RB Leipzig have reached the DFB-Pokal final for the first time in the club’s still relatively short history. Currently third in the Bundesliga, they travelled to second-tier HSV as clear favourites, won the game 3-1 thanks to a convincing second-half display, thereby ending Hamburg’s dream of reaching the final for the first time in 32 years.
Twelve minutes into proceedings, Yussuf Poulsen rewarded his superior RB Leipzig side with the opening goal, heading in a Halstenberg corner and ending HSV’s run of 289 minutes without conceding a DFB-Pokal. The visitors clearly had no intention of stopping there: a flurry of chances unfolded, with Pouslen and Sabitzer both hitting the post in the space of ten seconds – it looked like a matter of time before their lead would be doubled.
23 minutes on the clock, RB Leipzig attempt to play out from the back, but Bakery Jatta’s hassling of Kevin Kampl paid off and after winning back possession he almost instantly lifted the ball from distance over a slightly-out-of-position Gulacsi to provide the shock equaliser. An entirely different game of football ensued – a game completely in the balance, but even more open. Chances fell at either end, the most notable to Narey, who got the better of Orban but misplaced his shot from close range with the keeper closing him down fast.
After the restart, there were no immediate signs that either team would take control of the game, nor take the lead. It took a stroke of genius from Kevin Kampl, who lifted the ball beautifully over the HSV defence for Poulsen to swipe across the face of goal, where Vasilije Janjicic did the honours with a somewhat unavoidable own goal.
Now trailing for the second time, HSV could not provide a second answer. As they began to tire, Leipzig’s quality prevailed more and more and in the 73rd minute they were able to put the game beyond much doubt. Having become the third Leipzig player of the night to be denied by the woodwork just moments before, Emil Forsberg drilled in his team’s third past a helpless Pollersbeck.
With 20 minutes still on the clock, Leipzig were back to their best, dictating the play and denying HSV any access to their penalty area. The kind of dominant performance that saw them progress past Hoffenheim and Wolfsburg in the earlier rounds, that has now seen them book their place in the 2019 DFB-Pokal final, writing history for the club.