The third round of the 2012-2013 DFB Pokal takes place Tuesday and Wednesday. We're guaranteed at least one lower division side in the quarterfinals with the possibility that four can make it. If we're honest, while we enjoy upsets in the early rounds of cup competitions, everyone prefers to see the big clubs in the latter stages. Right? Right.
Tuesday, December 18
Karlsruher vs Freiburg
19:00 CET / 1:00 PM ET - Wildparkstadion, Karlsruhe, Germany
Freiburg have been one of the surprises of the Bundesliga season and have found their way all the way into fifth place at the winter break. They'll make the short trip to Karlsruhe for a Badem-Württemberg Derby against Karlsruher with a trip to the quarterfinals on the line. Freiburg have benefited from a balanced scoring attack out of the midfield and a stringent defense. Karlsruher is led by forward Rouwen Hennings, but it'll be difficult for him to find any space against this Freiburg backline.
Prediction: Karlsruher 0 - 2 Freiburg
Schalke vs Mainz
19:00 CET / 1:00 PM ET - Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Schalke sacked manager Huub Stevens on Sunday, and new manager Jens Keller will have his first match in charge in the cup. They're on a six match winless streak and have struggled to put in a good performance in league play in weeks. Mainz have hit a great run of form under manager Thomas Tuchel and capped it off with a victory over Stuttgart at the weekend. There are rumors that Schalke are interested in bringing Tuchel to the Veltins-Arena, and he could make quite the statement pulling out a victory here.
Prediction: Schalke 2 - 1 Mainz
Kickers Offenbach vs Fortuna Düsseldorf
20:30 CET / 2:30 PM ET - Sparda Bank Hessen Stadium, Offenbach am Main, Germany
Kickers Offenbach are currently midtable in the 3.Liga but will have the home support behind them when they host Fortuna Düsseldorf. I think Düsseldorf's tough defense will be the difference in this match.
Prediction: Kickers Offenbach 0 - 1 Fortuna Düsseldorf
Augsburg vs Bayern Munich
20:30 CET / 2:30 PM ET - SGL Arena, Augsburg, Germany
Bayern Munich will look to win their second Bavarian Derby in Augsburg in less than two weeks on Tuesday. As this is the last match before the winter break, look for Jupp Heynckes to play a mix of regulars and reserves. Augsburg are pretty awful, and Bayern should have no problems knocking in a few goals.
Prediction: Augsburg 0 - 2 Bayern Munich
Wednesday, December 19
Wolfsburg vs Bayer Leverkusen
19:00 CET / 1:00 PM ET - Volkswagen Arena, Wolfsburg, Germany
Bayer Leverkusen had a great first half of their season and will look to cap 2012 with a victory in the DFB Pokal. They'll travel to Wolfsburg to take on Lorenz-Günther Köstner's side that hasn't shown a preponderance for goal scoring this season. Stefan Kießling is the biggest difference in these two sides. He is a consistent scorer and will be a constant threat to the shaky Wolfsburg defense.
Prediction: Wolfsburg 1 - 3 Bayer Leverkusen
Bochum vs 1860 Munich
19:00 CET / 1:00 PM ET - Ruhrstadion, Bochum, Germany
The two 2.Bundesliga sides will face off as the only contest that guarantees a lower division side will advances to the quarterfinals. If Bochum are able to contain Daniel Halfar and Benjamin Lauth, they can pull this out.
Prediction: Bochum 2 - 1 1860 Munich
Borussia Dortmund vs Hannover
20:30 CET / 2:30 PM ET - Westfalenstadion, Dortmund, Germany
The defending champions shan't have too much trouble dispatching of Hannover. While Marco Reus has cooled off quite a bit after his blistering start, Mario Götze and Robert Lewandowski have picked up the slack in recent weeks. Hannover continued their inconsistent first half of the season on Saturday with a 2-1 loss to Fortuna Düsseldorf. Earlier this season, they showed they could hang with BVB after a 1-1 draw, so pipping a victory here isn't out of the question.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 3 - 1 Hannover
Stuttgart vs Köln
20:30 CET / 2:30 PM ET - Mercedes-Benz Arena, Stuttgart, Germany
Stuttgart have the opportunity to go into the winter break on positive note, but they'll have their work cut out for them with a Köln side that is currently riding a seven match unbeaten run. We know that Bruno Labbadia's side has the players to beat Köln, but the question will be if they show up for the match. Köln will put up a fight, but Stuttgart will be too strong in this one.
Prediction: Stuttgart 1 - 0 Köln