Third-tier club Saarbruecken defeated Werder Bremen 3-1 after extra-time on Sunday to send the top-tier Bundesliga side out of the DFB Pokal in the first round for the third year in a row.
Borussia Moenchengladbach also crashed out to a third-tier team, losing 5-4 to SV Darmstadt 98 on penalties after Branimir Hrgota missed the decisive spot-kick. The match was scoreless following extra-time.
“Hrgota naturally took a lot of risk with his shot,” Moenchengladbach coach Lucien Favre said of the penalty that crashed off the crossbar and landed on the goal-line. “It’s often only millimeters.”
In Saarbruecken, Nils Fischer struck just before halftime for the hosts, before Sebastian Proedl equalized in the 59th minute. Tim Stegerer scored with a deflected shot at the end of the first period of extra-time and Saarbruecken striker Marcel Ziemer sealed the win following a counterattack in the 112th minute.
It was Bremen’s first competitive game in 14 years without Thomas Schaaf as coach and the loss puts immediate pressure on his successor Robin Dutt.
“This is the worst case scenario,” Dutt said. “When you lose your first competitive game as a new coach, then it makes the work more difficult. The fans were really mad, but their anger is justified. It’s also my job to answer questions. There was certainly much to explain.”
There was another upset in the late game, with Nuremberg losing 5-4 on penalties at SV Sandhausen.
Goalkeeper Manuel Riemann was the star for the second-tier side, saving two spot-kicks after the game finished 1-1 following extra-time.
Hamburg SV won 4-0 at fifth-tier club SV Schott Jena, but needed to wait until the 72nd minute for Artjoms Rudnevs to break the deadlock 10 minutes after coming on as a substitute. The Latvian striker rounded the goalkeeper for his second four minutes later, before Rafael van der Vaart and off-season signing Jacques Zoua put added gloss to the scoreline.
Hannover 96 defeated fourth-tier team SC Victoria Hamburg 2-0, thanks to goals from Artur Sobiech in the 69th minute and Szabolcs Huszti in stoppage-time.
Vedad Ibisevic scored with a header in the first half and converted a penalty in the second to give VfB Stuttgart a 2-0 win over BFC Dynamo.
Hertha BSC needed Sami Allagui’s penalty in extra-time stoppage-time to salvage a 3-2 win over fourth-tier side VfR Neumuenster.
FSV Optik Rathenow, another fourth-tier team, took second-tier club FSV Frankfurt to extra-time, but conceded two goals to lose 3-1 in their first DFB Pokal game.
Third-tier team DSC Arminia Bielefeld provided the first surprise of the round by defeating promoted Bundesliga side Eintracht Braunschweig 2-1.
Fourth-tier side SC Wiedenbrueck 2000 caused another shock by beating second-tier club Fortuna Duesseldorf 1-0 with a stoppage-time penalty from Marwin Studtrucker.
Second-tier club SpVgg Greuther Fuerth won 2-0 at fifth-tier side TSG Pfeddersheim.
Matt Taylor was again the star for third-tier club SC Preussen Muenster, who beat St Pauli 1-0 thanks to his first-half strike. The American forward scored a hat-trick and set up another when Muenster beat Bremen in the first round last season.
Eintracht Frankfurt won 2-0 at fourth-tier team FV Illertissen through goals from Spanish forward Joselu in the 64th minute and Sebastian Rode with a fine strike in stoppage-time.