DAVID SMITH - Thursday, December 22, 2011
The pairings for the German Cup quarterfinal were set, giving Hoffenheim's American duo a potentially tricky path to the semifinal against newly-crowned Franconian kings Fürth.
The field of teams involving Americans remaining in contention for the German Cup was narrowed down considerably in third round play due in large to derby action.
Jermaine Jones and defending champions Schalke were frustrated and beaten by neighbors Borussia Mönchengladbach, in a game which saw the Königsblauen reduced to nine players by the time the closing whistle sounded.
Timothy Chandler and Nürnberg were also dealt a tough blow in their home loss to city rivals Greuther Fürth in the 254th edition of the historic Franken-derby, falling by a single goal, despite seeing an apparent 80th minute equalizer waved off due to an attacking foul on the play.
The quarterfinal draw will now give Hoffenheim the task of taking down high-flying Fürth, as Fabian Johnson and Daniel Williams have been handed a February 8 home date with the 2. Bundesliga promotion hopefuls.
Hoffenheim looked shaky at times in their 2-1 third-round win over Augsburg, but prevailed thanks to goals from their Bosnian duo of Sejad Salihovic and Vedad Ibisevic.
This is their third straight trip to the quarterfinals and their fifth overall since 2003, however the team has lost at this stage on each occasion.
These two teams have squared off once before in the German Cup, with Hoffe coming away 2-1 winners in the second round in 2007, on the way to an eventual quarterfinal loss to Dortmund.
They looked set to finally break their quarterfinal curse last season as they were overwhelming favorites against 2. Bundesliga team Energie Cottbus, however a collapse in the closing stages saw them eliminated from the competition in a 1-0 loss.
Elsewhere in the competition, Alfredo Morales could play some part in Hertha Berlin's quarterfinal home date with the regicidal Borussia Mönchengladbach. The American youth international was on the bench for Hertha's 3-1 win over Kaiserslautern, and has been an occasional contributor for the first-team during the season.
Borussia Dortmund striker Terrence Boyd will likely play no part in their visit to fourth-tier Holstein Kiel. Boyd has been a standout player for Dortmund's U23 squad and has been included in the first team's bench on one occasion, however is still a long-shot to see minutes in their stacked lineup, even against the relative northern minnows.
All games are set to take place on Wednesday, February 8.
German Cup quarterfinal draw
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - SpVgg Greuter Fürth
Hertha Berlin - Borussia Mönchengladbach
Holstein Kiel - Borussia Dortmund