Kevin De Bruyne said Wolfsburg had been inspired by the late Junior Malanda as they rounded off a successful season by beating Borussia Dortmund to win the DFB-Pokal for the first time.
Malanda was tragically killed in a car accident in January and Wolfsburg’s players paid tribute to the Belgium Under-21 international on Saturday, wearing commemorative shirts featuring a green heart with his shirt number, 19.
Goals from Luis Gustavo, De Bruyne and Bas Dost ensured Dieter Hecking’s men, who finished second to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, ran out winners despite Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s opener for Dortmund.
“It was a great game for us,” De Bruyne is quoted as saying by the Bundesliga’s official website.
“We didn’t have a good first 20 minutes and then we played really well for the rest of the first half. We could have netted a fourth in the second half, but 3-1 is fine for us.
“I think Junior Malanda helped us a lot in this second half of the season.
“He was always in my mind and gave me strength for games like these.”
Dost was not surprised by Wolfsburg’s triumph, against a Dortmund team that endured a hugely disappointing first half of the campaign before recovering to finish seventh.
“I had a feeling four weeks ago that we would win,” said the forward.
“We’ve had a better season than Dortmund, but they still managed to take the lead and even had a great chance to score a second goal.
“But we’ve had an excellent season – it’s incredible what we’ve achieved and we fully deserve to win the cup.”
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