Defending champion Wolfsburg wins in German Cup

Wolfburg won the German Cup last season and is fresh off a Super Cup triumph against Bayern Munich. (Martin Meissner/AP)

BERLIN — German Cup-holder Wolfsburg began its title defence with a 4-1 win at third-division Stuttgarter Kickers, while Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen also easily progressed from the first round on Saturday.

Wolfsburg strikers Max Kruse and Bas Dost scored in the first half, and Kevin de Bruyne made it 3-0 two minutes into the second. Striker Lhadji Badiane pulled one back for the Kickers in the 79th, before Nicklas Bendtner completed the scoring.

Schalke routed second-division local rival Duisburg 5-0, and Leverkusen won 3-0 at fourth-tier Sportfreunde Lotte.

Leverkusen won thanks to Stefan Kiessling’s 15th-minute strike, and second-half penalties from Hakan Calhanoglu and Lars Bender. Lotte finished with 10 men.

Klaas Jan Huntelaar got Schalke off the mark before the 2011 title winners’ task was made easier with the sending off of Duisburg captain Branimir Bajic midway through the half. Michael Ratajczak saved the resulting penalty from Franco Di Santo, but goals from Matija Nastasic and Johannes Geis put Schalke 3-0 up at the break.

Di Santo scored with a fine volley, and Leon Goretzka wrapped it up in the 85th.

Eintracht Frankfurt defeated fifth-tier Bremer SV 3-0, while Cologne won 4-0 at fourth-tier side Meppen, which saw its goalkeeper sent off in the first half.

Werder Bremen needed goals in extra time from Anthony Ujah and Fin Bartels to overcome third-tier side Wuerzburger Kickers 2-0.

Hoffenheim became the first top-division side to be knocked out in the opening round, losing 2-0 at second-division 1860 Munich. Midfielder Daylon Claasen struck in the 51st, and striker Fejsal Mulic sealed 1860’s deserved win in injury time.

Fifth-tier Reutlingen overcame second-division Karlsruher SC 3-1 at home with captain Giuseppe Ricciardi scoring a hat trick through penalties. It was the biggest upset of the day. Referee Robert Kempter handed red cards to three Karlsruhe players, and sent visiting coach Markus Kauczinski to the stands.

Stuttgart came from behind to defeat third-division Holstein Kiel 2-1.

Fourth-tier Viktoria Cologne upset second-division Union Berlin 2-1.

Also, there were 1-0 wins for third-tier Erzgebirge Aue over second-division Greuther Fuerth, and second-division Eintracht Braunschweig over third-tier Hallescher FC.

Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund play lower-league opposition on Sunday.

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