21 September 2014 11:17
Paderborn coach Andre Breitenreiter feels his side will go to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich “with confidence” after their superb start.
The newly promoted side – playing in the German top flight for the first time – have hit the ground running brilliantly this term.
And a 2-0 win over Hannover on Saturday, highlighted by Moritz Stoppelkamp’s outrageous 83-yard strike, saw them occupy top spot in the table.
Breitenreiter’s men were relegation favourites before the season, but have been difficult to break down at the back, with three successive clean sheets helping them remain unbeaten.
But while Paderborn have started brightly, their trip to the Allianz Arena on Tuesday is sure to provide a real litmus test of their level.
And Breitenreiter has not lost sight of his side’s overall goal despite their momentum.
“We just want to keep collecting points to avoid relegation,” Breitenreiter said after the win over Hannover.
“Now we can go to Munich next week with confidence.”
Stoppelkamp ensured he would feature on highlights reels for many years to come when he sealed Paderborn’s victory with the last kick of the game.
Chasing an equaliser, Hannover sent goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler forward, only to see the move backfire when Stoppelkamp lashed home to break the Bundesliga record for the longest goal ever scored.
The Bayern clash kickstarts a difficult fortnight for Paderborn, who also take on Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen before another international break.
And they will face a scorned Bayern side who were held to a goalless draw at Hamburg on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola blamed Bayern’s packed fixture list after the stalemate, which saw the Bavarian giants fail to score for the first time in 75 Bundesliga matches.
The usually free-scoring Bayern have netted only six times in their last five matches in all competitions, and Guardiola will be banking on his stars improving that as the season goes on.
Arjen Robben was injured in the warm-up at Hamburg and is in doubt while midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger (knee) is set to miss out again.
Thiago Alcantara and Javi Martinez remain sidelined with long-term knee injuries.
While Bayern and Paderborn have never met in the Bundesliga before, they did face each other in the first round of the 2001-02 DFB-Pokal – a game Bayern won 5-1.