The Bundesliga season doesn’t open until August 14, but fans of German soccer can watch the first round of the DFB-Pokal — the prestigious German Cup — live online as league champions Bayern Munich open their quest for a record 18th triumph in the 64-team tournament since the competition began in 1935. The Bundesliga powerhouse will travel to Wildparkstadion in Karlsruhe to face a tenacious, but certainly overmatched, fifth-division side FC Nottingen.
Nottingen qualified for the nationwide knockout tournament by virtue of winning last season’s North Baden Cup, one of 20 regional cup tournaments that automatically qualify their winners for the German Cup — the most coveted prize in German football outside of the Bundesliga championship itself.
But while the lower-division side would appear to have no chance against the global powerhouse Bayern, who consistently rank among the world’s elite clubs, don’t tell that to the Bayern Munich players.
“We’re approaching the weekend and we’re focused on the DFB-Pokal,” said Bayern star and Germany international Thomas Muller on Friday. “Everyone thinks that victory is a foregone conclusion, but we’re very serious about it.”
To find out how to watch the FC Nottingen vs. Bayern Munich German Cup first round match live online, see the streaming link in the final paragraph of this article. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:55 p.m. local time on Sunday, August 9 — 9:55 a.m. United States Eastern Time, 6:55 a.m. Pacific.
So, do the FC Nottingen players, who play in an amateur circuit, really believe they have a shot against one of the world’s most powerful clubs? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be giving their top effort in what the team considers the biggest match in the 58-year history of the club.
“Being a fifth-tier team competing with one of the best teams in the world will be tough,” remarked Nottingen goalie Robin Kraski. “Our goal has to be to keep a clean sheet as long as possible. We’ll see from there.”
One thing is certain — though the local heroes may find themselves overwhelmed by the blinding skills they will face when Bayern Munich takes to the Wildparkstadion pitch, the atmosphere will be electric.
“You can feel the euphoria in the whole village,” the goalkeeper enthused. “The anticipation is huge, everyone’s looking forward to the match. You can’t help but notice it. We’re playing at the sold-out Wildparkstadion, but we could have sold twice the number of tickets. It’s fantastic.”
Bayern won the pre-season Audi Cup by defeating Real Madrid in the club’s most recent match.
To watch the FC Nottingen Vs. Bayern Munich German Cup first-round match live online, use the link provided by WatchESPN at this link, or download the WatchESPN app to watch on mobile devices. The Chemnitzer FC vs. Borussia Dortmund first round DFB-Pokal match will also available live online via WatchESPN starting at 8:25 a.m. United States Eastern Time, 5:25 a.m. Pacific.
[Image: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images]