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German Cup: Where minnows get to swim with the Bundesliga fish

While the new German season officially kicked off with last weekend's Super Cup, it gets underway in earnest with the first round of the German Cup. This is when minnows dare to dream of taking out a Bundesliga team.

Any long-standing domestic cup competition is full of stories of underdogs knocking off teams one, two or three tiers above them in the league setup and Germany's German Cup, which kicks off this Friday, is no different.

Home game a long way from home

Although there is no Bundesliga involvement, the first game of this year's first round is interesting just because of the venue. This is actually the main first round of a competition that starts much earlier, with lower league teams playing preliminary contests just to get this far. Fourth-tier side TuS Koblenz are back in the main draw for the German Cup for the first time since 2011, but despite being the home side against second-division side Dynamo Dresden, they will host the game a long way from home. Their stadium is being renovated and they had a difficult time finding an alternative - more than 430 kilometers (267 miles) to the east in Zwickau. Dresden and their fans will only have to travel 130 kilometers to get there.

Two Bundesliga sides will also be in action on Friday, as Borussia Mönchengladbach travel the comparatively short distance to fourth-tier Rot-Weiss Essen, while Bayer Leverkusen face Karlsruhe. Playing at home, Karlsruhe, who have had a weak start to their third-division season, will be hoping to right the ship with a major upset of a Bundesliga side who haven't won any of their preseason friendlies. Heiko Herrlich will be looking for a win in his first competitive match as Leverkusen's head coach.

Where on earth are these teams from?

The first round can provide a lesson in German geography, particularly when it comes to lower league clubs from places that few in the country have heard of - such as Borussia Dortmund's first round opponents, FC Rielasingen-Arlen or TuS Erndtebrück, who host Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday. Sixth-tier Rielasingen-Arlen may not stand a chance against Dortmund (even without the suspended Ousmane Dembele), but they are out for a relatively good payday when they host their Champions League opponents at Freiburg's stadium.

In all, eight Bundesliga clubs will be in action on Saturday, and they are the clear favorites in each case. Among these, Super Cup winners Bayern Munich venture east to take on third-division Chemnitz in a match that will be officiated by the Bundesliga's first female referee, Bibiana Steinhaus.

Petersen vs. Petersen

It's quite rare that a son lines up against his father's team, but this will be the case in the small eastern town of Halberstadt when Freiburg striker Nils Petersen returns home.

Andreas Petersen und Nils Petersen (picture-alliance/dpa)

Andreas Petersen and Nils Petersen

The 28-year-old spent three of his formative footballing years at Saturday's opponents, fourth-tier Germania Halberstadt - who happened to be coached by his father, Andreas. Anything but a clear victory for the Bundsliga side will be a shock, but who knows what Petersen senior might have up his sleeve?

Six more Bundesliga teams play on Sunday, beginning with newly promoted Hannover traveling to the former West German capital to face fourth-tier Bonn. Despite having returned to the Bundesliga instantly, all the talk around Hannover recently has been about Martin Kind's controversial move to obtain an exemption from the 50+1 rule and take complete control of the club. The question is, will it distract the players from doing their job on the pitch?

Northern derby

Bundesliga strugglers in recent years, Hamburg travel to Osnabrück of the third division in something of a northern derby. Osnabrück will be looking to use their home advantage, while HSV will take confidence from the fact that their opponents are winless in their first three league matches.

RB Leipzig should also have no trouble defeating sixth-tier Dortmerkingen in southern Germany.

The weekend of cup action wraps up on Monday with Schalke's new head coach Domenico Tedesco, looking for his first competitive win since joining the Bundesliga club in the summer. The Royal Blues will play Berlin's fourth-tier side Dynamo, while the capital's Bundesliga club Hertha, take a trip to the coast to take on Hansa Rostock of the third division.

DFB Cup first round matches involving Bundesliga sides:

Friday, August 11

Rot-Weiss Essen vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach

Karlsruhe  vs. Bayer Leverkusen

Saturday, August 12

Chemnitz vs. Bayern Munich

Lüneburg  vs. Mainz

Germania Halberstadt vs. Freiburg

Lehe vs. Cologne

Erndtebrück  vs. Eintracht Frankfurt

Rielasingen-Arlen vs. Borussia Dortmund

Rot-Weiss Erfurt vs. Hoffenheim

Würzburger Kickers vs. Werder Bremen

Sunday, August 13

Bonn vs. Hannover

Osnabrück vs. Hamburg

Dorfmerkingen vs. RB Leipzig

Eintracht Norderstedt vs. VfL Wolfsburg

Energie Cottbus vs. Stuttgart

Magdeburg  vs. Augsburg

Monday, August 14

Berliner FC Dynamo vs. Schalke

Hansa Rostock vs. Hertha Berlin

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