Wednesday, August 12, 2020

DFB Cup: David Alaba or nothing – Bayern Munich wins 20th title

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The early course: A free kick from a half-right position, just under 20 meters away. David Alaba unsustainably lifted the ball after a short attempt – the 1-0 after 16 minutes. Not a tension killer, but still a clear sign of where the evening should go.

The result: FC Bayern Munich won the final in the DFB Cup 4-2 (2-0) against Bayer Leverkusen and won their 20th title. Here is the match report.

The first half: The first ten minutes were pleasantly wild. Both teams were keen to get lost balls back into their own possession as quickly as possible. Then the game tipped in the direction of Bayern, who acted highly concentrated. Edmond Tapsoba jumped Robert Lewandowski unnecessarily into the cross – the following free kick led to 1: 0 (16th minute). In the 24th minute Bayer lost the ball in midfield, via Joshua Kimmich he immediately came to Serge Gnabry, who finished from a right-wing position in the far corner (24th). Kingsley Coman (10th) and Thomas Müller (21st) missed other good opportunities.

Alaba or nothing: When Thiago came to Bayern in 2013, the then coach Pep Guardiola had formulated his claims for potential access with “Thiago or nothing”. Now Thiago’s time at FCB is coming to an end, the signs are goodbye. Internal successor in central midfield could be Alaba, who this season mutated from a world-class left-back to a world-class center-back. Can he finally move to his favorite position at 28? Problem: Just like with Thiago, his current contract expires in 2021, an extension is difficult. From Bavaria’s point of view it can only be called “Alaba or nothing”.

The second half: After a sharp cross from Moussa Diaby, Kevin Volland stood freestanding in front of Manuel Neuer over the ball (56th), on the other hand Lewandowski simply pulled off – Lukas Hradecky unhappily put the ball into his own net (59th). Bitter for the Finn, who was still significantly involved in the cup win of Frankfurt Eintracht against FC Bayern in 2018. Sven Bender reduced the header to 1: 3 (63.), Lewandowski again saved Bayern after 20 strong Leverkusen minutes including numerous opportunities – the 4: 1 in the 89th minute was his 51st competitive goal in the 43rd season game. Kai Havertz brought the final point with a transformed penalty (90. + 5).

Flick vs Bosz: Bayern coach Hans-Dieter Flick was able to celebrate the first DFB Cup victory as a coach after his first German championship. As a player, he had already been part of the Bayern squad that won the DFB Cup in 1986. His opponent Peter Bosz ended a series: As the first Dutch coach in a DFB Cup final after Rinus Michels, Huub Stevens and Louis van Gaal, he had to suffer a defeat. Bayer has remained without a title since the 1993 cup victory.

Time for records: Thomas Müller played his eighth cup final, drawing level with the previous record holder, Franck Ribéry. Lewandowski is at the top alone – the Pole has been the top scorer in the competition for the fifth time, no professional has achieved this before. He was the first player to score in four different cup finals – a total of eight times.

An opponent in focus: Kai Havertz will not (yet) switch to Bayern. A transfer in addition to the obligation of Leroy Sané is not financially possible, confirmed Bayern boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. In the final, the coveted 21-year-old found it extremely difficult. As false nine – he knew how to please the position in the Bundesliga – he was completely logged out in the first 45 minutes, after taking in Volland and Kerem Demirbay, he acted withdrawn much more conspicuously, his colleagues had his accuracy in the 2: 4 penalty can use well in the second half.

The outlook: Season finals cup final? Not this year. Bayern will continue in the Champions League against Chelsea on August 8, while Leverkusen will meet the Rangers in the Europa League on August 6. Despite the fifth place in the Bundesliga, the window to the Champions League is still a bit open for the Bosz team – the winner of the Europa League may also compete in the largest European club competition in 2020/2021.

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