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DFB Cup: Union Berlin vs. FC St. Pauli – duel of those who think differently

Hamburg DFB-Pokal

Union Berlin against FC St. Pauli – duel of those who think differently

FC Ingolstadt 04 - FC St. Pauli

26 February 2022, Bavaria, Ingolstadt: Soccer: 2nd Bundesliga, FC Ingolstadt 04 – FC St. Pauli, 24th matchday in the Audi Sportpark. Saint Pauli’s Guido Burgstaller thumbs up. Photo: Stefan Puchner/dpa – IMPORTANT NOTE: According to the requirements of the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga or the DFB Deutscher Fußball-Bund, it is prohibited to use or publish photos taken in the stadium and/or from the game in the form of sequence images and/or video-like photo sequences . +++ dpa picture radio +++

Source: dpa/Stefan Puchner

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The chance of a cup coup hasn’t been that great for a long time. Given the absence of FC Bayern and Borussia Dortmund, the eight quarter-finalists see unimagined opportunities. St. Pauli is the first to demand another cult club.

KFC Bayern, no BVB: The football establishment from Munich and Dortmund can only watch the DFB Cup. The quarter-finals will be a showdown for the hopeful outsiders with the game between the cult clubs 1. FC Union and FC St. Pauli as a fitting start. The duel of dissidents from Berlin and Hamburg on Tuesday (8.45 p.m., ARD, Sky and in the live ticker on WELT.de) in the stadium at the Alte Försterei is symbolic of a crazy cup round. With St. Pauli, Hannover 96 and the direct opponents Hamburger SV and Karlsruher SC form a second division quartet in the last eight.

The absence of the top teams makes the prospects promising: not only for the big gold cup with the distinctive green crystal in the final on May 21 in the Berlin Olympic Stadium, but also for the ticket for the Europa League. “Of course, this year’s cup is a very special opportunity for us too,” said Freiburg’s sporting director Jochen Saier. “The fact that we’re still in this competition is extraordinary for us,” noted coach Christian Streich, who on Wednesday (8.45 p.m. / ARD / Sky and in the live ticker on WELT.de) brought the Breisgauer into the only pure Bundesliga duel leads at VfL Bochum.

For the first time in eleven years, neither record winner Bayern Munich nor defending champion Borussia Dortmund are still in the quarter-finals after their bankruptcies against Borussia Mönchengladbach (0:5) and St. Pauli (1:2). The last represented winner is second division club Hannover 96 (1992), who on Wednesday (6.30 p.m. / ARD / Sky) challenged the now big favorite RB Leipzig.

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The Saxons are the last finalist (2019/2021) in the competition. In this millennium, only Union Berlin has been in the final once – 21 years ago, the Irons lost to FC Schalke 04 (0:2). The cup memories are held up with pleasure in the east of the capital. Just like the principles beyond the football mainstream. This connects the district clubs Union and St. Pauli.

Their presidents Dirk Zingler (Union) and Oke Göttlich (St. Pauli) consistently speak plain text on sensitive issues on both sides of football. But the basic attitudes of the clubs are also different. At Union, the meaningful self-image is still fed by the opposition attitude in GDR times and has meanwhile developed into a clear Eastern identity. “Who doesn’t let themselves be bought by the West?” bellows rocker Nina Hagen in the club’s anthem before every kick-off.

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St. Pauli has long since become the label of the left and alternatively located neighborhood club. In the meantime, however, the club has also arrived in the economic football modern age. Like their colleagues at Union, those responsible understood how to use the image of the somewhat different club in marketing. “We should not exaggerate the mythical elevation of things. The anti-commercial clubs play with sponsors and have a lettering on their chests,” admitted Union communications chief Christian Arbeit on Monday.

FC St. Pauli is consistently implementing the sponsorship trend towards more sustainability. Ecology, anti-racism, inclusion, diversity, social justice, LGBTQ or equal rights for women have long been part of the discourse in the association.

“This is a huge opportunity for us”

The sporting roles are clearly distributed. Union is the favorite as a Bundesliga club that has now been established and has also slowly overcome the departure of Max Kruse. St. Pauli, however, is lurking as well as third in the second division for promotion and for the first semi-final participation in the cup since 2006. The bonus brings a good two million euros, in addition to the cup million already earned.

Union coach Urs Fischer warned against premature final dreams. “It’s a quarterfinal. In order to be in the final at the end, you have to survive the quarterfinals and then the semifinals. The task is difficult enough. It’s about getting the focus right,” he said.

“It is not a matter of course for us to be in the quarter-finals,” said Pauli trainer Timo Schultz on Monday and also spoke of a “real chance” of the next coup. “The tingling will be there by tomorrow at the latest when we come in and when the anthem is played. That’s a huge opportunity for us,” said Schultz.

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