Bayern Munich emerged 2-0 victors at Augsburg, but third-tier Offenbach’s 2-0 victory over Düsseldorf in the German Cup provided a shock. Visitors Mainz beat Schalke 2-1 and Karlsruhe went down 1-0 to Freiburg.
Düsseldorf opened their game brightly against Kickers Offenbach but just weren’t effective going forward. They had a first good chance on 13 minutes, but Dani Schahin narrowly missed.
By the second half, Offenbach - who had lost their last four games - had really found their feet. Clearly working out ways to expose the Düsseldorf defense, the third division side was clearly growing in confidence.
Mathias Fetsch hit in the rebound after the ball was blasted at goal by Andre Hahn, keeper Fabian Giefer unable to hold onto it. Stefan Vogler added to the fans’ evident joy when Nicolas Wilden fed through a perfectly timed ball for him, placing the ball cleanly to Giefer’s right into the net. Offenbach now go through to the quarterfinals.
"It was a sensational performance by my team," said Offenbach coach Arie van Lent. "We held out from the first minute to the last and in the end the victory was deserved."
Red for Ribery
Bayern’s win at the ground of their Bavarian neighbors, Augsburg, came despite Franck Ribery seeing red in the 47th minute after a spat initiated by South Korean Koo Ja Cheol in which the Frenchman seemed determined to hit back harder. Koo was booked and Ribery's defensive running mate Dante also saw yellow for their roles in the fracas.
Gomez had already netted from close range in the 26th minute following a Ribery cross. Moments from the break Bayern should have had another goal, when Anatoliy Tymoshchuk unleashed a long-range strike against the underside of the bar. Replays confirmed it had crossed the line, but no goal was given.
After Ribery’s sending off, there were still chances for Bayern and the Bundesliga leaders, unlike Augsburg, were able to convert one. It didn’t happen until the 85 minute though, when Thomas Müller passed the ball across a wide open Augsburg area allowing Xherdan Shaqiri to widen the gap and put Bayern through.
In Gelsenkirchen, visitors Mainz proved skilled from the beginning, staying compact on the defensive and reacting quickly when they had the chance to counter against Schalke.
It wasn’t until the 30th minute, though, that Mainz broke through. With Nicolai Müller and Schalke’s Jermaine Jones both down after competing for the ball, Adam Szalai seized the opportunity. Sending a blind pass left, he found Marco Caligiuri who fired home past keeper Timo Hildebrand from 18 meters out.
Schalke hit back on 75 minutes through a close range finish from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar after he was picked out by Ciprian Marica. That bit of progress was cancelled out, however, when Müller scored eight minutes later after latching onto a long ball. Müller had another disallowed for offside in a narrow but correct call moments later.
There were desperate scenes for Schalke at the end, with Hildebrand leaving his goalposts to go forward, heading a ball that his opposite number Christian Wetklo was forced to parry. There simply wasn’t time though, with Mainz progressing to quarterfinals.
Courageous fightback, to no avail
Another third-tier side, Karlsruhe, picked themselves up well from the shock of conceding a goal after less than two minutes against visiting Freiburg.
Freiburg’s flying start came thanks to Jan Rosenthal, who placed the ball through the Karlsruhe defense for Jonathan Schmid. The Austrian midfielder then nutmegged the keeper from an incredibly narrow angle.
Karlsruhe picked themselves up rapidly, but despite a spirited fightback, especially in the second half, the crucial equalizer proved elusive. Freiburg, who might themselves have scored to widen the gap, go through to the next stage.
In Wednesday's German Cup games, the last before Germany's winter break, Wolfsburg host Bayer Leverkusen, Bochum entertain 1860 Munich, Hannover travel to cup holders Borussia Dortmund, while Cologne travel down the Rhine to take on top-flight Stuttgart.