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Memorable Monday: Early DFB Pokal Exits

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Bayern exited the DFB Pokal before the Semifinal stage in every season between 1986-87 and 1996-1997. We thus start out our journey in 2000, when early exits started becoming a rarity for the Bavarians.

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2000-2001: Adolphus Ofodile had Bayern Munich on the edges against FC Magdeburg when he opened the scoring shortly after the hour mark. Hasan Salihamidžić restored parity but to no avail. In a penalty shootout, Jens Jeremies and Giovane Elber missed for the spot while the underdogs converted all of four of their kicks. Bayern went tumbling out in early November. Of course, they had a little thing called the Champions League to their name at the end of the season to wipe away the hurt or rather, embarrassment, of that defeat. Bayer 04 Leverkusen lasted just one more round, going out in the Round of 16 to Freiburg, 3-2.

2003-04: The team from Aachen gave Bayern a bit of trouble in the past decade including in 2004. Stefan Blank opened the scoring for Alemannia Aachen against a first class Bayern side. Michael Ballack equalized shortly after only for Erik Meijer to send Bayern crashing out late on. In general, that season did not end go for Bayern. They finished second in the Bundesliga and got knocked out of the Champions League early on. As for Aachen, their fairytale run continued. They beat Borussia Mönchengladbach in the semis but lost out to Werder Bremen, 3-2, in the final. Leverkusen were long gone by then, losing in the Round of 16 to (back then) little known Hoffenheim, 3-2.

2006-07: In Bayern's next early exit, Aachen took them out in the third round, 4-2. In the previous round, Bayern had beaten Kaiserslautern narrowly, 1-0. On the day that Bayern lost to Aachen, something rather bizarre happened in the cup. Towards the end of the match between Stuttgarter Kickers and Hertha Berlin, a linesman on the side was hit by an object from the crowd. The Kickers were already down two goals. The officials ended the match early but the result stood nonetheless.

2008-09: In one of the few cup meetings between the two, Klinsmann's Bayern were taught harsh lessons by Leverkusen in the quarterfinals. In the second half, Leverkusen hit Bayern with quick goals from Tranquillo Barnetta, Arturo Vidal and Patrick Helmes. Bayern really were shaken by the quick goals. By the time the third goal went in, there was little time for Bayern to respond although they did try using set pieces and headers. Lucio and Miroslav Klose hit the back of the net twice within four minutes.

With fifteen minutes to go, Bayern started chasing the match wildly. Unfortunately, they left themselves open at the back and a Bayer 04 side which had a sturdier foundation compared to former years sealed the deal through Stefan Kiessling in the second minute of injury time; Bayer 04 went through, 4-2. Leverkusen reached the final only to lose out to a Mesut Özil goal and take home yet another set of runner-up medals.

Only four exits before the semifinal stages in 14 seasons is quite a good record, especially considering the fact that Bayern won the cup seven times in that space. Another early exit seems rather unlikely. If Leverkusen defend as solidly as they did against Atletico in the second leg and attack with as much vigor as they did against Atletico in the first leg, we might have quite a contest on our hands on Wednesday.

Can Bayern keep up their great record?