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German DFB-Pokal Cup yields more first round upsets and comfortable wins

Wednesday 16th August 2017
In devising a format for the opening round of the DFB-Pokal Cup, the German football authorities hope that lower league teams can create an upset when playing high-profile clubs from the Bundesliga. FC Rielasingen-Arlen and Chemnitzer FC were paired against Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich respectively for the weekend First Round ties, and they were aiming to join the list of giant-killing acts from previous seasons.

For the DFB-Pokal Cup opening games, all Bundesliga teams are drawn to play away fixtures against lower tier outfits from mainly 3.Liga downwards, and in recent seasons Wolfsburg, Ingolstadt and Hamburg have been beaten lower league opposition at the first hurdle. Although the third tier 3.Liga generally comprises fully professional teams, amateur teams reside at the lower levels, and they always retain hopes of hosting the top Bundesliga teams in cup football.

Saxony team Chemnitzer will be featuring in their seventh successive 3.Liga campaign for the forthcoming season and they claimed the ultimate prize when securing a home draw with Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. Chemnitzer were DFB Cup semi-finalists back in 1993 but while the hosts created the first real goalscoring opportunity, their hopes of repeating that 1993 effort was virtually extinguished when Robert Lewandowski netted directly from a free-kick after 20 minutes. Thereafter, the third-tier team were unable to prevent Bayern from scoring four second half goals, as Carlo Ancelotti's team comfortably won 5-0 with suggestions that they were using the game as a final pre-season friendly.

A similar situation developed for FC Rielasingen-Arlen with the sixth division team paired against current holders Borussia Dortmund. Marc Bartra scored the opening goal after just 12 minutes when beating the defenders to a near post cross. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang then helped himself to a hat-trick, but not before the hosts had squandered a decent opportunity with three attackers opposing one Dortmund defender as the visiting defence showed signs of vulnerability ahead of the new league campaign.

Elsewhere in the cup action, Leipzig should have netted more than one first half goal when facing Sportfreunde Dorfmerkingen and missed a penalty, but four goals scored during the second period sealed their berth in the next round.

Yet the opening round of the DFB-Pokal Cup rarely elapses without at least one giant-killing performance and for this season, there were two such occurrences. Hamburg visited VFL Osnabruck currently playing in 3.Liga but they have featured in five Bundesliga 2 campaigns this century. Following their defeat by Carl Zeiss Jena in 2015, Hamburg were hoping to avoid another first round exit and were offered an advantage when home defender Marcel Appiah was dismissed after just 18 minutes. Yet Osnabruck then proceeded to claim a 3-0 lead with just 20 minutes of action remaining before American Bobby Wood netted Hamburg's only goal via a penalty kick.

Augsburg suffered a similar fate to Hamburg when losing 2-0 at FC Magdeburg via two very late goals. The hosts are another 3.Liga team but they were winners of the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1974 following their success in the East German Cup of the previous season. Magdeburg also beat Augsburg at the same stage of the DFB Cup in 2014.

All other Bundesliga teams secured their passage to the second round of the tournament with comfortable victories completed in most cases, but for the lower league outfits in this competition, hosting and perhaps beating a top-flight team in cup action during August remains a realistic prospect.

As previous Augusts in Germany are littered with giant-killing football acts, most Bundesliga teams must fear the DFB-Pokal Cup first round.
John Welsh
I am a freelance sports writer specialising in football covering Premier League, EFL and English non-leagues plus top leagues in France, Germany and Italy. I have written for Inside Futbol, Football Weekends plus football previews for Hong Kong Jockey Club, and I’m also the author of book First Touch, a novel covering the exploitation of young African footballers and their experiences in Europe.

Total articles: 31

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