FC Bayern München revive their rivalry with TSV 1860 München tonight as the sides meet in a much-anticipated German Cup quarter-final – with Die Löwen promising to live up to their nickname and "fight like lions".
The Fußball Arena München has witnessed the city's red and blue armies marching towards it regularly since it was inaugurated in 2005, yet never have they come together for a competitive fixture. The Blues of 1860 München have been in the 2. Bundesliga since top-flight relegation in 2003/04 and are currently seventh in the second tier – meaning nothing less than victory will satisfy Bayern. "There can be no excuses," said general manager Uli Hoeness. "Anything but progress would be a huge disappointment."
A Bayern stalwart both as a player and now in the boardroom, the 56-year-old Hoeness is perhaps more aware of the enmity between the teams than most, a rivalry spanning 203 matches. The last of those games was a month ago as the clubs drew 1-1 in a friendly (the 50th draw, with Bayern having 104 wins to 1860 München's 49). The prize on offer of a semi-final place should send commitment levels soaring. Hoeness, however, seems keen to stoke the fires further, suggesting Bayern's opponents "will run for their lives". "We will run," Die Löwen (Lions) coach Marco Kurz responded. "We will run and fight like lions."
Success brings the reward of a last-four place, and second-tier FC Carl Zeiss Jena, who saw off VfB Stuttgart last night, have already sealed theirs. BV Borussia Dortmund are also through while the last quarter-final sees Hamburger SV visit in-form VfL Wolfsburg. The hosts are yet to lose in 2008 and Hamburg coach Huub Stevens admits it "will be a very difficult game for us", although he may be able to call upon fit-again Rafael van der Vaart. Wolfsburg counterpart Felix Magath is unperturbed, believing HSV's UEFA Cup exertions against FC Zürich last week could give his men a real opportunity. "They might still be tired," he said. "This is our chance."
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