45 CET)
Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Ingolstadt
St. Pauli vs. Hertha
Dresden vs. Bielefeld