Four games into the season, the Barons are yet unbeaten after two regulation and two overtime wins. Mannheim has already played five games and is one point ahead of Munich.
Last season, both teams split the regular season series 2-2.
German hockey legend Erich Kühnhackl, a bronze medal winner at the Innsbruck Olympics in 1976, anticipates a very close game:
“It’s hard to determine a favorite with two such evenly matched teams. Home-ice advantage won’t be a factor, either. Tonight’s form will be decisive.
“Both teams have good depth on all positions,” the 50-year-old added. “They normally execute their game plans very well. There are a lot of great individuals on both sides, too. But team spirit will be the key tonight.”
Now that Munich’s designated starting netminder Boris Rousson has returned from a two-week-stay in Canada for personal reasons, Barons Head Coach Sean Simpson is yet undecided which goalie will get the call tonight. Backup Christian Künast has looked impressive so far, going 4-0 as a starter, including a shoutout and two penalty shootout wins.
If the decision was up to Kühnhackl, the thriving Künast would remain in net:
“I’d love to see him start tonight. He’s done an excellent job filling in for Rousson. Künast has been one of Munich’s key players so far.”