June 15th, 2024

Bayern Munich crashes out of German Cup. De Ligt hurt ahead of ‘Klassiker’ with Dortmund

By The Associated Press on November 1, 2023.

SAARBRUECKEN, Germany (AP) – Bayern Munich crashed out of the German Cup in a 2-1 loss to third-division Saarbruecken on Wednesday as coach Thomas Tuchel said defender Matthijs de Ligt suffered a “very painful” knee injury ahead of the weekend’s “Klassiker” against Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern seemed set to cruise through the second-round game when Thomas Müller opened the scoring in the 16th minute but Saarbruecken leveled just before halftime and Marcel Gaus won the game with a deflected shot in the sixth minute of stoppage time.

The final whistle sparked jubilation for Saarbruecken, whose substitutes and staff ran onto the field to celebrate in a huddle with the team.

Canadian international Alphonso Davies started for Bayern.

Dutch defender de Ligt went off in the 24th minute. The only other specialist center backs in Bayern’s first-team squad are Kim Min-jae and Dayot Upamecano, who has missed the last month with a hamstring injury. That meant midfielder Joshua Kimmich dropping back to partner Kim in defence.

Bayern coach Tuchel said it appeared to be a repeat of a knee injury that de Ligt suffered in September which sidelined him for three weeks. “It’s the same knee again, the same capsule (in the joint) again. It’s very painful but there is currently no diagnosis yet,” he said.

Kimmich won’t be an option for Saturday’s “Klassiker” at Dortmund because he’s suspended after a red card last week. Forward Serge Gnabry has been out since September, first with a broken arm, then with illness – but played half an hour off the bench Wednesday – while midfielder Leon Goretzka is recovering from hand surgery. Manuel Neuer played the full game in Bayern’s goal in his second appearance after more than 10 months out with a broken leg.

Ahead of the game, there had been concerns over the state of the field. Saarbruecken’s last home game Sunday had been stopped at halftime because the surface was waterlogged, sparking an intensive effort to drain it in time for Bayern’s visit.

Bayern has now lost in the second round of the German Cup for three of the last four seasons. It’s another cup sensation for Saarbruecken, which reached the semifinals in 2019-20 from the regional fourth tier.

League leader Bayer Leverkusen needed a late flurry of goals to make it into the third round. Coach Xabi Alonso made eight changes to his team in a 5-2 win over third-division Sandhausen, but had to bring key players like Granit Xhaka and Florian Wirtz on from the bench in pursuit of the win.

The game was heading for extra time with the score at 2-2 before Adam Hlozek headed Leverkusen back into the lead in the 85th minute. Two goals from Amine Adli then made sure of the win.

“It’s about progressing and that’s what we did today,” Leverkusen midfielder Robert Andrich said. “In two weeks, no one will ask how we did it. It was a tough game.”

A goal from Marco Reus gave Dortmund a 1-0 win over fellow top-tier team Hoffenheim, which had defender Ozan Kabak sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow card.

American midfielder Gio Reyna started and played 70 minutes for Dortmund for his longest appearance for the club since March. Reyna returned to action last month after a long stretch out after fracturing his leg while playing for the United States against Canada in the CONCACAF Nations League final in June.

Eintracht Frankfurt beat Viktoria Cologne 2-0. Freiburg, a German Cup semifinalist last season, was upset 3-1 by second-division Paderborn as Filip Bilbija scored twice. Second-division Hertha Berlin won 3-0 against top-tier Mainz whose winless run in all competitions stretched to 10 games. Along with Bayern’s defeat, those upsets mean just six teams from the top division will play in the round of 16.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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