TSV 1860 Munich travel to face fellow 2nd Division promotion candidates FC Kaiserslautern on Sunday.
Both teams remain unbeaten this season. The 'Red Devils' bolstered their squad this week with former Bayern midfielder Alexander Baumjohann joining from Schalke 04. This useful addition, alongside fellow new signings Albert Bunjaku and Mo Idrissou, adds some serious quality into the Pfalzer line-up. Ex-Nuremberg forward Bunjaku was immediately installed as captain.
This injection of fresh talent was somewhat overdue after FCK's miserable relegation from the Bundesliga top flight. Former 1860 coach Marco Kurz started the campaign in charge before being fired in March in a last act of desperation, in favour of ex-VfB Stuttgart and Bulgaria star Krasimir Balakov. Ultimately, these changes were to absolutely no avail as FCK plummeted to the bottom of the Bundesliga and through the relegation trap door.
According to 1860 Director of Football Florian Hinterberger, the Lions are clear underdogs for the big 'Betzenberg' clash on Sunday afternoon with "FCK the top favourite to win the league." This view was backed up by Lions' coach Reiner Maurer. "We're only outsiders. A point would be okay for us," said Maurer.
Whilst new FCK coach Franco Foda has undoubtedly already installed a feel good factor, the home side do have to overcome their long-running home hoodoo. The Red Devils haven't managed a win on their own ground since October 22nd 2011. The Lions will be keen to perhaps feed off any negativity from an anxious crowd. How will the home fans react should FCK fall behind again? 1860 have looked solid rather than inspired so far this season, narrowly winning a hard-fought derby against Regensburg, before drawing 2-2 away in Dresden. As expected, they comfortably disposed of minnows FC Hennef 05 6-0 in the German Cup 1st round.
However, The Lions have managed only five wins in 24 attempts at the Fritz Walter Stadium to date. 1860 will be looking to erase painful memories of their last trip to the Betzenberg in March 2010, when they suffered a 4-0 thumping. 1860 again have to do without the services of Greek international midfielder Grigoris Makos through injury, whilst winger Daniel Halfar returns to the club where he learnt his trade. Halfar is the youngest ever FCK player to score a Bundesliga goal at 18 years and 28 days.
The Munich Eye will be providing live updates from the legendary Fritz-Walter Stadium - 1330 kick-off.