* Bremen crash out to third-tier Saarbruecken
* Darmstadt beat Gladbach on penalties (Updates with more results, details)
BERLIN (Reuters) – Werder Bremen joined Borussia Moenchengladbach and Eintracht Braunschweig as the Bundesliga’s first victims in the German Cup on Sunday when they were stunned 3-1 by third-tier Saarbruecken in extra time.
Bremen, once a dominant force in the Bundesliga and playing their first competitive match under new coach Robin Dutt, wilted on a scorchingly hot summer’s day.
Saarbruecken struck twice in extra time after a 1-1 draw over 90 minutes to hand Bremen an inglorious first-round exit, the third year in a row the four times Bundesliga champions and six-times Cup winners have fallen at the first hurdle.
The first round of the German Cup is always a potential banana skin for Bundesliga sides as the draw forces them to play away to lower league teams.
Toothless Braunschweig, newly-promoted to the Bundesliga, had little to offer in their 2-1 defeat to battling Arminia Bielefeld, who took a 36th-minute lead through Sebastian Hille.
Timo Perthel levelled for the visitors just past the hour but Tim Jerat grabbed the deserved winner in the 72nd minute.
Gladbach’s exit was more spectacular with third-division Darmstadt snatching the second-round spot with a 5-4 win on penalties following a goalless draw.
Hanover 96 scored twice late in their game to edge past fourth-division Victoria Hamburg 2-0 while Hamburg SV’s Artjoms Rudnevs struck twice in their 4-0 win over Schott Jena.
VfB Stuttgart did the bare minimum to clinch a trouble-free 2-0 win in Berlin over Dynamo while the capital’s top club, Hertha, edged past fourth-tier Neumunster 3-2 in extra time.
On Saturday, Borussia Dortmund left it late against fourth-tier Wilhelmshaven, scoring three times in the final 19 minutes to clinch a 3-0 win and book their spot in the second round.
Holders Bayern Munich are in action on Monday against fourth-tier BSV Rehden.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Clare Fallon and Brian Homewood)