Depleted Borussia Dortmund shrugged off the absence of more than half a dozen starting players to ease into the German Cup quarter-finals with a comfortable 2-0 win at third-tier Saarbruecken on Tuesday.
Ruhr valley rivals and 2011 winners Schalke 04 crashed out of the competition after slumping to a 3-1 defeat to fellow Bundesliga club Hoffenheim and piling pressure on coach Jens Keller.
Dortmund forward Julian Schieber made the most of a rare start, heading in for the lead and setting up the other as coach Juergen Klopp was forced to field a makeshift first team.
Earlier this week Marco Reus, Sven Bender and Nuri Sahin were ruled out and joined already injured Marcel Schmelzer, Ilkay Guendogan, Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic on the sidelines.
Dortmund, who won the title in 2012, were always in command with youngsters Jonas Hofmann and Erik Durm joining thirty-somethings Sebastian Kehl and Oliver Kirch in an attack-minded formation.
Armenian Henrikh Mkhitaryan set up Hofmann who crossed for Schieber to head in for the lead in the 19th minute and the roles were reversed four minutes after the restart with 21-year-old Hofmann scoring after a Schieber pass.
Dortmund were wasteful in the second half after coming close through Hofmann, Schieber and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as Saarbruecken pulled back deeper.
Hamburg SV also advanced with substitute Ivo Ilicevic pouncing on a deflection to slot in the winner six minutes from time in their hard-earned 2-1 victory over second division Cologne.
The Croatian, who had come on nine minutes earlier, rescued the hosts in the 84th minute when he tapped home after Milan Badelj's shot was deflected to Ilicevic.
Maximilian Beister's spectacular thundering volley from a Marcell Jansen cross had put the hosts ahead in the 42nd minute to spark some life into what had been a mainly tactical encounter.
Second-division Cologne levelled when Adam Matuschyk stole the ball off Tomas Rincon and slotted in after 54 minutes.
The visitors then rattled the crossbar with former Germany international Patrick Helmes' powerful free kick before Ilicevic killed off their hopes and sent Bert van Marwijk's team through to the quarter-finals.
Second division Kaiserslautern also advanced with a 3-0 win at Union Berlin.
Holders Bayern Munich are in action on Wednesday at fellow Bundesliga club Augsburg.
Image: Julian Schieber (R) and Aubameyang (C) of Borussia Dortmund celebrate Schieber's goal against third division club FC. Saarbruecken
Photograph: Ralph Orlowski/Reuters