Record champions FC Bayern München have reached the final of the DFB-Pokal for the third season running, the 24th time in the club’s history. Bayern edged past Frankfurt on Wednesday night in the so-called 2018 final reboot. On 4th July, they will travel to Berlin’s Olympiastadion to face Bayer 04 Leverkusen, who booked their place in the final the night before with a 3-0 win over Saarbrücken.
"The opposition put us under a lot of pressure in the second half, but in the end we deservedly went through," said Bayern head coach Hansi Flick. "That was the plan – get to Berlin."
Frankfurt tried from the get-go to disrupt Bayern’s build-up play by pressing high up the pitch, but the hosts were unfazed: No more than six minutes into the game, Dominik Kohr was called upon to head off the goal-line after Thomas Müller had seemingly turned Joshua Kimmich’s corner in for the opener.
The chances didn’t end there, two more in the next two minutes followed, but neither Leon Goretzka nor Robert Lewandowski could convert excellent link-up play into a goal. In the 14th minute, however, the penalty area opened up for Ivan Perisic, who put full power behind his diving header to give his team the early lead they deserved.
By the end of the first half, spectators were left scratching their heads over the scoreline. After an all-but open net miss from Coman (24’), a couple of superb saves from Trapp and a last-ditch tackle from David Abraham, Frankfurt could count themselves fortunate to only be trailing by one goal as the teams headed in for the 15 minute break.
The Eagles came out for the second half with intent, first and foremost managing to keep Bayern at bay, but also clawing their way forward step by step. All that was missing was a decent chance.
In the 68th minute, Frankfurt got their reward. Daichi Kamada kept his cool in the area and squared the ball to Danny da Costa, who gobbled up the equaliser. A goal which surely brought a smile to Adi Hütter’s face, not just because his team had drawn level, but because Kamada and Da Costa had only been brought on from the bench three minutes prior to linking up and scoring.
Up until the equaliser, Hansi Flick’s men had struggled to get back into their first-half rhythm, but Frankfurt’s goal triggered a response from the current holders. Alphonso Davies dashed into the area, rolled the ball across the goalmouth, where Kimmich stabbed a foot at it before Lewandowski eventually buried into an empty net (74’).
Frankfurt refused to lie down and came close in the 79th minute as Lucas Torró’s header from a corner glanced over the bar from close range. The visitors gave everything until the last kick to keep their cup hopes alive, but the Bayern backline stood strong and booked their place in the final.