SPEAK to Andreas Winkler and you will soon be left in no doubt that the magic of the FA Cup extends well beyond the shores of England.
Back in his native Germany, the Barnsley assistant head-coach retains boyhood memories of watching the showpiece Wembley final on television at his home and, in the here and now, he is hoping to sample the Cup’s allure close up in the flesh.
The Reds must first negotiate two rounds – starting with today’s first-round opponent in Notts County – before booking their place in round three of the competition in early January, traditionally one of the great weekends in the domestic footballing calendar.
And Winkler already has his perfect scenario in mind, a marquee home tie with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the new year which would see the Reds’ all-Germanic coaching team lock horns with their compatriots in charge at Anfield.
Winkler said: “I would like to play against Liverpool. When I was a child, Liverpool was the team. I would like to play them at home.
“The FA Cup is not so different to the German Cup and it has a kind of magic. If you are in the tenth league, you can (potentially) win the trophy.
“I like the Cup as it is real football and win or lose, nothing else. When I was really young, we tried to watch the final as there were not many matches from England on the TV, but we could watch the final in Germany.”
Despite targeting a date with Liverpool, Winkler is equally wise to the propensity for cup shocks and is anxious that the Reds avoid that fate today.
He added: “Cup shocks are not new and it is the same in Germany. It will be a tough match and they (Notts County) have a strong side.”
The FA Cup is not so different to the German Cup and it has a kind of magic. If you are in the tenth league, you can (potentially) win the trophy.Andreas Winkler