10-man Bayer Leverkusen hold on to win DFB Pokal final against Kaiserslautern

Ten-man Bayer Leverkusen bounced back from UEFA Europa League final heartbreak to complete an unprecedented unbeaten domestic double, adding the DFB-Pokal to their maiden Bundesliga title thanks to a 1-0 victory over second tier Kaiserslautern at the Olympiastadion.

The showpiece fixture of the German football calendar has taken a different guise this season, with the heroics of third-tier Saarbrucken clearing the path for Kaiserslautern to become the first 2. Bundesliga side to reach the final since MSV Duisburg in 2011.

Friedhelm Funkel’s men, backed by a sea of crimson red flooding the Olympiastadion’s east side, were determined to make that count, and Daniel Hanslik tested Lukas Hradecky during a frantic opening five minutes for Die Roten Teufel.

Still, the quality of a side unbeaten in each of their 39 domestic outings this campaign was bound to shine through sooner rather than later, and Leverkusen took the lead in spectacular fashion.

Florian Wirtz’s mazy run and saved shot was a warning not heeded by Kaiserslautern, and Granit Xhaka took advantage of some subsequent tentative defending to sensationally curl into the top corner from almost 30 yards out.

The Swiss midfielder's first-ever German Cup goal preceded a flurry of chances for his side, but a second yellow card shown to Odilon Kossounou for a reckless high challenge on Boris Tomiak just prior to the break switched the momentum, and Tobias Raschl’s strike was just inches from making it all even at half time.

As it had figuratively over Kossounou, the red mist also descended literally on the Kaiserslautern end as play got back underway, prompting a lengthy stoppage which may well have taken the wind out of their own side’s sails.

Despite attempts from Amine Adli and Josip Stanisic, Leverkusen couldn’t take advantage and substitute Ragnar Ache unleashed a low drive to force Hradecky into a scrambling save. The Red Devils’ sustained period of attack was only broken by a rapid counter which could not be finished by Jeremie Frimpong, setting up a nervy finale for the newly-crowned champions.

Leverkusen dug in their heels, and the smart introduction of Piero Hincapie gave them some much-needed impetus to take them to their second German Cup win.

Although it wasn’t the thumping victory many predicted, the full-time whistle heralded an achievement perhaps only challenged in German football by Kaiserslautern’s own 1997/98 season - in which they lifted the Meisterschale as a newly-promoted side - immortalising Alonso and his men among the legends of the sport in Germany.

Bayer Leverkusen vs Kaiserslautern match stats
Bayer Leverkusen vs Kaiserslautern match statsFlashscore

Flashscore Man of the Match: Granit Xhaka (Bayer Leverkusen)


您的电子邮箱地址不会被公开。 必填项已用 * 标注