Berlin (AFP) – Dutch striker Wout Weghorst scored twice as Wolfsburg thrashed second-tier minnows Sandhausen 4-0 in the second round of the German Cup Wednesday, despite losing numerous players to COVID-19 in recent days. 

With four players having tested positive for coronavirus in the last week and another three self-isolating, Wolfsburg were forced to list two reserve goalkeepers, Lino Kasten and Niklas Klinger, as outfield substitutes.

Yet the top-flight side cruised to victory thanks to goals from Yannick Gerhardt, Joao Victor and Weghorst, who has now scored 11 goals in his last 11 games.

“My players showed from the first minute that they weren’t going to worry about the difficult conditions and the absentees,” said Wolfsburg coach Oliver Glasner.

Bundesliga side Werder Bremen also waltzed to a victory over second-tier opposition, with USA international Joshua Sargent helping them to a 3-0 win over Hanover.

Sargent scored his second cup goal of the season after Theodor Gebre Selassie gave Bremen the lead, before Manchester United loanee Tahith Chong set up Jean Manuel Mbom to seal the win in the second half. 

Elsewhere, a first-half goal from Sasa Kalajdzic saw Stuttgart to a 1-0 win over south-western neighbours Freiburg, while second-division side Bochum scored a late equaliser to take top-flight crisis club Mainz into extra time. 

In-form Rot-Weiss Essen are now the last fourth-tier side left in the draw after they stunned second-division local rivals Fortuna Duesseldorf 3-2.