On Saturday, Freiburg and RB Leipzig will commence battle at the Olympiastadion, with the DFB-Pokal trophy on the line.
Freiburg are appearing in their first ever Pokal final, while Die Roten Bullen are aiming to go one step further than they managed last season.
|Photo: Steffen Prößdorf, CC BY-SA 4.0|
Freiburg have the chance to lift their first ever major trophy when they face RB Leipzig at the Olympiastadion on Sunday.
Christian Streich's side may have missed out on Champions League football, but with a place in next season's Europa League already guaranteed, Freiburg have enjoyed one of the best campaigns in the club's history.
However, a Pokal win would arguably make the 2021-22 campaign their most successful one in their 118 years of existence.
Road to the Final
Freiburg began the campaign by ousting Wurzburger Kickers to set up a tie with VfL Osnabrück.
The journey to the final could have ended as soon as the second round after Osnabrück sent the tie to extra-time thanks to Lukas Gugganig's late equaliser in the seventh minute of stoppage time before Sebastian Klaas gave the third-tier side the lead in the first half of extra time.
With Freiburg set to crash out of the Pokal Keven Schlotterbeck grabbed a 120th-minute equaliser, ensuring the tie would be decided by spot-kicks. The Breisgau-Brasilianer kept their composure to win 3-2 on penalties, sealing their place in the last 16.
Their passage to the quarter-finals was far less stressful, as Freiburg hammered Hoffenheim 4-1 before another 120th-minute goal gave the Breisgau-Brasilianer a 2-1 victory over Bochum in the last eight.
After reaching the semi-final, the only team that stood between Freiburg and a May date in Berlin was Hamburger SV.
Although their semi-final opponents plied their trade in the second tier, a trip to the Volksparkstadion can be regarded as a daunting prospect for most sides.
However, Freiburg adjusted to their surroundings with an immediate effect, surging into a three-goal lead within 35 minutes. HSV grabbed a late consolation, but nothing could prevent Christian Streich and his players from reaching the Pokal final.
Freiburg will go into the final without the services of Noah Weißhaupt, Kevin Schade and Yannik Keitel, who are all suffering with injury issues.
Leipzig pipped Freiburg to a Champions League qualification spot, and Die Roten Bullen will be looking get the better of the Breisgau-Brasilianer once again on Saturday.
Domenico Tedesco has rejuvenated Leipzig since taking over in December, helping his side reach the Europa League semi-finals, while also clinching a top four finish in the Bundesliga.
Die Roten Bullen now have the chance to cap off a promising season with their first major trophy.
After losing out in the Pokal final in 2019 and 2021, Leipzig will hope that it is third time lucky when they face Freiburg in Berlin.
Road to the Final
Leipzig saw off Sanhausen and Babelsberg 03 in the opening rounds of the Pokal before goals from Yussuf Poulsen and Dani Olmo helped Tedesco's side oust Hansa Rostock in the third round.
After netting seven goals in their opening three Pokal games, Leipzig continued to find the net at will, scoring four goals without reply in their quarter-final clash with 2.Bundesliga side Hannover 96.
The 4-0 quarter-final victory set up a home tie with Union Berlin in the last four, and the encounter started poorly for the hosts, who conceded in the 25th minute. Sheraldo Becker's opener ensured that Die Roten Bullen would have to come from behind if they wanted to progress to the final.
Andre Silva restored parity just after the hour mark, and with the contest drifting towards extra time, Emil Forsberg grabbed the winner in the 92nd minute to book Leipzig's place in the final in dramatic fashion.
Their road to Berlin has yielded 13 goals across their five Pokal matches, while they have only conceded on two occasions. Leipzig will be looking to carry that fine form into Saturday's contest as they bid to make amends for last season's 4-1 final defeat to Borussia Dortmund.
A knee injury could prevent Amadou Haidara from participating in Saturday's final. Meanwhile, Joško Gvardiol has struggled with an injury issue over the last couple of weeks, but the Croatian could return to the starting lineup if deemed fit enough.
|17||L. Kübler ↪86|
|5||M. Gulde ↪106|
|30||C. Günter (C)|
|8||M. Eggestein ⚽ ↪86|
|9||L. Höler ↪79|
|22||R. Sallai ↪79|
|11||E. Demirović ↩79|
|18||N. Petersen ↩79|
|31||K. Schlotterbeck ↩106|
|7||J. Schmid ↩86|
|19||J. Haberer ↩86|
|1||P. Gulácsi (C)|
|2||M. Simakan ↪113|
|27||K. Laimer ↪99|
|44||K. Kampl ↪69|
|10||E. Forsberg ↪61|
|18||C. Nkunku ⚽|
|33||A. Silva ↪61|
|22||N. Mukiele ↩61|
|32||J. Gvardiol ↩113|
|14||T. Adams ↩99|
|17||D. Szoboszlai ↩61|
|25||Daniel Olmo ↩69|