Bundesliga champions FC Bayern München have completed a domestic double, beating Bayer 04 Leverkusen 4-2 in the 77th DFB-Pokal final in Berlin on Saturday night to claim their 20th German cup title. Goals from David Alaba and Serge Gnabry put Bayern on course for glory in the first half, before Robert Lewandowski made it 3-0 on the hour mark. Sven Bender’s header reduced the deficit back to two, only for Lewandowski to complete his brace in the 89th minute. A stoppage time penalty from Kai Havertz did nothing to change the final result.
Leverkusen set up to counterattack against the favourites from Munich, but Hansi Flick’s side were airtight in defence. Instead, Bayer 04 were struggling to keep FCB’s power and pace at bay. Leon Goretzka and Kingsley Coman both had dangerous moments in the opening stages.
In the end, it was a set piece that broke the deadlock. Edmond Tapsoba barged Robert Lewandowski over just outside the penalty area – perfect territory for set-piece specialist David Alaba, who duly curled the ball over the wall and into the top corner after 16 minutes.
Goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky was helpless for the opener, but showed stunning reflexes to prevent a second goal soon after when Serge Gnabry’s drilled cross took a late, goal-bound deflection off Thomas Müller. Bayern were determined to double their advantage though and soon did. A fast-thinking through ball from Joshua Kimmich put Gnabry in behind and he finished low past Hradecky into the bottom corner to make it 2-0 in the 24th minute. Leverkusen couldn’t find a response against the dominant FCB performance, failing to seriously test Manuel Neuer in the first half.
Leverkusen head coach Peter Bosz made two substitutions going into the second half: Kerem Demirbay and Kevin Volland replacing Julian Baumgartlinger and Nadiem Amiri. The changes had little impact on the run of play, as Gnabry almost extended the lead to 3-0, but his low strike was deflected (49’). Bayern continued to control the game and dictate the tempo, Coman laying up to Lewandowski, who fired over on this occasion (55’).
Just as it looked like a third goal was going to arrive, Diaby charged down the right-hand side and squared to Volland, who completely missed the ball and with it a clear opportunity to pull one back for Leverkusen. The trailing side would rue their profligacy moments later at the other end, when Lewandowski latched on to a long ball from Manuel Neuer and fired a speculative shot from 30 yards. Usually a routine save, Hradecky was caught off guard and fumbled them ball over the line.
A flurry of chances followed for Peter Bosz’s side, Jérôme Boateng forced into a last-ditch block to deny Bailey (63’), before Sven Bender directed a powerful header past Neuer to cut the lead back to two goals. Leverkusen sensed a way back into the game, but were lacking in front of goal. Volland once again failed to capitalised on a Diaby cross (66’). At the other end, Lewandowski was unable to double his tally and substitute Ivan Perisic forced a save from Hradecky (75’).
The second Lewandowski goal eventually arrived in the 89th minute, with a deft chip to cap off a well-worked attack, before Kai Havertz converted a consolatory penalty kick with the last kick in injury time.