Leverkusen and Bremen coaches under pressure to win German Cup

German Football
By German Football May 30, 2009 08:12

Leverkusen and Bremen coaches under pressure to win German Cup

Bayer Leverkusen and Werder Bremen head into the DFB-Pokal final today looking to salvage some pride from their otherwise disappointing seasons.

Both have failed to live up to their own expectations in the Bundesliga this season, finishing ninth and 10th respectively, and this has increased the pressure on their coaches.

Indeed, leading Leverkusen to DFB-Pokal glory may be the only thing which can keep Bruno Labbadia in his job.

After missing out on a place in Europe following a disappointing league campaign, Labbadia’s future appears now to be hinging on whether or not his side can get the better of Bremen in Berlin.

But reading between the lines of Leverkusen’s director of sport Rudi Voller’s pre-match comments, defeat would not be so dramatic after he gave Labbadia his indirect backing by praising opponents Bremen for the patience they have shown with their coach Thomas Schaaf.

“Werder have been showing in an exemplary fashion for years how you deal with such crises,” Voller said.

“Whenever there has been public criticism of Thomas Schaaf, then there has been 100% backing for the coach from the board.

“We are still convinced of Bruno’s potential and we value the way in which Labbadia lets football be played.”

Yet Leverkusen have veered from the sublime to the ridiculous this season, culminating in a 3-0 defeat on the final day of the season to struggling Energie Cottbus which has made the cup final even more important

Saturday’s game may be the explanation for that slip-up last weekend since Labbadia says his players have been focused on this clash for months.

“The team is very excited,” he said. “Everybody is looking forward to it.

“We have been working towards getting to Berlin from day one and spoke about how great an experience it would be even in (the first round at) Oberhausen.

“We are now here in Berlin and are incredibly excited.”

Leverkusen got the better of Bremen in the Bundesliga with a win and a draw in their two meetings, but Schaaf hopes it will be a case of third time lucky for his side.

“It is going to be a tough task and I hope that we can do better this time than we did in the league,” he said.

Brazilian playmaker Diego will be playing his final game for the club before moving to Juventus in the summer and he has promised to do all he can to leave with a piece of silverware.

“This is going to be the biggest game in my life so far,” he said. “Winning the DFB-Pokal is my biggest dream.”

Torsten Frings took a knock to his thigh in Thursday’s training session, but he should be fit to play, leaving Schaaf without only his two long-term injury absentees, Per Mertesacker and Daniel Jensen.

Labbadia has a fully-fit squad to choose from.

German Football
By German Football May 30, 2009 08:12
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