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German Cup digest: Hertha out, fans return to stadiums

September 14, 2020

The German Cup first round saw the return of spectators in stadiums amid the coronavirus pandemic. Hertha Berlin were the only Bundesliga team eliminated over the weekend, though Hoffenheim nearly joined them.

Eintracht Braunschweig - Hertha BSC
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/S. Pförtner

German Cup first round headlines:

  • Eintacht Braunschweig captain leads upset against Hertha Berlin
  • St. Pauli embarassed by fourth-division Elversberg 
  • Hoffenheim taken to penalties by fourth-division Chemnitz
  • Freiburg's tie goes ahead despite positive COVID-19 tests
  • Schalke's game rescheduled over last-minute court case

Braunschweig beat Berlin: The season has not started well for the self-styled "Big City Club," with Hertha Berlin losing in dramatic fashion to Eintracht Braunschweig. The newly-promoted second-division outfit took the lead after just 63 seconds and held off several fight-backs from the Bundesliga side, eventually running out 5-4 winners thanks to a hat trick from captain Martin Kobylanski.

Hertha remained the only Bundesliga team to crash out in round one over the weekend. Most top-flight sides eased to victory, with Mainz, Gladbach, Cologne, Augsburg and Leverkusen all winning big - although Hoffenheim needed penalties to overcome fourth-division Chemnitz.

Borussia Dortmund travel to third-division Duisburg on Monday night, while up to 10,000 fans are expected at Dynamo Dresden vs. Hamburg. Bayern Munich's tie against fifth-tier Düren has been put back until October.

Shock for St. Pauli: In the absence of further Bundesliga upsets, it left to the second-division sides to make unwanted headlines. St. Pauli were beaten 4-2 by fourth-tier Elversberg, while Erzgebirge Aue also fell to division four opposition, losing 2-0 to SSV Ulm.

And finally: Freiburg's tie against Waldhof Mannheim went ahead despite two people testing positive for COVID-19. Local health authorities in Mannheim determined there was no danger of further infection after the people and those with whom they came into contact were identified.

Meanwhile, Schalke's tie against fourth-tier Schweinfurt was called off less than 48 hours it was set to kick off. That's because a regional court in Munich provisionally ruled that Turkgucu Munich, not Schweinfurt, should have been registered in the competition. The DFB said it would await legal clarification before rescheduling the match.

Moment of the week: The first round saw the long-awaited return of spectators in German football stadiums. Crowds ranged from hundreds to thousands, depending on local hygiene restrictions, as fans were able to experience their clubs in person once more, though some matches were still played behind closed doors.

The biggest crowd was in Rostock, where third-division team Hansa Rostock lost 1-0 to Bundesliga side Stuttgart.

Player of the week: Martin Kobylanski (Eintracht Braunschweig) 
Making his German Cup debut, the Braunschweig captain netted a hat trick in a thrilling 5-4 upset of Hertha Berlin.

Braunschweig captain Martin Kobylanski
Braunschweig captain Martin Kobylanski scored a hat trick against Hertha BerlinImage: picture-alliance/dpa/Revierfoto

Young player of the week: Silas Wamangituka (Stuttgart)
The 20-year-old scored the decisive goal in Stuttgart's 1-0 win over Hansa Rostock. He could have had a couple of assists too had Stuttgart been more clinical in front of goal. Bizarrely, this was the third season in a row in which Stuttgart had been drawn away to Rostock in the cup.

Fußball DFB Pokal | FC Hansa Rostock vs. VfB Stuttgart | Silas Wamangituka
Stuttgart youngster Silas Wamangituka was the hero against RostockImage: picture-alliance/Fotostand/Voelker

Goal of the week: Nico Schlotterbeck (Union Berlin) 
With Union facing a potential penalty shootout in Karlsruhe, Schlotterbeck hit a Nico Giesselmann free-kick on a half-volley into the back of the net. It was the first professional goal in the 20-year-old defender's young career.

12.09.20 Karlsruher SC - 1. FC Union Berlin
Nico Schlotterbeck's half-volley was the decisive goal in Union Berlin's win over KarlsruheImage: picture-alliance/R. Rudel

Result of the week: Braunschweig's 5-4 upset of Hertha Berlin had everything a first round cup tie would want. Kobylanski scored the first of his three goals after two minutes. Hertha equalized before the break before falling apart again in the second half. The result was an early warning sign for the self-proclaimed "Big City Club" that is hoping to improve on an 11th place league finish from last season.

Coach of the week: Daniel Berlinski, Chemnitz. The 34-year-old had only been in charge of Chemnitz for a month and a half, but his side came very close to upsetting Hoffenheim before losing on penalties.

Chemnitz coach Daniel Berlinski
Chemnitz coach Daniel Berlinski nearly led his side to an upset over HoffenheimImage: Imago Images/foto2press

Five-a-side team of the week

Oliver Baumann (Hoffenheim) — Nico Schlotterbeck (Union Berlin), Patrick Herrmann (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Martin Kobylanski (Eintracht Braunschweig), Jean-Philippe Mateta (Mainz)