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Sports

Six of the best bow out in German Cup first round

Bundesliga sides Werder Bremen, Hamburg, Nuremberg, Greuther Fürth, Frankfurt and Hoffenheim all lost to lower-league opponents in the first round of the German Cup over the weekend. That's one-third of the top flight.

A combination of scorching temperatures and the German Cup's special David-versus-Goliath draw system employed in the first round eliminated one in three of the Bundesliga hopefuls on the road to the final in Berlin. Six Bundesliga sides couldn't clear the first fence en-route to the Cup, even though that fence is set intentionally low.

Little Berlin AK 07, a fourth division team, set the contrary tone on Saturday afternoon: they didn't just win against Hoffenheim, they mauled them 4-0 in a game where the Bundesliga side looked more like the "amateurs." The margin of victory was unprecedented for a fourth-tier team against a Bundesliga side.

Karslruhe players celebrate their 4-2 win over Hamburg

Six lower league Davids felled their Bundesliga Goliaths

Newly-promoted Greuther Fürth were the next side to crash out of the competition, losing 2-0 against Kickers Offenbach. Fürth finished the game a player short, and might also have felt robbed by a harsh, but defensible, handball decision that allowed Offenbach to open the scoring from the penalty spot.

Four more outfits choked in Sunday's matches, playing on the hottest day so far this year across Germany.

Werder, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Nuremberg next

Hamburg took on Karlsruhe, themselves a Bundesliga outfit as recently as 2009, on Sunday and looked in reasonable shape early on. But after twice equalizing, underdogs Karlsruhe took the lead in the 78th minute and went on to win the game 4-2.

Werder Bremen lost by exactly the same score-line against another third-division outfit, Preussen Münster. The game went into extra time, with Münster scoring in both extra periods of play.

Nuremberg also played 120 minutes in the searing heat, going to extra time against fourth-tier TSV Havelse and coming off second-best. Havelse scored the only goal of added time to win 3-2.

Phillip Lahm taps Xherdan Shaqiri on the back of the neck after Bayern Munich's 4-0 win over Jahn Regensburg

Shaqiri's showing earned him an attaboy from Phillip Lahm

Frankfurt, evidently not so fresh ahead of their return to the Bundesliga, lost comprehensively in their game against Erzgebirge Aue, who cruised to a 3-0 win against the heavy favorites.

And then there were 12

The draw for the first round pools teams in order to ensure that upper and lower league sides will meet. In return, the underdogs are guaranteed home advantage, and the added ticket sales that can come with a really big visiting opponent. Despite a healthy half dozen upsets, the remaining twelve Bundesliga sides followed the form book.

Schalke knocked five past Saabrücken, Hannover waltzed home 6-1, cup holders Borussia Dortmund scored a 3-0 win, and Bayern Munich rounded out the weekend's action with a 4-0 win away against Jahn Regensburg. New Bayern signing Xherdan Shaqiri scored with his first competitive shot for the club and then set up two more goals - all the more impressive when you consider that he only came off the bench for the second half.