Double despite heated pyro show: Bayer Leverkusen wins DFB Cup with ten men

Double despite heated pyro show

Bayer Leverkusen wins DFB Cup with ten men

First double in the club’s history: Bayer Leverkusen wins the DFB Cup after the German championship. In the 81st edition of the final, an early goal was enough against FC Kaiserslautern. Xabi Alonso’s team played 45 minutes with one man less, and the game was interrupted due to pyrotechnics.

The double winners stormed towards their artistic shooter Granit Xhaka, and Xabi Alonso jumped onto the huge crowd of cheering fans, completely euphoric. As the fans chanted “German Cup winners SVB”, Florian Wirtz and Co. danced completely uninhibited in front of their curve at the Berlin Marathon Gate. Party mode thanks to a dream goal, the high-flyers from Bayer Leverkusen have crowned their historic season with a DFB Cup victory.

In the final at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, the team of successful coach Xabi Alonso defeated second division team 1. FC Kaiserslautern 1-0 (1-0) despite being outnumbered for a long time – the first championship in the club’s history was followed, as expected, by the first double. The exhausted FCK players sank to the ground in complete disappointment, but were then celebrated by their fans for the great fight. “It was hard, of course. You can’t have that dominance anymore. But we had chances and controlled the game, and in the end we deserved to win,” said sports director Simon Rolfes on Sky: “We haven’t really celebrated yet, but today we’ll be celebrating a little longer.”

Three days after the painful 0-3 defeat in the Europa League final in Dublin against Atalanta Bergamo, Xhaka secured Bayer’s second cup triumph since 1993 with his curler from 20 meters (16th minute) – and thus averted the great disappointment in the final stretch of the season. But the Werkself had to tremble after the yellow-red card for Odilon Kossounou from the 44th minute.

For Kaiserslautern – cup winners in 1990 and 1996 – it was the sixth defeat in eight finals. Friedhelm Funkel’s team missed out on becoming only the second second division team after Hannover 96 (1992) to win the title and the fifth lower division club to enter the European Cup.

Oversized devil, erupting pyro volcanoes

Funkel was denied the dream farewell in his last game as FCK coach, but the intoxicating cup season and staying in the second division will be celebrated nonetheless: on Sunday afternoon at the local Stiftsplatz. At the same time, Bayer’s heroes will be welcomed back home – with a motorcade, entry in the Golden Book and party in the BayArena. And the corks can also pop in Heidenheim: thanks to the champions’ cup triumph, FCH has qualified for the Conference League play-offs as eighth in the past Bundesliga season.

In the capital, there was already ecstasy in red in the early hours of the day. Bayer fans got into the mood at Hammarskjöldplatz, and there was a real mass migration, especially from the Palatinate. Well over 30,000 Red Devils fans created a great atmosphere in the best weather on Breitscheidplatz and with a fan march – and the lucky ticket holders also created a home game atmosphere in the Olympic Stadium.

The FCK fans showed an impressive choreography.

The FCK fans showed an impressive choreography.

(Photo: IMAGO/Students)

An oversized devil in front of erupting pyro volcanoes towered over the Eastern bloc as they walked onto the field – and Funkel also exuded hope. “We want to fight to the edge,” said the 70-year-old on Sky before his third cup final as coach.

His 28-year-younger counterpart Alonso rotated five positions compared to the first defeat of the season during the week, providing exceptional player Florian Wirtz with concentrated offensive power in Patrik Schick and Jonas Hofmann. Kossounou also came in, compared to Wednesday – and was identified by the underdog as a weak point.

Xhaka’s shot, Ache forces Hradecky to make a brilliant save

The Ivorian international was only able to stop the first dangerous counterattack by Lautern, who were playing in special white jerseys in honour of the recently deceased club icon Andreas Brehme, with a foul for which he received an early yellow card (3′). Shortly before half-time, referee Bastian Dankert had no choice but to send off the player after a kick against Boris Tomiak.

Before that, Bayer dominated the game under the watchful eye of national coach Julian Nagelsmann. First, Schick’s chances (13th) and Wirtz’s chances (15th) were thwarted at the last minute after a great solo run, but FCK keeper Julian Krahl was powerless against Xhaka’s well-placed shot from 20 meters.

As a result, Bayer, with the lead behind them, did not do more than was necessary – and was punished with a red card. Tobias Raschl narrowly missed the equalizer shortly afterwards (45.+3). “Bayer is nervous,” sang the Lautern fans – and the underdog actually came close to a sensation.

Shortly after the restart, the game had to be stopped for a few minutes because of rockets and massive pyrotechnics from the Lautern block. Then substitute Ragnar Ache forced Hradecky to make a brilliant save (62nd minute), while on the other side Jeremie Frimpong missed the decisive goal (75th minute).

source site-33