Manuel Veth –
Energie Cottbus vs Bayern München – Monday, August 12, 19:45BST/20:45CEST – Stadion der Freundschaft, Cottbus, Germany
After a season in Liga 3, Energie Cottbus are back in the fourth division. The former Bundesliga side has looked back at a decade in Bundesliga 2, Liga 3 and Regionalliga football.
It has been exactly ten years since Bayern last came to visit for a competitive game at the Stadion der Freundschaft. The Rekordmeister beat Cottbus 3-1 in front of 22,528 visitors, Cottbus were 15th going into the game but would be relegated at the end of the season.
Cottbus, however, has not always been an easy place to visit for Bayern. In six games at the Stadion der Freundschaft Bayern won four but also lost twice, including their very first visit on October 14, 2000 (0-1). Against the fourth division side, however, Bayern should have a much easier time than in the past, especially as Cottbus did not have a perfect start to their league campaign either—on matchday 2 they dropped all three points against Hertha II.
Nonetheless, Bayern take the challenge against Cottbus very serious. After all, the Rekordmeister still have a very thin squad, and while Cottbus had already three competitive fixtures, Bayern’s only competitive game was the 2-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the DFL Supercup.
“We have new challenges, and we have to prove ourselves again, we know how difficult the first round of the Cup is, and we know how difficult it is to play in Cottbus,” Niko Kovač said this week. For Kovač the preseason has been about juggling a very thin squad with just 16 first-team players. Hence, at the International Champions Cup and the DFL Supercup the head coach has been forced to experiment a bit playing some players out of position—Renato Sanches and Fiete Arp, for example, played as wingers.
At the same time, young players like Alphonso Davies and Sarpreeth Singh have used their opportunities to gain significant playing time, and both might feature in the Pokal on Monday. For both the Pokal is a good opportunity to show the bosses that Bayern do not need to sign an additional winger other than Ivan Perišić, who will join the club on a one year loan-to-buy deal later this week.
Not in the squad against Cottbus will be Javi Martínez. Meanwhile, Lucas Hernández will travel with the team but after just four training sessions is not expected to start against Cottbus. But even without the new arrivals and injured played Bayern should have enough to get a significant result in Cottbus on Monday.
Energie Cottbus vs Bayern München – Players to look out for:
Dimitar Rangelov #8 – Energie Cottbus
Captain Dimitar Rangelov is the most experienced player in Cottbus’ side. The 36-year-old Bulgarian striker had his big breakthrough at Cottbus in the 2008/09 season. From there he first joined Borussia Dortmund and then went on to a journeyman career that saw him play in Switzerland, Israel and Turkey before rejoining Cottbus in October 2018.
Renato Sanches #35 – Bayern München
Renato Sanches appeared to be gone from the club at the end of the season. The Portuguese midfielder even told teammates that he would not return after this summer following a friendly against Kaiserslautern in May. But Bayern’s transfer market problems meant that Renato Sanches had to stay put and the 21-year-old made the most out of his situation by shining at the ICC this summer. Kovač has played Sanches in various positions over the summer, including on the wing but with Bayern not signing a central midfielder the time for Sanches to take up a central role might have finally arrived.
Energie Cottbus vs Bayern München – Match Stats
- This is the first time the two sides meet in the DFB Pokal.
- Energie Cottbus last faced Bayern ten years ago.
- Cottbus’ record at home against Bayern: W2 L4
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Energie Cottbus vs Bayern München – 0-5
Energie Cottbus vs Bayern München – Lineups
Moser – Meyer, Koch, Hajtic, Hasse – Gehrmann – Taz, Raak, Geisler – Rangelov, Brügmann
Head Coach: Claus-Dieter Wollitz
Neuer – Alaba, Süle, Pavard, Kimmich – Goretzka, Renato Sanches, Thiago – Coman, Lewandowski, Gnabry
Head Coach: Niko Kovač
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.