( dpa ) - Mario Gomez marked his return from injury with a hat-trick as champions VfB Stuttgart scraped into the last eight of the German Cup with a narrow 3-2 win Wednesday over Werder Bremen's reserve team.
Hamburg SV also advanced with a comfortable 3-0 victory at third division Rot-Weiss Essen.
Gomez bagged all his goals in the first-half as Stuttgart breezed into a three-goal lead at Bremen's amateur team, who play in the regional third division.
However Bremen made it tight for the Bundesliga visitors with goals from Marc Heider and Dominic Peitz in the 57th and 69th minutes.
Gomez, who has been sidelined for almost two months with pleurisy, struck in the 29th minute with a crisp left-foot shot, and followed up from close range three minutes later to put Stuttgart in command.
The game looked over when he broke clear two minutes before the interval to claim his hat-trick, but Stuttgart sat back in the second half as Bremen fought back.
Hamburg enjoyed a clear win at Essen thanks to goals from Rafael van der Vaart (6th minute), Piotr Trochowski (52) and Ivica Olic (55).
In the evening's remaining games, Wolfsburg were up against Schalke 04, while second division Carl Zeiss Jena and first division Arminia Bielefeld went into extra-time with the score at 1-1.
On Tuesday, Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich were 5-2 winners at third division Wuppertal, Werder Bremen crashed 2-1 at Borussia Dortmund, Hansa Rostock lost 2-1 at second-division Hoffenheim, and 1860 Munich who defeated Alemannia Aachen 3-2 in a duel between two second division teams.