The two youngest trainers ever to contest a DFB-Pokal final met in Berlin on Thursday evening for the 78th edition of the conclusive match in Germany's domestic cup.
Edin Terzic's (38) initial set of tactics enabled Borussia Dortmund to rush out to a 3-0 lead. Julian Nagelsmann's (33) halftime adjustments enabled RB Leipzig to mount an impressive attempt at a comeback.
Braces for both Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland, however, proved too much and Dortmund captured their fifth trophy with a 4-1 victory.
An immediate re-match of a fixture taking place just this past weekend got off to a similar start insofar as the scoreline is concerned. Captain Marco Reus got die Schwarzgelben off to a high-flying start with an excellent strip of the ball off Kevin Kampl in the midfield in the 5th. Reus then played Haaland forward immediately and the Norwegian quickly fed Mahmoud Dahoud further upfield. A quick shuffle out to Jadon Sancho in space saw the young Englishman try his luck with a quick finish into the far corner.
Dortmund rode high on the early lead, with Reus and Emré Can confidently asserting themselves in midfield and directing traffic expertly. Reus got his team going forward again in the 28th with a nice pickoff of a Hee-Chan Hwang pass. The BVB captain promptly located Haaland, who shook off the tight marking Dayot Upamecano marking and scored a lovely individual goal despite the RB center-halve's physical challenge. It proved an excellent footballing display from Haaland, who kept his touch despite being bumped off the ball.
Leipzig were able to calm matters down a bit and, eleven minutes after Haaland's tally, Dani Olmo and Alexander Sørloth manufactured RB's first real scoring opportunity. The white-clad Norwegian striker nevertheless couldn't find the finishing prowess of his fellow countryman. Sørloth only hit the side netting. Shortly before the half, Dahoud hit a streaking Reus in stride on the left flank. The Dortmund captain continued to look slick with a cross to Sancho at precisely the right moment. Sancho out-deked Marcel Halstenberg before finishing. A VAR review confirmed Reus was not offside.
Both head-aches actually employed changes at the half. Nagelsmann pulled the trigger on a double-swap, introducing Yussuf Poulsen and Christopher Nkunku for his two striker set of Hwang and Sørloth. Terzic brought on Thorgan Hazard for the booked Jude Bellingham. With 25 seconds after the re-start, Leipzig produced a huge opportunity. The subbed on Nkunku hit the post after a nice set-up from Amadou Haidara. Nkunku got another dangerous effort off in the 58th courtesy of some nice set-up work from Poulsen.
Nkunku and Poulsen combined well again in the 64th. Leipzig easily generated enough chances to tie the score up during a very strong run of play. The hitherto silky smooth Reus missed an opportunity to put the game to bed by misplaying a pass to Hazard inches in front of an empty goal. The effort, and the the 4-0, went just wide. Nagelsmann continued to pour on new players, exhausting his five-sub allowance by the 70th minute. Finally, Olmo managed two pull a goal back with a thunderous effort from 20 meters out in the 71st.
Leipzig continued to press in search of a comeback. A Sancho back-pass gifted a chance to Nkunku, but the Frenchman unfortunately slipped before he could take advantage. Mats Hummels would deflect a much better Nkunku effort in the 82nd. Sancho missed a fabulous opportunity to close the game out two minutes later, screwing up a sure-fire hat trick by taking a superfluous touch with no one left to beat. RB Keeper Peter Gulacsi then recovered to keep matters alive.
The goal that would ultimately put the game beyond Leipzig's reach came in the 87th. Somewhat ridiculously, Haaland slipped when lining up a central effort just outside the 18. The Norwegian phenom inadvertently hit the ball off his plant foot. Gulacsi was unable to correct his body posture in time.
Dortmund hoisted the cup for the first time since the 2016/17 campaign under head-coach Thomas Tuchel. They previously won the competition in 1965, 1989, and 2012.
|44||Kevin Kampl ↩62|
|22||Nordi Mukiele ↩62|
|25||Daniel Olmo ⚽|
|8||Amadou Haidara ↩70|
|7||Marcel Sabitzer (C)|
|19||Alexander Sørloth ↩46|
|11||Hwang Hee-Chan ↩46|
|9||Yussuf Poulsen ↪46|
|10||Emil Forsberg ↪62|
|39||Benjamin Henrichs ↪70|
|18||Christopher Nkunku ↪46|
|27||Konrad Laimer ↪62|
|22||Jude Bellingham ↩46|
|8||Mahmoud Dahoud ↩74|
|11||Marco Reus (C) ↩90|
|9||Erling Håland ⚽⚽ ↩90|
|7||Jadon Sancho ⚽⚽ ↩89|
|6||Thomas Delaney ↪74|
|10||Thorgan Hazard ↪46|
|19||Julian Brandt ↪90|
|24||Thomas Meunier ↪89|
|32||Giovanni Reyna ↪90|