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Round of 16 with only six first division teams: A good omen for Leverkusen?

In the 2nd round of the DFB Cup, record cup winners FC Bayern and recent two-time title holders RB Leipzig fail. A negative trend to the delight of the underclass cup dreamers.

The DFB Cup is still the shortest route to the Europa League. Six games, six wins – and off you go on the European stage. But for two-thirds of all Bundesliga clubs, this path has already come to an end in the current cup round – an exodus like none seen in over 30 years.

Only six first division teams made it through to the round of 16 in 2023/24 – the last time the round of the last 16 in the cup was so heavily underclassed was in the 1992/93 season.

In the present, VfB Stuttgart, VfL Wolfsburg, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt are still represented – the Hessians at least had the cup within reach in last year’s cup final (0:2 against Leipzig).

31 years ago, the remaining Bundesliga teams were Bayer Leverkusen, Eintracht Frankfurt, Werder Bremen, Borussia Dortmund, Karlsruher SC and 1. FC Nürnberg.

Leverkusen and the only title

The fact that Leverkusen was then, or is now, in the round of 16 may serve as a good omen for the current Bundesliga leaders: The Werkself won their only national title to date in the final thanks to Ulf Kirsten against the amateurs of Hertha BSC with a 1-0 win.

Leverkusen’s last big chance to triumph in the Cup came three years ago. In the first Corona year 2020, Bayer dueled with Bayern in the deserted Berlin Olympiastadion and lost 2:4 to the Munich team.

For Bayern it was the 20th and so far last cup victory. After the sensational 1:2 in Saarbrücken, the waiting period for Bayern is extended by another season.

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