So many sad people from Freiburg in such a small space, until Saturday in Berlin there was probably only one time in the Prenzlauer Berg district. And probably not even there, besides, people from Swabia have to be used for such jokes.
In any case, the Freiburg football fans had no reason to be happy at the end of a long cup evening in the Berlin Olympic Stadium after the penalty shootout, coach Christian Streich sat on the bench, exhausted: Rasenballsport Leipzig went 4-2 on penalties, after 90 and 120 minutes of play it was 1: 1, won the DFB Cup – and thus won a major title for the first time ever. Christian Günter and Ermedin Demirovic were the tragic figures from Freiburg’s point of view in the penalty shoot-out, because both failed. At Leipzig, on the other hand, all four shooters scored.
The whole atmosphere was quite lively in the sold-out Olympic Stadium with 74,322 spectators, it was the first DFB Cup final in eleven years without the participation of Borussia Dortmund or Bayern Munich. Perry Brautigam carried the trophy into the interior of the Olympic Stadium with Joachim Löw.
A rather unexpected duo. Sure, the connection between the former national coach Löw and the Freiburgers is well known, but the connection between the groom and RB Leipzig has a much more recent history. Of course, the former goalkeeper of the GDR was never able to play for RB, but he was in goal for Lok Leipzig for a year and actually also goalkeeping coach after the re-establishment of lawn ball sports, meanwhile he officially acts as a “club representative”. And of course the groom has also confirmed what the former national coach predicted before the game. “I’m expecting a great game,” said Joachim Löw. “It will be a dramatic finale.”
The game started rather undramatic, but with very committed Freiburgers, driven by a lot of courage and the many supporters from the south. The Freiburg dominance in the stands could not be overheard and overlooked, the fans of the sports club were in the east curve, where the fans of Hertha BSC said goodbye to Bundesliga games in Berlin on Thursday.
It got really loud for the first time in the 19th minute of the game in the Freiburg annex. Maximilian Eggestein threw the ball into the bottom left of the Freiburg goal with a powerful long-range shot. Leipzig protested violently because Roland Sallai had previously bounced the ball from his foot to his hand in the penalty area – but Eggestein’s goal counted according to video evidence.
And Freiburg’s lead was not undeserved because Leipzig simply did not do enough compelling things in the first half and was too half-hearted in the duels. The people of Leipzig seemed strangely inhibited. The assignment in front of their own penalty area was often wrong, Freiburg didn’t hesitate after winning the ball and played happily in depth, but they still didn’t have a really good second chance in the first half.
It was a lively game, but it wasn’t FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund facing each other on the pitch, but two teams from the Bundesliga segment behind the top players from Bavaria and the West.
Leipzig had their chances. Christopher Nkunku missed the Saxons’ best chance in the first half, but he couldn’t put any pressure on the ball in front of goalkeeper Mark Flekken – nevertheless, the Dutchman was already beaten in the Freiburg goal, but Nico Schlotterbeck cleared before the line.
In the second half things looked bleak for the Saxons. Marcel Halstenberg saw the red card after an emergency brake – Lucas Höler from Freiburg would have gone through. In general, Freiburg seemed to have the game under control, but the Saxons were wide awake when they attacked and fifteen minutes before the end of the 90 minutes the score was suddenly 1-1. At the far post, Nkunku pushed the ball over the line after Laimer had previously won a header duel in the Freiburg penalty area.
After that it was hardly noticeable that Leipzig was outnumbered, the Saxons put pressure on and deservedly reached extra time, in which Freiburg were closer to the goal than Leipzig, Janik Haberer, who came on for Eggestein, hit the post and then the crossbar again .
Shortly before the end of the extra time, Freiburg’s Höfler then straddled Dani Olmo, there were protests from Leipzig from the bench – Kampl, who had already been substituted, even saw yellow-red, but referee Sascha Stegemann did not give a penalty.
Freiburg’s coach Christian Streich had motivated the supporters in the east curve again with rowing arms during the extra time break – it didn’t save the Freiburg team from penalties and from a big disappointment. Because now the people of Leipzig had the better end for themselves: the party could start with a delay – there was a medical emergency on the sidelines – and with the presentation of the trophy to team captain Peter Gulacsi.