Friday, June 14, 2024

Kaiserslautern 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen: Xhaka stunner seals DFB-Pokal triumph

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 25 May 2024

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Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen battled past second-tier Kaiserslautern 1-0 on Saturday to win the DFB-Pokal and secure the club’s first domestic double.

Leverkusen missed out on a treble after losing 3-0 to Atalanta in the Europa League final on Wednesday, in what was astonishingly their first defeat of the season in all competitions, after a European record 51-game unbeaten run.

But at Berlin’s Olympic stadium, which will host the Euro 2024 final in July, Xabi Alonso’s side ensured they capped off a remarkable campaign with another piece of silverware thanks to Granit Xhaka’s stunning 16th-minute strike.

The ball rolled out to the former Arsenal man around 25 yards out, and he planted an unstoppable first-time effort into the left-hand side of the net.

They controlled the pace even after they were reduced to 10 men following Odilon Kossounou’s second booking a minute before half-time.

Kaiserslautern rarely threatened after the break, with Leverkusen limiting their opponents to just 0.2 expected goals.

And even though they could not add to their lead, Leverkusen were able to comfortably wrap up their second trophy of the best season in the club’s history.

Data Debrief: Leverkusen join the club

Leverkusen are only the fifth different side to win the double in Germany since the Bundesliga was founded, after Bayern Munich (13 times), 1. Koln, Werder Bremen and Borussia Dortmund.

Xhaka’s strike was a worthy winner. He became the first Swiss player to score in a DFB-Pokal final.

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