Second-tier Braunschweig edge past Hertha 5-4 in German Cup

Slideshow ( 3 images )

BERLIN (Reuters) - Eintracht Braunschweig captain Martin Kobylanski scored a hat-trick as the second division newcomers stunned Hertha Berlin 5-4 in the German Cup first round on Friday to kick off the new German football season.

The hosts needed just 63 seconds to take the lead in a hugely entertaining game with a 25-metre free kick from Kobylanski in front of 500 fans who were allowed in the 25,000-capacity arena.

A Jannis Nikolaou header then bounced off the back of Maximilian Mittelstaedt into the Hertha net for a 17th-minute own goal.

Yet Hertha, who had lost their three most recent pre-season games against Hamburg SV, PSV Eindhoven and Ajax Amsterdam without scoring a goal, bounced back, scoring twice in six minutes with Dodi Lukebakio’s header and Matheus Cunha’s effort in the 29th.

Braunschweig went back in front a minute before the break with Kobylanski sliding in to score on the rebound after his penalty was punched away. But Hertha made it 3-3 through Peter Pekarik before Kobylanski bagged his hat-trick with a powerful shot.

Suleiman Abdullahi thought he had killed off any chances of another Hertha comeback, slotting in after a superb Ben Balla assist who found his team mate with a backflick in the air.

Lukekabio fired in his second in the 83rd to cut the deficit again to 5-4 but despite several late chances the Bundesliga club failed to score an equaliser.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Toby Davis