Top clubs lick cup wounds as Bundesliga looms
BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
Muenster players celebrate after the first round German soccer cup match between Preussen Muenster and SV Werder Bremen in Muenster, northern Germany, Sunday Aug. 19, 2012. AP photo
With the Bundesliga set to celebrate its 50th year when the new season starts Friday, six of Germany's top teams go into the new campaign licking their wounds following first-round German Cup defeats.
The Bundesliga celebrates its half-century on Friday when defending champions Borussia Dortmund host Werder Bremen.
But when the first round of German Cup fixtures took place over the weekend and Monday, Hamburg, Werder Bremen, Hoffenheim, Nuremberg as well as newly promoted Greuther Fuerth and Eintracht Frankfurt suffered shock defeats.
The biggest upset came in the capital where Hoffenheim were routed 4-0 by fourth-division Berliner AK 07 on Saturday, the same day third-division Kickers Offenbach beat Fuerth 2-0.
The Bundesliga's weekend of red faces continued Sunday as third-division Preussen Muenster saw off Werder Bremen 4-2 after extra-time while second division Erzgebirge Aue enjoyed a 3-0 hammering of Eintracht Frankfurt.
The upsets kept coming as Hamburg crashed 4-2 at third-division Karlsruhe, while Nuremberg lost 3-2 after extra-time at fourth-division TSV Havelse near Hanover.
There were no such problems for defending champions Borussia Dortmund who won 3-0 at Bremen-based FC Oberneuland on Saturday, while Bayern Munich, who lost May's final to Dortmund in Berlin, enjoyed a 4-0 win at second-division Jahn Regensburg on Monday night.
A first-round exit is not only embarrassing, it has financial implications in lost revenue.
"Financially, we now have a completely new situation, because we expected to get into the second round," admitted Bremen's director of sport Klaus Allofs. "The funds are no longer available so we have to look at what is realistic." Bremen are reported to have cooled their interest in FC Brugge's Nigeria striker striker Joseph Akpala because of the financial implications of their defeat.
Having fallen short in their projected target of reaching the third round, Hamburg expect to lose out on 1.4 million euros ($1.74 million) in revenue following their defeat at Karlsruhe.
An early exit can also rob a team of precious confidence before the league begins.
"What makes me very concerned is the body language of some of my players. I didn't like that," said Nuremberg coach Dieter Hecking, after his team's dismal defeat at Havelse.