The German Cup first round usually goes to go to plan, with Bundesliga teams prevailing over lower division sides. But there tends to be at least one big club that comes up short. DW looks at some potential upsets.

By its nature, the German Cup first round does not leave much room for surprises.

The highest-ranked participants, namely Bundesliga teams and the top 14 teams in the second division, do not face each other in the first round. Instead, they travel to the grounds of lower division sides.

However, not every Bundesliga side manages to escape the first round. Augsburg and Hamburg exited last year’s competition early after losses to Magdeburg and Osnabrück. Leipzig and Werder Bremen were victims of a similar fate the season before.

With that in mind, here are some potential traps for Bundesliga teams in this year’s German Cup.

Greuther Fürth over Borussia Dortmund

This upset may seem far fetched considering Dortmund has not lost a first-round German Cup tie since 2005. But BVB has struggled against second division sides in the recent past — four of their last seven cup victories against second-tier sides have required either extra time or penalties.

Greuther Fürth has four points in their first two games and one of the more potent attacks in the 2. Bundesliga. If Dortmund doesn’t bring its A-game in their first competitive match of the season, they might be set for an early exit.

Viktoria Köln over RB Leipzig

The Red Bulls are clear favorites over the fourth-division side, but their schedule thus far has been rather intense. They will have played four Europa League games and traveled to two different countries by Sunday’s cup game in Cologne.

Viktoria Köln has been a contender for promotion out of the Regionalliga West each of the past five years, so they may pose a tougher test than expected. Leipzig are also familiar with first round upsets — they lost to Dynamo Dresden in the first round two years ago.

Energie Cottbus over Freiburg

When German Cup upsets have occurred in recent years, third division sides were often involved.

Back in the third tier after a spell in the regional leagues, former top flight outfit Cottbus have picked up seven points in their first four games and are tied with Preussen Münster for the most goals in the division. However, Cottbus have four straight losses to top division sides in the German Cup, although they came close to upsetting Stuttgart last season before losing on penalties.

Freiburg, who narrowly avoided relegation last year, have one of the longest journeys of all the sides in action. Their hosts could greet their travel-weary guests with a barrage of firepower led by striker Streli Mamba — tied for second top scorer in the 3. Liga with three goals — en route to their first second-round cup berth in eight years.

Erzgebirge Aue over Mainz

Even when they perform well in the league, Mainz are not a very good cup team. They made an exception last term with a run to the quarterfinals, but had failed to advance past the second round in the five seasons prior to that.

Aue has been a solid cup team at home, winning three of their last five cup games as hosts. They have yet to score this season in two league games, but given Mainz’s tendency to concede — they have not kept a clean sheet in the German Cup in three years — the second division side may be able to sneak a goal or two, and maybe even a victory.




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