The Five Biggest DFB Pokal Upsets

It’s once again that time of year when Germany’s finest clubs travel to face lower tier opposition to compete in the first round of the DFB Pokal. Most of those games end in convincing wins for the teams playing in the Bundesliga, however, there have been a few exceptions over the years.

The Bundesliga Fanatic has compiled a list of the five biggest surprises during the history of the DFB Pokal.

1. TSV Vestenbergsgreuth vs. FC Bayern München 1-0 (1994/95)

This game is ”the mother of all DFB Pokal upsets,” according to the Bild Zeitung, and you can see why. Bayern’s star ensemble were facing a 3rd tier side from a village of 1,500 inhabitants. Trappatoni chose to give his stars what was supposed to be a nice run out. Players like Kahn, Scholl and the newly acquired French starlet Jean Pierre Papin were all on the team sheet.

However, Vestenbergsgreuth decided to defend low and were doing it well, driving Trappatoni mad on the side lines. The Italian had left his seat after 20 minutes, shouting orders at his players. To no avail though – after 40 minutes, the brave amateurs managed to put together their first attack of the game, and believe it or not, the cross from the right hand side found Ronald Stein, who managed to tuck the ball away causing one of the biggest upsets in the DFB Pokal’s history:

(On a side note: The only player from that Vestenbergsgreuth side who managed to turn pro was Harry Koch, most commonly known and left for his splendid hairdo). The team from Vestenbergsgreuth should later merge with SpVgg Fürth and turn into Greuther Fürth.)

2. SC Geislingen vs. Hamburger SV 2-0(1984/85)

Both Günter Netzer and Hamburg’s coach Ernst Happel freely admitted that the team from the Oberliga was the better side on the day. Happel had fielded stars like Felix Magath, Thomas van Heesen and Manni Kaltz to no avail, as SC Geislingen outplayed their Bundesliga opposition for large parts of the 90 minutes and won a deserved win against the Red Shorts, after goals from Wolfgang Haug and Klaus Perfetto:

Amazingly, Geislingen’s DFB Pokal fairytale didn’t end after their miraculous win against HSV. The team from Swabia faced off against Kickers Offenbach in the next round and managed to pull off a sensational 4-2 win. Their ambition of reaching the DFB Pokal, however, ended abruptly in the next round when Bayer Uerdingen won a hard-fought game by 2-0.

3. Berliner AK vs. TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 4-0(2012/13)

This match was the start to Hoffenheim’s nightmare campaign. Markus Babbel had told the press that only Jupp Heynckes and Jürgen Klopp had better squads at their disposal, whilst Tim Wiese had declared his desire to play Champions League amongst the main reasons for his departure from Werder to Hoffenheim.

The fourth tier side of Berliner AK shouldn’t have presented too big a task for the Hoffenheim pros, but as it turned out, they were the far superior side on the day. Tim Wiese was probably reminded of the time he spent at Werder fairly early on during this match. After the final whistle was blown the former Werder and Kaiserslautern man had picked the ball a total of four times out of his net:

4. FC St. Pauli vs. SV Werder Bremen 3-1(2005/06)

Thomas Schaaf wasn’t too amused by referee’s Felix Brych decision to allow the game between St. Pauli and Werder Bremen to go forward on January 25th 2006. The pitch in the Millerntor was covered in snow, and was a bit slippery to say the least. Bremen’s head coach vented already before the game, telling the media:

”If some of our players get injured today we’ll raise a stink after the match. The pitch is beyond the pale, allowing this game to go ahead is irresponsible.”

The Buccaneers managed to hold Werder to a 1-1 draw during the first 45 minutes. Klaus Allofs and Conni Littmann continued the spat between the two clubs during the half time break after Miroslav Klose had gotten injured during the first half. St. Pauli’s 4-3 win over Hertha during the previous round was already considered to be a miracle, however, there was a bit more magic left to enjoy for the fans of the third tier side. Goals from Fabian Boll and Timo Schultz sealed Pauli’s win on a pitch which probably was better suited for an edition of Dancing on Ice:

5. Holstein Kiel vs. 1. FSV Mainz 2-0(2011/12)

”We shouldn’t have any trouble defeating this opposition even if the pitch is a bit hard,” were Mainz manager Christian Heidel’s words before kick off. The Storch’s had other plans and put in a workmanlike performance, defending their goal well for the entire 90 minutes of the match. Both teams managed to create 3 chances, but only Kiel managed to score, throwing Tuchel’s Mainz out of the competition.

Kiel’s fairy tale ended in the next round when Jürgen Klopp’s Dortmund side proved to be too tough of an opponent to handle.

Tomorrow the Bundesliga Fanatic will present five underdogs competing in this year’s edition of the DFB Pokal which you may want to take a closer look at.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 30-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball and on the @AufstiegPod.

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