Saturday evening marked the 75th German Cup final. As has always been the case in the last decades, the Olympic stadium in Berlin was the venue for the occasion. This time, Bayern Munich took on Eintracht Frankfurt.
It was a situation unlike any other in Cup history, as Bayern’s legendary coach Jupp Heynckes sat on the team’s bench for a last time (for all we know) and on the other side Niko Kovac, was coaching his last Eintracht game, before taking over the job of his opponent on the night.
The Bavarians were dominant in every aspect of the match, except for their lack of concentration in front of both goals. It was a number of powerful Frankfurt counter-attacks that decided the game in favor of the team from the German banking metropolis.
Croatian international striker Ante Rebic scored from the first such situation to make it 1-0.
Early in the second half, Bayern’s overwhelming dominance seemed to finally pay off, as a Robert Lewandowski shot was deflected into the goal for the equalizer, 1-1!
While the Bundesliga champions continued to be the more active of the two teams, they could not convert that into a lead. So, the usual punishment for dominant teams that do not adequately turn that dominance into goals had to come.
It came once again from an Ante Rebic counter-attack, with less than ten minutes left in regulation. 2-1 Eintracht!
Deep into stoppage time, Frankfurt’s Kevin Prince Boateng fouled Javi Martinez in the penalty area, but the referee refused to give Bayern the spot kick, despite consulting the VAR and viewing the scene himself on the video screen.
Personally, I cannot blame the officials for their decision, as no referee wants to alter the outcome of a big game, much less a cup final in this way, so late.
As Bayern keeper Sven Ulreich stayed forward for his team’s corner kick, Mijat Gacinovic scored the late 3-1, from a counter into the open goal.
It is a shame that the Bayern players did not win the German double for their coach, but neither life nor soccer are naturally fair.