BERLIN — Bayer Leverkusen easily won its first game without Kai Havertz, routing fourth-tier Eintracht Norderstedt 7-0 in the first round of the German Cup on Sunday.
Germany star Havertz joined Chelsea in the off-season , but Peter Bosz’s team showed no ill effect as it raced into a 3-0 lead after 12 minutes and 6-0 at the break.
Patrik Schick came on for his Leverkusen debut and missed two good chances before rounding off the scoring in the 77th minute.
Norderstedt was among a host of smaller clubs that gave up their home advantage due to the costs of meeting conditions to restrict the risk of coronavirus infections. Up to 300 fans were allowed at Leverkusen.
Some 7,500 supporters cheered third-division Hansa Rostock against Stuttgart, but couldn’t prevent their side losing 1-0. It was the biggest crowd at a German soccer game since the pandemic restrictions began in March.
Freiburg beat third-division Waldhof Mannheim 2-1 after hitting the crossbar three times in the first half. The game was on the verge of being called off after a Mannheim player and another team member — both unnamed — tested positive for COVID-19, but local health authorities gave the green light on Saturday after deeming there was “no increased risk of infection” for remaining players.
Hamburg-based St. Pauli was knocked out by fourth-tier SV Elversberg 4-2, Kiel enjoyed a 7-1 rout against fifth-tier Rielasingen-Arlen – which also gave up its right to play at home – and Paderborn progressed with a 5-0 win over Wiedenbrück.
Second-division Sandhausen defeated fourth-tier Steinbach Haiger 2-1, Darmstadt scored in extra time to defeat Magdeburg 3-2, and Heidenheim lost 1-0 at third-division Wehen Wiesbaden.
Hoffenheim needed penalties to get past fourth-division Chemnitzer FC, and second-division Jahn Regensburg successfully emerged from another penalty shootout against third-division Kaiserslautern.
Schalke was due to host Bavarian side Schweinfurt on Sunday, but the game was called off Friday following a complaint from Türkgücü Munich.
Türkgücü contends it should be playing Schalke as it was the local regional league leader ahead of Schweinfurt when the division resumed after its pandemic-induced break. Bavarian soccer authorities had already promoted Türkgücü to the third division for the new season, making second-place Schweinfurt the best Bavarian amateur side at the time of registration for the cup.
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CiaráN Fahey, The Associated Press