Julian Nagelsmann praised his side’s attitude after getting his RB Leipzig reign off to a winning start on Sunday with a 3-2 win over second-tier VfL Osnabrueck in the first round of the German Cup.
“After a tough pre-season we were lacking a bit of freshness, but we showed a good attitude throughout the game,” said Nagelsmann, 32, after his team squeezed their way into the second round.
Osnabrueck’s Etienne Amenyido briefly cancelled out Marcel Sabitzer’s early opener, before further goals from Sabitzer and Lukas Klostermann saw Leipzig wrestle back control.
Marcos Alvarez’s 74th minute penalty then sparked fears of a late collapse for Leipzig, who were not the only top-flight side to struggle on Sunday.
Eintracht Frankfurt, the 2018 German Cup winners, needed a late hat-trick from Ante Rebic to beat third-tier neighbours Waldhof Mannheim 5-3.
Slow out of the blocks, Frankfurt were left stunned as Valmir Sulejmani struck twice in the opening 11 minutes to put Mannheim 2-0 up.
Last season’s Europa League semi-finalists quickly rallied, however, drawing level through fine goals from Daichi Kamada and Filip Kostic.
Jan-Hendrik Marx’s long-range screamer then put Mannheim back in front, before Rebic struck three times in the last 15 minutes to see Frankfurt through.
Elsewhere, Chemnitz’s penalty shootout defeat to Hamburg was overshadowed by the ongoing scandal over far-right supporters, as fans protested the dismissal of Chemnitz captain Daniel Frahn.
Frahn, who took part in a fan tribute to far-right activist Thomas Haller earlier this year, was sacked last week for his alleged association with neo-Nazi fan groups.
On Sunday, the Chemnitz ultras chanted his name and held up banners bearing his shirt number, 11, in support of their former captain.
Both of Berlin’s Bundesliga teams reached the second round, Hertha and newly promoted Union Berlin seeing off fourth-tier opposition.
Union waltzed to a 6-0 victory over Germania Halberstadt, while a brace from Vedad Ibisevic helped Hertha to a 5-1 win over VfB Eichstaett.
Paderborn, also new arrivals in the top flight, were taken to extra-time by fourth-tier side Roedinghausen before eventually winning in a penalty shootout.
Fellow Bundesliga newcomers Cologne also needed penalties and three saves from goalkeeper Timo Horn to reach the second round after a 3-3 draw with Wehen Wiesebaden.