Winners and Losers from German Cup Round 1
While the Premier League campaign got underway at the weekend in England, the domestic cup competition provided four days of frenetic action-packed excitement in Germany.
Both Bundesliga heavyweights, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, cruised into the next round after 4-1 wins.
Four top-tier sides, including Champions League participants Schalke, slipped to embarrassing defeats against lower-league opposition.
We reveal the winners and losers from Round 1 of the German Cup, including the returning Holger Badstuber and Marco Reus, who both missed Germany's thrilling World Cup success in Brazil through injury.
Winner: Marco Reus
Marco Reus is back. The 25-year-old forward was handed the Dortmund captaincy for the first time, as the German international returned to action just 71 days after a most untimely injury on the eve of the World Cup.
Reus' return is great news for Dortmund fans. The only thing missing now is his signature on a new contract to ward off preying teams around Europe.
Mainz suffered the ignominy of becoming the first top-tier side to exit the competition after a penalty shoot-out defeat at third-division Chemnitz on Friday.
It's been a woeful start for new trainer Kasper Hjulmand early on in his coaching career in Rhineland-Palatinate. Mainz, who finished sixth in the Bundesliga last season, have already said goodbye to the Europa League, embarrassingly dispatched by Greek side Asteras Tripolis in the qualifiers.
The Danish coach desperately needs a win against Bundesliga new boys Paderborn when the league campaign gets underway this weekend.
Winner: Holger Badstuber
Holger Badstuber is back. The central defender lasted 80 minutes, coming through unscathed in his first real test since suffering a hideous right knee injury against Borussia Dortmund in December 2012.
An emotional Badstuber celebrated his comeback some 624 days and four operations later.
Augsburg became the third top-tier side to be dumped out at the first stage, the Bavarians losing 1-0 to Magdeburg from the fourth division.
FCA amazed many pundits by finishing eighth in the Bundesliga in 2013-14, but last season's surprise package slipped to a dismal cup defeat on Sunday in East Germany.
It was hardly the start to the season Markus Weinzierl, the Bundesliga's youngest coach at 39, had desired.
Winners: Dynamo Dresden
Dynamo Dresden sprung the biggest surprise, knocking out Champions League participants Schalke 04 on Monday evening.
The eight-time East German league champions, now languishing in the third division of a reunified German league, deserved their 2-1 success against their top-tier opponents.
This was Dresden's first cup game after enduring a year's ban for fan violence in 2012. It was the first-ever ban of this nature in the competition's history.
Winner: Stefan Kiessling
Kiessling fired five goals in just over an hour against Alemannia Waldalgesheim.
The only downer for the former German international was being sacrificed on 62 minutes for new signing Josip Drmic.
Who knows how many Kiessling would have notched against their sixth-division opponents had he stayed on the pitch?
Four-time cup winners Nurnberg put in a tepid performance against third-division Duisburg and tamely exited the competition after a 1-0 defeat.
Despite being relegated from the Bundesiga last time around, Nurnberg started the season as many pundits' promotion favourites.
Following a calamitous 5-1 derby defeat in the second division against Furth, new coach Valerien Ismael, a former Bayern and Bremen defender, has work to do to quickly turn around the 2007 cup winners' fortunes on all fronts.
Winners: Munster Fans
Lucky Munster fans had the chance to witness five world champions in the reigning cup holders starting line-up.
Mario Goetze opened the scoring on 19 minutes, his first goal since the World Cup winner against Argentina.
Thomas Muller doubled the lead 10 minutes later, his 100th competitive goal for the Bavarians.
Philipp Lahm was the only World Cup winner to leave the stage early, sacrificed with 12 minutes to go with the game in the bag. The 17-time German Cup winners eased into the next round with a routine 4-1 victory against plucky Preussen Munster.
Losers: Armin Veh, VfB Stuttgart
It was an abysmal start for Armin Veh in his second spell in charge of VfB Stuttgart.
The 53-year-old led VfB to the Bundesliga title in 2007 and has high hopes of turning around the Schwabians' fortunes.
However, the three-time cup winners slipped to a dire 2-0 defeat at second-division VfL Bochum.
Winner: Sven Schipplock
Hoffenheim striker Sven Schipplock fired five goals against minnows USC Paloma of Hamburg.
Schipplock was also substituted just after the hour mark, in similar fashion to Stefan Kiessling. This meant that the cup record of seven goals (held by three players—Helmut Schon, Ernst Willimowski and Dieter Hoeness) was never in danger.
Hoffenheim went on to hammer Paloma 9-0, the biggest victory in the first round.
Losers: Schalke 04
Schalke 04 were arguably the biggest casualty as the five-time cup winners were bombed out in Dresden.
Jens Keller's side, who will be playing Champions League football in September, were second best against third-division Dynamo and slipped to an abject 2-1 defeat.
Loser: Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski took a miserable penalty with the last kick of the game against third-division Preussen Munster.
The tame spot-kick could have been a back pass to the 'keeper, and the Polish striker failed to open his scoring account for Bayern in competitive play.
Lewandowski converted seven out of eight competitive penalties at Dortmund. He arguably cannot afford another miss soon with the likes of Arjen Robben, Thomas Muller and David Alaba all ready to assume the responsibility.
It will be interesting to see if Pep Guardiola continues to entrust Lewandowski with penalty-taking duties after his fluffed attempt on Sunday.
Obviously, if the Spanish coach removes this privilege from his chosen striker, this would likely have a negative impact on Lewandowski's goal tally for the whole season.
Winner: Pierre Emerick Aubameyang
It’s been a successful few days for the "Masked Man"—Pierre Emerick Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund.
A bullet header against Bayern sealed the Super Cup and a brace against Stuttgarter Kickers ensured the three-time German Cup winners comfortably progressed into the next round.
"PEA" aka "Spiderman" is spinning his web brilliantly early into his second season with Dortmund.
Follow Mark Lovell @LovellLowdown
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