Bayern, Leverkusen, Stuttgart, Wolfsburg advance and Zieler saves Hannover in DFB Pokal

Round 2 of the German Cup concluded on Wednesday with few surprises but several more convincing performances from Bundesliga sides. Bayern continued their imperious form against Kaiserslautern while Stuttgart and Wolfsburg both enjoyed comfortable victories. Bayer Leverkusen left it late but got their win in extra time while Hannover narrowly edged their opponents on penalties.  Elsewhere Fortuna Düsseldorf saw off fellow Bundesliga side Borussia Mönchengladbach and both 3. Liga sides Karlsruher SC and Kickers Offenbach eliminated 2. Bundesliga opponents.

Bayern dominant again, Stuttgart and Wolfsburg follow

Unsurprisingly, Bayern swept through to the third round with a very convincing 4-0 win against last year’s relegated Kaiserslautern. Heynckes used the occasion to rest a lot of his first choice players and kept only two on the field that played against Leverkusen on Sunday. Even with their “B-team” Bayern were just too strong for the visitors who went into the game unbeaten in a competitive match this season.  Robben and Pizarro were the stars of the show, both scoring two and assisting the others in a game in which Bayern never had to get into second gear. This is the fifth time since 1997 that Kaiserslautern were eliminated by Germany’s record champions, which was also the last time the Red Devils managed a win in München.  The game gave two of Bayern and German football’s two promising youngsters, Emre Can and Mitchell Weisser, the opportunity for some minutes.  The former started and played very well while the latter made his professional debut coming on for Rafinha towards the end of the game.

Further west Stuttgart too advanced in dominant fashion against 2. Bundesliga’s St. Pauli. Bruno Labbadia gave young up and comer Antonio Rüdiger a start without skipping a beat.  The in form Traore and Ibisevic dealt a double blow in two minutes to go up 2-0 before Hungarian playmaker Hajnal added the third right before the break.  Like Kaiserslautern, St. Pauli looked second class all game long and despite altering their formation for the game never built on their good start to the game.  After a dreadful start to the season Stuttgart are finally beginning to settle and have now gone unbeaten in their last five matches.

Another team that is looking to bounce back from a poor start is Wolfsburg who finally got back to winning ways over the weekend after parting ways with coach Felix Magath.  Against second division’s FSV Frankfurt Wolfsburg looked as though they met their match but Benno Möhlmann’s well organized side could not resist the pressure after their valiant first 45 minutes.  The newly confident Diego was the architect of Frankfurt’s downall in the second half, first getting on the end of an Olic pass to put them up 1-0 before doubling their lead by playing Dost in for his fourth goal of the season ten minutes later. That makes it two wins from two under Köstner as some hope is being slowly restored in Wolfsburg.

Hannover and Leverkusen leave it late while Düsseldorf eliminate last season’s semi finalists

The DFB Pokal is always good for a few surprises and Leverkusen and Hannover nearly found that out the hard way.  Coming off their historic win against Bayern over the weekend, Leverkusen were rightfully in the spotlight but third leaguers Arminia Bielefeld would make it a more difficult night than they would have liked.  Bielefeld shocked everyone when they went 1-0 up just 11 minutes into the game.  The goal woke Leverkusen up though and Hegelar quickly equalized.  Leverkusen then went up through Friedrich in the second half and just when the win seemed sealed Bielefeld surprised everyone again by equalizing from a free kick minutes from the end.  Fortunately for Leverkusen they would not fall victims to a Cup upset for a second consecutive season as Andre Schürrle’s individual class proved too much for Bielefeld in extra time, the German international scoring with a great solo goal to send his team through.

Hannover came even closer to a Cup exit against the unpredictable Dynamo Dresden.  On paper this should have been relatively easy for Mirko Slomka’s men whose home form is one of the best in the country but the resilient and aggressive Dynamo never seemed to give in.  Diouf put Hannover up early in the game but Dynamo hit right back through Bregerie.  The East German side even had chances to go up but could not put them away.  Hannover were the better side in extra time but Dynamo’s stubborn defense snubbed attack after attack.  Ron-Robert Zieler was Hannover’s big hero in the inevitable penalty shootout, saving Dyanmo’s first and last kicks, letting the Hannover faithful breathe a big sigh of relief.

In the only Bundesliga vs. Bundesliga encounter of the 2. Round, Fortuna Düsseldorf overcame last year’s semi finalists Borussia Mönchengladbach. Earlier this season in the league the two Rhein clubs reached a 0-0 stalemate and it was the same tight affair this time around. Gladbach started the stronger of the two sides but Fortuna showed the defensive strength they became known for early this season.  Slowly but sure the hosts got back into the game and were fortunate to be awarded a penalty when Arango slipped and tripped Kruse six minutes from time.  Fortuna though they had the game sealed but Ter Stegen saved Langeneke’s penalty to send the game to extra time.  Fresher legs prevailed when substitute Rafael scored the decisive goal for Fortuna.

3. Liga surprises

In the biggest surprises of the 2. Round, 3 Liga’s own Karslruher SC and Kickers Offenbach eliminated MSV Duisburg and Union Berlin respectively.  KSC, who went into the game unbeaten in their five league matches, outplayed the struggling Duisburg and showed why their opponents remain floundering at the bottom of the 2. Bundesliga.  The decisive goal controversially came two minutes from time from a Kempe header, eliciting protests from Duisburg fans claiming there was a foul.  Referee Tobias Stieler would not hear the complaints though and after eliminating Hamburg in the first round KSC exceeded their expectations again to advance.

A little less surprisingly, Kickers Offenbach overcame Union Berlin by the same 2-0 scoreline they eliminated Greuther Fürth with in the first round.  A largely uneventful game took until the second half to really get going and until the 74th to produce the first goal when Offenbach striker Mathias Fetsch controlled and finished Feldhahn’s cross. Less than ten minutes later they added a second through substitute Vogler.  After starting their season with four consecutive losses Offenbach are now unbeaten in their last 13 matches.

Header courtesy of sueddeutsche.de & dpa

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Cristian Nyari

Cristian is a football writer and analyst living in New York City, fascinated with the history and study of the beautiful game and all it entails. Follow Cristian on twitter @Cnyari

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