German Cup: Bundesliga teams that could get upset in first round | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 09.08.2019
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German Cup: Bundesliga teams that could get upset in first round

Rarely do all Bundesliga clubs survive the first round of the German Cup, even if they're all playing sides from lower leagues. Here are some top flight teams that could be upset in this year's tournament.

RB Leipzig

Opponent: Osnabrück (second division)

Despite their financial might, Leipzig have had difficulties in the first round of the German Cup. Last year, the Red Bulls trailed Viktoria Köln after an hour before finally kicking into gear. They are also only three years removed from a first round upset to their eastern German rival Dynamo Dresden on penalties.

Osnabrück were the best team in the third division last term and have been following an upward trajectory under head coach Daniel Thioune. Though their resources are vastly inferior to the club they are hosting, the Lily Whites can give Leipzig a decent run for their money.

Schalke goalkeeper Alexander Nübel (picture-alliance/dpa/I. Fassbender)

Schalke goalkeeper Alexander Nübel

Schalke

Opponent: Drochtersen/Assel (fourth tier)

Drochtersen/Assel, currently in sixth place in the Regionalliga Nord, held eventual champions Bayern Munich scoreless for 80 minutes in the first round of last season's German Cup. Eleven of the 14 players that appeared for the fourth division side in that contest remain with the team, though one, midfielder Sven Zöpfgen, is out injured.

Schalke aren't exactly firing on all cylinders coming into the new season. Though results of preseason friendlies are often inconclusive or misleading, losses to Norwich City and Bologna, along with ties against Twente and fourth-tier German club Wattenscheid, certainly are not good results. New head coach David Wagner has his work cut out for him this season, and gis side might have a difficult time during their trip to northern Germany."

Eintracht Frankfurt and SSV Ulm in the first round of last year's German Cup (picture-alliance/dpa/S. Gollnow)

Frankfurt lost to Ulm in the first round of last year's German Cup

Eintracht Frankfurt

Opponent: Waldhof Mannheim (third division)

German Cup winners in 2018, Frankfurt were unceremoniously dismissed by Ulm in the first round a year ago. This year, the Eagles have to travel to Mannheim, who are coming off a 4-0 defeat of 1860 Munich in Germany's 3. Liga.

Having played two rounds of Europa League qualifying, head coach Adi Hütter had to prepare his team more quickly than he did in his first season. However, after losing forwards Luka Jovic and Sebastien Haller to Real Madrid and West Ham respectively, Hütter's side doesn't have the firepower it did last season.

Mannheim haven't appeared in the German Cup since 2003. Given their current form — they have taken seven points from their first four games in the third division — they may like their chances. 

Mainz forward Karim Onisiwo (Imago Images/T. Frey)

Mainz forward Karim Onisiwo may have to replace injured striker Jean-Philippe Mateta

Mainz

Opponent: Kaiserslautern (third division)

Mainz have done tremendously in their quest to remain a consistent Bundesliga side, but their cup record is not the strongest. They have made two cup quarterfinals in the last decade, but been booted out in the first round the same amount of times.

They also recently sold their anchor in defensive midfield, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, to Everton. Couple that with the meniscus injury to top scorer Jean-Philippe Mateta and one could easily perceive Mainz as weaker than the side that finished 12th in the Bundesliga last season. 

Kaiserslautern, a former Bundesliga champion, are currently in the midst of a rough patch. However, they have some homegrown young talents, including winger Florian Pick and defender Carlo Sickinger, that have given them hope. The Red Devils have been knocked out of the cup in the first round in two of the previous three seasons, but with Mainz's current deficiencies, they might like their chances.

Freiburg captain Nils Petersen (imago/Pressefoto Baumann/H. Britsch)

Freiburg captain Nils Petersen has scored 31 goals over the last two seasons

Freiburg

Opponent: Magdeburg (third division)

Freiburg's trip to Magdeburg is their fourth consecutive trip to eastern Germany in the first round of the cup. Though they have triumphed in each of their last three visits east, their victories haven't always come easy — last year, they needed penalties to beat Energie Cottbus.

Magdeburg, who had to completely rebuild their defense after their relegation from the second division, had a rough start to their league season in the third tear. They opened the season with a 4-2 loss to Eintracht Braunschweig, but they have conceded just twice in their last three games since.

It will be a long trip to Freiburg to Germany's northeast — 600 kilometers (373 miles) as the crow flies — and they may have difficulty scoring when they get there.

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