Gerhard Tremmel: Swansea City have a duty to defend the Capital One Cup
GERHARD Tremmel insists Swansea City will take the Capital One Cup seriously — because they have a duty to defend it.
Michael Laudrup's side begin the quest to retain the trophy they won last February with a match at Birmingham tonight.
It is the next challenge in a packed season for Swansea that will see them try to compete on four fronts.
They have so far comfortably coped with the demands of a Europa League campaign, played alongside Premier League commitments.
Swansea got their Group A campaign off to a flying start by beating Valencia 3-0 at the Mestalla and have taken seven of the last nine top-flight points available.
Tonight the workload gets ratcheted up another notch when Laudrup's men enter a third competition.
Some have suggested Swansea might be better off bowing out of the League Cup at an early stage.
To ensure their schedule does not become too cluttered, perhaps it might be better to clear some space on the calendar.
But Tremmel believes Swansea have a responsibility to perform in a tournament that brought them so much glory last season.
"It's one of my best memories," said the goalkeeper.
"Every player dreams of getting silverware so it was one of the great days in my career so far.
"I think we are one round further on this season, so if we win that there are only 16 teams left.
"With a good draw, a home game perhaps, if you get through it's the quarter-final. Then you are not that far away from another final.
"I think we have a duty to do well in this competition, we don't want to let ourselves down.
"We don't just want to give silverware away so of course we will fight for it."
Tremmel is expected to start at St Andrew's this evening as Laudrup again tinkers with his line-up.
The Dane made five changes to the side that won at the Mestalla for Sunday's victory against Crystal Palace.
Tonight there could be even greater rotation.
Neil Taylor is tipped to recover from his thigh injury in time to start at left-back, while Dwight Tiendalli should also come in.
There may be a first appearance of the season for Garry Monk at centre-back.
Alvaro Vazquez could get another opportunity after making his debut at Selhurst Park, while Rory Donnelly is also in the running to feature up front.
"We said from the start of the season that we have great team depth and we have two players for every position," said Tremmel.
"Up front, (Wilfried) Bony and Alvaro are different strikers, but also Michu can join in.
"In the midfield, there is such great competition — I wouldn't want to be in there because you'd never know if you're playing next week.
"In defence we also have very good players."
The former Salzburg stopper is expected get his third run out of the campaign, having previously played away in Europe against Malmo and Petrolul Ploiesti.
Tremmel was one of the stars of last year's Capital One Cup, playing in every round after Laudrup designated him Swansea's keeper for the competition.
He was in goal at Anfield as Swansea stunned Liverpool with a 3-1 win when they first came up against former manager Brendan Rodgers.
The 34-year-old also lined up in both legs against Chelsea, watching on with delight as Michu and Danny Graham silenced Stamford Bridge before Swansea produced a gritty defensive performance at home to progress.
Then came the final at Wembley when Swansea brushed aside then League Two Bradford to win 5-0 and claim the first piece of major silverware in their history.
Laudrup is yet to indicate whether Tremmel will wear the gloves for this year's campaign, though the German is optimistic.
"I would be surprised if he changed his mind now, but you never know, I'm not expecting anything," said Tremmel.
"He makes the decisions and I accept that.
"This competition is the simplest way to get into the Europa League.
"This year it is just five games to the final so that to me is a big, big opportunity."
First up, Swansea face a Birmingham side who have suffered a stuttering start to the campaign.
They are struggling towards the bottom of the Championship after winning just two of their opening eight games.
And the Blues progress in the Capital One Cup has also been laboured. They needed extra time to see off Plymouth before beating Yeovil on penalties.
Despite that, Tremmel is bracing himself for a tricky encounter.
"They won the last game (against Sheffield Wednesday) 4-1 and it's always difficult to play away to a Championship club," he added.
"But we are in good shape. We have a good team and a good squad so I'm looking forward to it.
"We're still at the beginning of the season and I think the games we played before the Premier League campaign started really helped us.
"I think we're up to speed now even though other teams might be struggling.
"But when we are further in the season we will see if we can deal with more competitions."