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Giant-Killers Claim Bundesliga Scalps

The German League Cup traditionally pits minnows against giants from the very first round. This season's opening games showed once again that league status can mean nothing in knock-out competition.

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Dortmund were lucky not to join those slayed by lower opposition

The German League Cup got underway at the weekend with the first round matches traditionally pairing the lower league minnows at home to the top-flight giants.

1.FC Nürnberg were the first of the big-boys into action in a 32 match program spread over the weekend and were the top flight Bundesliga club through to the second round after a hard-fought 2-1 win at FC Teningen on Friday night.

Other big names were not so fortunate. Borussia Mönchengladbach were sensationally dumped out of the cup by Bayern Munich Amateurs a dramatic penalty shoot-out on Sunday afternoon. After the 1-1 stalemate went beyond extra-time, Mönchengladbach crashed 7-6 on penalties by what is effectively the Bavarian giants' reserve eleven.

Borussia Mönchengladbach joined Hamburger SV as the top-flight casualties from the first round. HSV were beaten 4-2 in Paderborn on Saturday, a result that heaps the pressure on coach Klaus Toppmöller. HSV have already been eliminated from the Intertoto Cup and lost twice in the Bundesliga, including last week's embarrassing 2-1 defeat at newly-promoted Mainz, leaving rooted to the bottom of the league.

Bayern Munich's first team coasted into the second round on Saturday with a 6-0 rout of district league team TSV Voelpke with Paraguay forward Roque Santa Cruz banging four goals past the amateurs.

Top strikers making their mark

Other strikers firing on all cylinders included former Germany forward Carsten Jancker who rang up six goals as Kaiserslautern thrashed fourth-division FC Schoenberg 15-0, and current international star Lukas Podolski who netted all the goals as FC Cologne routed fellow second-division club FC Saabrucken 4-0.

Champions and cup holders Werder Bremen struggled past SSV Jahn Regensburg to record a 2-0 win. Bremen needed a last-minute goal from striker Ivan Klasnic to wrap up the victory after Johan Micoud scored on the hour. "We can't be happy, there was no pace, no push to score a goal," Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf said.

Unpredictable nature of cup action

Elsewhere, Borussia Dortmund survived a 1-0 scare from second-division VfB Lübeck after battling to hold onto Sunday Oliseh's eighth-minute goal, while Bochum also advanced with a 3-1 win against Fortuna Düsseldorf.

VfL Wolfsburg, who beat Cologne Amateurs 3-0, face an investigation into their cup game which may see the Bundesliga side dumped out of the cup despite the victory. A protest has been filed to the German Soccer Federation (DFB) by Wolfsburg's opponents, accusing the eventual victors of playing Marian Hristov, the midfielder who was suspended for three German Cup matches in 2003 while with Kaiserslautern, but had sat out only one game.

The Wolfsburg management are not optimistic of the DFB finding in their favour and appear ready to take what they see as their inevitable punishment. "I accept the blame. I'm expecting the match to be awarded to Cologne," said Wolfsburg manager Peter Pander in a statement to reporters.

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