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Leverkusen win German Cup title to complete domestic double

Update : 26 May 2024, 18:49

Bayer Leverkusen have added the German Cup title to their Bundesliga triumph and completed their maiden domestic double with a 1-0 win against second division team Kaiserslautern on Saturday.

Granit Xhaka scored the winner in the 16th minute with a stunning long-distance shot after a sloppy clearance from the Kaiserslautern defence.

"I’m proud and happy for the players. It’s completely deserved," Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso said.

"Tonight I will drink a German beer."
Leverkusen midfielder Robert Andrich said it was a "great, great feeling," to lift the trophy.

“This moment, when you lift the trophy, it’s simply beautiful."

Leverkusen were down to 10 men since the 44th minute as Odilon Kossounou received a second yellow card for a foul on Boris Tomiak.

But Kaiserslautern weren't powerful enough to capitalize on their numerical superiority, despite an incredible support from their travelling fans.

"Even though we had one more player on the pitch, that makes no difference against this team," Kaiserslautern coach Friedhelm Funkel said.

Funkel’s future at the club, that spent the second division season fighting against relegation, is unsure. But he said the Cup final might have not been his last game with Kaiserslautern. “I would like to somehow maybe keep it going”

This is Leverkusen's second triumph in the Cup after they took the trophy for the first time in 1993. The win comes just three days after the team led by Alonso was defeated 3-0 by Atalanta in the Europa League final.

Kaiserslautern had the first big chance of the game in the fifth minute, but goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky stretched out his arm to deny Daniel Hanslik's effort.

It took them a while but Leverkusen started finding spaces in the Kaiserslautern defence. In the 15th, Florian Wirtz aimed for the goal from short distance, but keeper Julian Krahl made a stunning save. Jeremie Frimpong's header in the rebound went wide.

But the German champions broke the deadlock just a minute later. Ben Zolinski tried to clear the ball away from the box but his sloppy pass turned into an assist for Xhaka, who sent a furious shot into the net from long distance.

Leverkusen got close to the second in the 27th as Alejandro Grimaldo's cross became a dangerous goal chance and the ball went just wide off the post.

Just when things were going well for Leverkusen, they were suddenly down to 10 men after Odilon Kossounou received a second yellow card for a foul on Boris Tomiak in the 44th.

Kaiserslautern almost immediately capitalized from the situation shortly before the break with Tobias Raschl's strike going close to the goal but a bit wide.

The second half was shortly interrupted after it started due to the use of flares and firework in the Kaiserslautern block.

Once it resumed, Leverkusen were the first team to attack and Amine Adli's effort from just outside the box was palmed by Krahl. Josip Stanisic's header from the resulting corner went just off the post.

But with one less player on the pitch, the German champions retreated into their own half. Hradecky was forced to make a huge save in the 63rd to stop substitute Ragnar Ache's strike from distance.

Kaiserslautern, however, failed to threaten Hradecky again after that and were lucky that Leverkusen didn't score a second in the 76th. Frimpong dribbled the keeper but his angle was not the best. He still tried to have the ball into the net, but the Kaiserslautern defence was able to recover and clear it. 

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