Stuttgart relish rare home tie in German Cup

February 26, 2007
By Kevin Fylan

BERLIN, Feb 26 (Reuters) - VfB Stuttgart enjoy the rare luxury of a home tie in the German Cup, more than five years on from their last, when they stay on the trail of a domestic double with a quarter-final against Hertha Berlin on Wednesday.

Stuttgart have not played a Cup match at the Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion since Dec. 2001, when they were knocked out by TSV 1860 Munich.

This season they are clear favourites to win the competition for the first time since 1997.

Holders Bayern Munich and heavyweights like Werder Bremen and Schalke 04 all made early exits, leaving Stuttgart the best team in the last eight.

It will be a second match against Hertha within a week, after the two sides drew 0-0 in the league on Friday.

That match represented a missed opportunity for a Stuttgart side who are four points behind leaders Schalke in second place.

'We didn't play badly in Friday's game but we will have to do things better in the Cup,' said Stuttgart right back Ricardo Osorio.

'We wanted to win but we were missing key players.'

The good news for Stuttgart coach Armin Veh is the return from suspension of Pavel Pardo.

Hertha also have a player available again in captain Arne Friedrich.

The other three quarter-finals are being played on Tuesday.

Nuremberg are at home to Hanover 96 in a battle between two improving sides, VfL Wolfsburg host Alemannia Aachen in another all-first division clash and Kickers Offenbach of the second division host Eintracht Frankfurt, last year's beaten finalists.