Mighty 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 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 near Hamburg.
“We can hardly wait for it to start — it’s the game of the century for us,” Drochtersen’s centre-back Soeren Behrmann told SID, an AFP subsidiary, from his desk at a car showroom on the eve of the first-round clash.
A banner at the local church read: “We believe in miracles, we trust in God, we are D/A (Drochtersen/Assel).”
For the superstars of Bayern, it must have felt like another world as the Bundesliga champions toiled for 81 minutes until Lewandowski struck.
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 — and there were plenty of them on the show as coach Niko Kovac started with 11 internationals and an attack boasting Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Thomas Mueller, 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-kilometer (497-mile) trip.
Mueller 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 Joe Linton 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 captains 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.