Borussia Dortmund have won the DFB-Pokal for a fifth time, beating Bundesliga rivals RB Leipzig 4-1 in Thursday’s DFB-Pokal final at the Olympiastadion in Berlin. The Saxony club have now lost both of their German cup finals. Their wait goes on for their first ever major honours, while BVB got their hands back on the trophy they last lifted in 2017. Erling Haaland’s goal was sandwiched by a Jadon Sancho brace as Dortmund took a comfortable 3-0 half-time lead. Dani Olmo’s strike brought RBL back into contention with 20 minutes to play, but a late second goal from Haaland removed any doubt.
It was a fast-paced start to the 78th DFB-Pokal final, with Marcel Sabitzer taking aim from the edge of the box to mark the first chance of the game after four minutes, albeit without testing the keeper. The first goal came down the other end moments later though. Marco Reus won the ball in midfield and launched a Borussia counterattack, that was finished off superbly by Jadon Sancho’s curling shot into the top corner (5’).
Dortmund were happy to let Leipzig have the ball and waited for their moments to pounce on the counter. Even when BVB lost possession in attacking positions, RBL struggled to find a route in behind a solid Black-Yellow backline.
The high-pressing nature of both sides meant that the route to goal was short when chances did arise, and a fit again Erling Haaland was the perfect man to pick up the ball and bulldoze his way past last man Dayot Upamecano, before delicately lifting a shot past Péter Gulácsi to make it 2-0 (28’).
RB Leipzig finally found a small opening in the defence when Dani Olmo picked out Alexander Sorloth in the 39th minute, but he could only find the side netting. Dortmund continued to look threatening down the other end and another counterattack required a last-ditch intervention from Dayot Upamecano to stop Haaland from being in one-on-one (41’).
Goal number three wasn’t far behind, however. Haaland was fouled in the centre-circle, but still managed to release the ball to Dahoud, who capitalised on the advantage and played Marco Reus in behind the defence. The BVB captain lifted his head up and squared the ball to Sancho, who had an easy finish into an empty net for his second goal (45+1’).
Germany head coach Joachim Löw gave his thoughts on the match during the half-time interval: “It’s a brutal scoreline. Leipzig have had a lot more of the ball, but Dortmund’s efficiency is incredible.” The trailing side made a double change at the break, with Yussuf Poulsen and Christopher Nkunku replacing Sorloth and Hee-Chan Hwang, while Dortmund swapped Jude Bellingham for Thorgan Hazard.
New man Nkunku had Leipzig’s best chance of the game just 24 seconds after the restart, but he could only hit the crossbar with his first touch. Powerful strikes from Sabitzer (48’) and then Olmo (49’) were too central to trouble Bürki either. RBL were clearly pushing forward more early in the second 45, which of course opened up space at the back and they were lucky that Kevin Kampl was able to get his toe onto a cross before Reus met it in the box (51’).
Leipzig were edging ever closer with their chances. Again it was a half-time substitute who carried the threat, but Poulsen’s shot on the turn took a deflection that sent the ball narrowly past the post (56’). Dortmund were on the backfoot more now, however, with the space that was afforded to them, it was inevitable that chances would fall their way. The BVB bench thought Hazard had made it 4-0 too when Reus squared the ball to him six yards out, but the Belgian’s shot on the stretch went the wrong side of the upright (66’).
At the other end, Leipzig finally got a reward for their hard efforts. Forsberg was left tearing his hair out at first when his shot hit the post in the 70th minute, but a sweet left-footed strike from just outside the box by Dani Olmo one minute later nestled in the top corner and reduced the deficit to two. The Spaniard almost made it a quickfire double as well when Nkunku beat Bürki to a weak back-pass and teed him up, only for Olmo to drag his first-time shot well wide (75’).
With time running out, Dortmund started to keep a rushed Leipzig side further away from goal, and an Nkunku shot that trickled wide of the post was all that they could muster in the closing stages (82’). Breakaway opportunities remained open to BVB and Sancho would have made it 4-1 if he had shot after rounding Gulácsi rather than trying to square the ball to Reus (84’). Erling Haaland then did grab the fourth goal three minutes from time, albeit in peculiar fashion. The Norwegian slipped as he shot, sending the ball looping into the air and wrong-footing the goalkeeper, compounding Leipzig’s misery and putting the icing on the cake as Dortmund lifted the DFB-Pokal for a fifth time.###more###