Hagedorn: 'Everybody's on fire'

The Bayer 04 Women face a difficult as well as attractive challenge: The team, under new coach Verena Hagedorn, face Bundesliga rivals SC Sand on Easter Sunday (14.00 CET, Haberland Stadium) for a place in the DFB Cup final at the RhineEnergie Stadium in Cologne on 27 May.
© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

The team have been dreaming of the first appearance in a cup final in the club's history. Verena Hagedorn is also well aware of this focus. "Everybody in the team is on fire and can hardly wait to achieve the big target on Sunday," said the 34-year-old. And the new head coach, who last week took over the helm from caretaker coach Malte Dresen, is confident that her team can clear this hurdle. "Clearly, Sand are definitely better placed in the Bundesliga than us but I believe we can compete on equal terms. We definitely have the chance of winning the match on Sunday to go through to the final," declared Hagedorn.

The former assistant to Germany coach Steffi Jones has used the first 10 days in a new job to get a good look a new squad. "I've settled in well and had a lot of discussions. The job is great fun and I'm looking forward to it. I found a strong team at Bayer 04 that has the potential to improve," said Verena Hagedorn. The fact that the Bundesliga game against Sand at Kurtekotten ended in a 3-0 defeat four weeks ago weeks ago does not have an undue influence on her: "We're going into Sundays game in an absolutely positive frame of mind and will try to cut out the mistakes that led to the defeat against Sand in the league. And the Cup is also a completely different competition compared with the battle for points in the league.

Clean sheets to date

Bayer 04 have yet to concede in the DFB Cup this season with clean cheats in the first four rounds: 4-0 in Niederkirchen, 4-0 in Saarbrücken, 5-0 against Jena and 2-0 at Cloppenburg with the results on the way to the semi-final. Sand, who made the final last season losing 2-1 against VfL Wolfsburg, qualified for the last four with a 3-1 win in Wetzlar, a 4-0 victory at Schott Mainz, a 3-0 success at Weinberg as well as a 1-0 result at Bremen.

"It will be important for us to enjoy playing the game," said Hagedorn who sees possession and passing play important components in her work at Bayer 04. It remains to be seen whether there are any absentees for the match against Sand. "There is a slight doubt about one or two players," said the coach. That applies particularly to Rebecca Knaak who is struggling with an ankle injury.

© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

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