Last Updated: 18/08/18 8:41pm
Bayern Munich needed a late Robert Lewandowski goal on Saturday to secure a 1-0 German Cup win over Drochtersen/Assel, a fourth-division village side who had described the occasion as their “game of the century”.
In the shock of the day, holders Eintracht Frankfurt, who beat Bayern 3-1 in last season’s final, crashed out in the first round with a 2-1 defeat at fourth-division Ulm.
Drochtersen/Assel, captained by a car salesman and featuring a tax advisor and a stonemason, welcomed Bayern to their village of just 11,500 people, north-west of Hamburg.
“It was an unbelievable match for us. It’s not a defeat — we never thought we’d only lose 1-0,” said Drochtersen coach Lars Uder.
“It is a huge compliment to the team,” he added as pre-game fears his team would be humiliated proved unfounded.
For the superstars of Bayern, it must have felt like another world as the Bundesliga champions toiled for 81 minutes until Lewandowski struck.
“It was a tough game, which can happen in the cup,” said Bayern’s new coach Niko Kovac.
“We didn’t actually want that and knew what to expect. We acted too slowly, but the bottom line is that we are through.”
A roar went up from the sell-out crowd of just 7,800 each time a home player got the better of a Bayern star.
There were plenty of them on show as Kovac started with 11 internationals and an attack boasting Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Thomas Muller and Lewandowski.
Yet Drochtersen created the best chance of the first half at their tiny Kehdinger Stadium when playmaker Florian Nagel tested Bayern’s Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer on 33 minutes.
A frustrated Robben picked up a booking on 42 minutes for a clumsy foul.
Kovac injected some pace for the second half with Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka and France winger Kingsley Coman replacing Mats Hummels and Robben respectively.
Thiago Alcantara smashed the ball against the bar with Bayern’s best chance which took 56 minutes to produce.
The game was held up for five minutes as the pitch was cleared of toilet rolls and beach balls, thrown by Bayern fans, who made the 800-kilometre (497-mile) trip.
Muller finally had the ball in the net on 78 minutes, but the linesman spotted Ribery was offside.
Lewandowski finally broke the deadlock by tapping Goretzka’s shot into the net on 81 minutes to avoid the indignity of extra-time for Bayern.
Brazil striker Joelinton hit a hat-trick for Hoffenheim, who have qualified for the Champions League for the first time this season, in their 6-1 romp at third division Kaiserslautern.
Davy Klaassen, newly signed from Everton, earned a penalty, which captain Max Kruse converted, on his competitive debut for Werder Bremen in their 6-1 victory at fourth-tier side Wormatia Worms.
Belgium midfielder Axel Witsel is set to make his full Borussia Dortmund debut at second-division Greuther Fuerth on Monday.
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