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Freiburg v RB Leipzig Live Commentary,
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Shots Off Target
Shots On Target
That's all from the Olympiastadion, so thank you for joining us for this absorbing German Cup final and goodbye!
The finalists have come a long way since both were promoted to the Bundesliga back in 2016, but while today's DFB Pokal winners Leipzig may go on to taste more success in the future, Freiburg's miraculous year ends empty-handed - and it could be a while before they are back on the big stage.
Elation for Leipzig; devastation for Freiburg. A dramatic German Cup final ends with a penalty shootout victory for the club founded only 13 years ago, and after all their progress, Leipzig finally have some serious silverware to show for it! It was perhaps fitting that Freiburg's ultimate failure from the spot should strike the bar, as their best chances to win the game within 120 minutes all found the goalframe. They were beaten by 10-man opponents, who made up for their lack of discipline with a resolute defensive display and took their chance when it came, with a flawless shootout victory.
OFF THE BAR! Demirovic strikes the woodwork with a powerful penalty, and Leipzig are DFB Pokal winners for the first time! It's heartbreak for the plucky Black Forest side; Freiburg are beaten!
Henrichs pulls the ball into the bottom-left corner - sending Flekken the wrong way. 4-2 to Leipzig!
Keven Schlotterbeck just evades the fingertips of Gulasci to find the net with his penalty.
Olmo responds to Freiburg's miss by whipping a fine penalty into the left side of the net: 3-1!
MISS! Freiburg captain Gunter is the first to falter; leaning back and thudding his penalty over the crossbar!
Orban puts Leipzig 2-1 up in the shoot-out, as he passes the ball calmly into the bottom-right corner of the net.
Petersen sends Gulacsi the wrong way; slotting the ball in the bottom-right corner.
A confident blast into the top-left corner sees Nkunku opening the scoring in the shootout. A brilliant spot-kick!
As 'The Show Must Go On' blares out across the Olympiastadion, the two cup final combatants prepare for penalties within their respective huddles. The nerves will be jangling, as neither side has lifted the DFB Pokal before!
120' + 3'
FULL-TIME IN EXTRA-TIME: FREIBURG 1-1 RB LEIPZIG
120' + 2'
Flekken scrambles to punch away a dangerous Szoboszlai cross towards the six-yard box, conceding a corner - there is barely time left for Leipzig to take it.
Grifo sends a right-footed shot from the left side of the box high over the crossbar, following a pass from Petersen.
NO PENALTY! After checking the pitchside monitor, the referee sticks with his original descision - Olmo was not fouled, and no penalty will be awarded!
Booked when he was still on the pitch, Kampl receives a second yellow card for his protests about the claimed-for 'penalty' from the dugout.
PENALTY? Olmo breaks into the box and goes down under a lunging challenge from Hofler, and though the referee does not see any merit in Leipzig's penalty claims, the VAR will now check. Tense moments in Berlin!
OFF THE BAR! Freiburg strike the goalframe again, as Haberer puts his laces through the ball to send a swerving volley towards the top-right corner. Gulacsi looks beaten, but it merely strikes the top of the crossbar and is cleared away to safety!
Simakan makes way for Gvardiol in the Leipzig defence.
As Szoboszlai breaks into the Freiburg half, Demirovic chooses to commit a clear foul and is booked.
After Leipzig survive a series of defensive corners, Adams leads a rapid counter-attack, which is ultimately ended by a Freiburg foul.
Simakan concedes a corner, with Leipzig reduced to hanging on for the whistle. Can Die Roten Bullen hold out here?
Grifo has a shot from outside the box blocked behind for a corner, as Freiburg seek a winner.
The second period of extra-time gets under way in the German Cup final!
Having survived a major scare - Gulacsi saving their skins before Freiburg spurned the chance to score with an open goal - Leipzig are close to taking this final to penalties. Nonetheless, Streich is in animated mood before the resumption, and he gees up the Freiburg fans with a passionate call to arms. The trophy's destiny remains very much in the balance.
105' + 1'
HALF-TIME IN EXTRA-TIME: FREIBURG 1-1 RB LEIPZIG
Gulde's race is run, and Keven Schlotterbeck is introduced by Streich for the last few minutes of this marathon final.
SUPER SAVE! Leipzig skipper Gulacsi saves the day, flinging himself to the bottom corner of his goal to tip a low Haberer strike onto the post. The rebound falls to Demirovic, just five yards out, unmarked, but his wild effort zips over the bar and it's heads in hands time for Freiburg. What a chance wasted!
Schlotterbeck raids forward - pressing the Leipzig defence back into their own box - and after he lays the ball off to the right, Haberer drags a shot well wide of the left-hand post from the edge of the area.
Just failing to latch onto a low cross from Mukiele, the irrepressible Nkunku sees the ball trickle out of play. Following his equaliser today, the French forward's record in all competitions this season stands at 35 goals and 18 assists from 52 games.
Tedesco opts for another change in midfield, as Laimer goes off and Adams is sent on.
Freiburg have their 10-man opponents penned into the defensive third, but Leipzig are bravely hanging on - their substitutes have added fresh legs and fresh minds to the equation.
Gulde halts Simakan's attempt to break forward from the back - conceding a free-kick and releasing some pressure on the Leipzig defence.
OFF THE POST! Seemingly in slow motion, a looping header by Demirovic clunks against the frame of Gulacsi's goal and eventually away to safety, following Gunter's cross from a corner. Leipzig escape!
We are back under way in Berlin, as extra-time in the DFB Pokal final commences!
A fraught first 90 minutes of this final comes to an end with the teams locked together at one goal apiece, and even though they are down to 10 men, an improving Leipzig cannot be discounted during extra-time.
90' + 5'
END OF 90 MINUTES: FREIBURG 1-1 RB LEIPZIG
90' + 3'
In the third of four indicated stoppage-time minutes, Leipzig are making light of their one-man disadvantage and continue to push on for a late winner. It looks like we are heading for extra-time, though.
90' + 1'
Mirroring the ill-disciplined nature of his team today, Tedesco is now yellow-carded, after gesturing for a Freiburg player to be booked.
Lienhart pulls danger man Nkunku back as Leipzig launch a counter from deep, and the referee shows him a yellow card.
Henrichs concedes a free-kick in dangerous territory on the right side of the pitch, but Freiburg fail to make anything of the chance.
Having recently been booked, Kubler is withdrawn, and Schmid is thrown on.
More Freiburg substitutions: first, the final's opening goalscorer Eggestein is replaced by Haberer.
CLOSE! Olmo puts a shot from the centre of the box wide of the left-hand post, having received the ball from Nkunku in space.
Flekken makes a meal of punching away a low attempt by Szoboszlai, and a scramble ensues before Freiburg finally get the ball away to safety. They may have an extra man, but their opponents are very much in the ascendancy now!
Yet another Leipzig player finds himself shown a yellow card for dissent - this time, Forsberg is booked for his protestations from the bench.
An awful sliding challenge by Kubler on the increasingly influential Nkunku results in a merited yellow card for the Freiburg man.
Sallai is also replaced; Demirovic is sent on.
Streich reacts to conceding the equaliser with a double change. First, Holer makes way for Petersen up front.
Rising highest in a packed penalty area, Orban managed to head the ball towards the far post for Nkunku to then turn the ball into the net.
LEIPZIG BACK IN IT! Laimer's second attempt at delivering into the box finds the head of Orban near the penalty spot, and the defender's nod down to the back post finds Nkunku unmarked. The prolific forward slides in to force the ball home from a tight angle, and it is now 1-1 in the DFB Pokal final! It's anyone's game!
Hofler concedes a free-kick for tripping Nkunku, and Leipzig have an attacking set-piece opportunity from a central area, 30 yards from goal.
Henrichs wins a free-kick inside his own half, but Laimer proceeds to aimlessly hoof it towards the Freiburg area, and Leipzig's attempts at getting back into this final are already becoming increasingly frantic.
After Nkunku is penalised for making contact with his opponent in an aerial challenge, some more shoving takes place, but the tension is quickly diffused and the game goes on.
Greeted with a hug by opposition manager Streich, Kampl is the latest Leipzig player substituted by the desperate Tedesco, and Olmo will replace him for the final 20 minutes.
Freiburg have been able to get their feet back on the ball, after chasing shadows before Halstenberg's sending-off, and they keep possession comfortably in midfield for a spell.
With an optimistic attempt, Grifo fires well over the crossbar from outside the area.
Klostermann is fortunate not to follow his team-mates into the referee's notebook, as only a free-kick is awarded for his crude trip on a charging Schlotterbeck.
Tedesco also takes off Forsberg, and Mukiele will take his place.
A fruitless final for Silva comes to a premature end; Szoboszlai is thrown on with instructions to become Leipzig's saviour.
Leipzig are losing their heads, as Kampl follows Simakan into the book for verbally assaulting the referee.
SAVE! Freiburg turn up the heat, as Gulacsi is forced to make a save at his near post; keeping out a deflected effort by his compatriot Sallai from the left side of the box.
CLOSE! From a free-kick 20 yards out on the left side of the area, Grifo finds the side-netting with a low, whipped attempt. Gulacsi may have had it covered, but many fans thought the ball had crept in.
For protesting that a possible foul on him just prior to Halstenberg's dismissal went unpunished, Simakan is booked.
LEIPZIG DOWN TO 10! Trying to prevent a rapid counter-attack, Halstenberg hauls back the fast-escaping Holer, and given the lack of cover, the referee decides showing him a red card is the only option! Leipzig are both a goal and a man down now!
Though they are yet to force an equaliser, Leipzig have had 80 per cent of the ball in the first 10 minutes of the second half, and are totally dictating the final at this point.
A slightly desperate long ball forward by Klostermann drifts into the waiting gloves of Flekken deep inside the Freiburg area, and Silva's dissatisifaction at his service so far is plain to see from the striker's body language.
Kampl threads a dangerous low ball across the box from near the left touchline, but no Leipzig forwards gamble on a back-post run and Freiburg ultimately get the ball clear.
SAVE! After an attempt at playing an advantage, the referee blows his whistle to penalise Sallai for a foul on Orban, and from the resulting free-kick, the ball eventually drops to Nkunku in the area. His turn and shot then requires Flekken to fling himself down to make a sharp stop.
Leipzig conceded just one goal in their five matches on the way to today's final, but must now come back from behind if they are to win their first DFB Pokal.
We are back under way in the Olympiastadion!
Eggestein's goal remains controversial, as there was definitely a clear handball in the build-up, but both the on-field officials and VAR agreed that it should nonetheless stand. Nkunku had the best chance to equalise, but Flekken and Schlotterbeck combined to keep the ball out somehow. Freiburg will expect a flurry of attacks after the break, as Leipzig look to get back on level terms, and the Saxony side certainly have several interesting options available to Tedesco on the bench - including Olmo, Angelino and Szoboszlai.
Though Leipzig have edged the possession stats and taken more shots on their opponents' goal, a spirited Freiburg side are good value for their lead at the interval of a close-fought encounter in Berlin. Die Roten Bullen have been off-colour for most of the match, perhaps feeling the pressure of their first DFB Pokal final as favourites, and a disjointed display has invited spells of pressure from Streich's intrepid outfit, who are now only 45 minutes away from their club's first-ever major trophy.
45' + 2'
HALF-TIME: FREIBURG 1-0 RB LEIPZIG
Grifo theatrically earns a free-kick from Nkunku on the edge of his own area; easing the growing pressure on the Freiburg defence. They will be happy to hear the half-time whistle with their one-goal advantage intact.
Schlotterbeck stretches every sinew to make a crucial defensive header from a free-kick into the Freiburg area by Nkunku, and Leipzig have a corner.
Summing up Leipzig's fortunes so far - and drawing raucous cheers from the Freiburg fans - Nkunku overhits a pass out to Simakan when well placed in the final third, and the ball drifts out for a throw-in.
On the left flank, Henrichs wins a free-kick, which presents Leipzig with a good opportunity to load the ball into the box. However, Forsberg's cross from the set-piece is headed away to safety.
Freiburg's attempt at countering from midfield is halted by the assistant's flag, after Grifo's throughball to Sallai finds the latter just offside.
Presented with the chance to shoot from 20 yards, Orban scuffs a low attempt straight at Flekken in the Freiburg goal.
Eggestein seeks a second goal before the break, but his latest effort - from slightly further out than where he scored the opener - trundles harmlessly towards the right-hand post, allowing Gulacsi to complete a routine save.
A barge from Laimer on Sallai sets off a series of scuffles between both teams, as Grifo and Simakan exchange angry words in the centre circle. No further action is taken by the officials, but it is becoming a rather niggly affair in Berlin.
Orban is the latest Leipzig defender to give away a needless free-kick, after he brings down Sallai 25 yards out on the right. Freiburg fail to make much of the set-piece opportunity, though, and the danger is comfortably cleared.
Not content with a one-goal advantage, Freiburg continue to zip the ball about with purpose as they pursue a second - Leipzig have certainly been rattled by the bright start of Die Breisgauer.
Klostermann is penalised for a block on Hofler in midfield, and Freiburg have a free-kick just inside Leipzig's half.
OFF THE LINE! Schlotterbeck makes a vital intervention on the brink of his own goal line, after Nkunku pokes the ball past Flekken towards the target from close range. Great covering by the Dortmund-bound defender!
The goal stands! Freiburg lead 1-0, and the VAR has decided that Sallai's assist did not infringe the rules - a contentious call!
HANDBALL? Will the goal stand, though? It appears that Sallai's touch to set up the goal came with his hand. The VAR will take a look, as Leipzig players surround the referee in protest!
After turning on the ball to evade a defender on the edge of the box, the ball pops and strikes Sallai; rolling into the path of goalscorer Eggestein.
FREIBURG LEAD! Another attack down Freiburg's left ends in Eggestein thumping home the final's opening goal, after a cutback from the left flank is rolled into his path by Sallai, who gets a vital touch on the edge of the area. The underdogs go 1-0 up, and this sets the game up nicely!
Apparently with a gentle push in the back, Simakan eases Sallai off his feet as the latter chases onto a dangerous dropping ball towards the left side of the Leipzig area. He escapes without conceding a free-kick.
SAVE! A fortunate deflection falls back into the path of Forsberg on the left side of the area, and Flekken just about keeps out the Swedish star's drive towards the near post. However, the ball rebounds to Nkunku, whose follow-up is then charged down by a mass of red Freiburg shirts.
After a handful of moments when they were pulled out of shape early on, Leipzig are now prioritising possession, as they probe patiently in midfield.
Sallai troubles the Leipzig defence down the left, and forces Klostermann into a rash tackle, which earns Freiburg a wide free-kick around 20 yards from goal. However, they waste the set-piece opportunity.
Simakan intervenes to prevent Hofler getting a shot in on goal from the edge of the Leipzig box, and concedes the final's first corner.
Having been helped to the touchline, Nkunku has now sufficiently recovered to rejoin the fray, and the game is back under way.
A rugged challenge by Hofler in midfield sees Nkunku left crumpled in a heap, and the game is temporarily paused while he receives medical attention.
An early attack from Leipzig founders in its early stages, as Silva tries a throughball for Klostermann but the latter is caught offside.
We are under way in Berlin, for the German Cup final!
The players are out on the pitch at an atmospheric Olympiastadion, with kick-off now just moments away!
The recent return of Haidara offers Leipzig coach Tedesco a fully fit Leipzig squad to choose from, and Klostermann starts in place of Gvardiol at the back, while Angelino makes way for Halstenberg on the left. French forward Nkunku has already provided three goals and as many assists in the cup this term, and he starts in support of Silva up front.
Following their late loss at Leverkusen last week, Freiburg change the shape of their starting XI for today's final, and the shift to a three-man defence sees Gulde brought into the side at the expense of South Korean forward Jeong. Up front, Grifo’s four cup goals in 2021-22 leaves the Italy international just one shy of Robert Glatzel at the top of this season's scoring chart, while Holer is the competition’s top assist provider with five so far.
SUBS: Josep Martinez, Dominik Szoboszlai, Amadou Haidara, Yussuf Poulsen, Nordi Mukiele, Angelino, Josko Gvardiol, Tyler Adams, Dani Olmo.
RB LEIPZIG (3-4-2-1): Peter Gulacsi; Mohamed Simakan, Willi Orban, Lukas Klostermann; Benjamin Henrichs, Kevin Kampl, Konrad Laimer, Marcel Halstenberg; Christopher Nkunku, Emil Forsberg; Andre Silva.
SUBS: Benjamin Uphoff, Keven Schlotterbeck, Jonathan Schmid, Nils Petersen, Noah Weisshaupt, Ermedin Demirovic, Jeong Woo-Yeong, Janik Haberer, Kiliann Sildiall.
FREIBURG (3-4-2-1): Mark Flekken; Nico Schlotterbeck, Manuel Gulde, Philipp Lienhart; Lukas Kubler, Maximilian Eggestein, Nicolas Hofler, Christian Gunter; Roland Sallai, Vincenzo Grifo; Lucas Holer.
While their opponents may be competing in a first-ever DFB Pokal final in their 118-year history, Leipzig have made the decider for their third time in the last four years. The Saxony side have enjoyed a brilliant 2022, recovering from a sluggish start to the season to finish fourth in the Bundesliga under new coach Domenico Tedesco. Die Roten Bullen also reached the Europa League semi-finals and are now seeking a first major trophy. After losing the 2019 final to Bayern Munich and being beaten by Borussia Dortmund last year, claiming the cup has been on the minds of a talented squad since progressing from the semi-finals, where they overcame Union Berlin thanks to Emil Forsberg's stoppage-time winner.
There is set to be a new name inscribed on the German Cup today, as modest Freiburg take on an RB Leipzig side founded only 13 years ago. An excellent season for Freiburg saw the Black Forest club finish sixth in the Bundesliga to earn a place in the Europa League for next term, and they now aim to lift a major trophy for the first time in over a century of trying. Christian Streich's men overcame second-tier Hamburg in the semi-finals to reach this showpiece occasion in the capital, and are now 90 minutes - or perhaps slightly more - away from glory.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of today's DFB Pokal final between Freiburg and RB Leipzig, at the Olympiastadion in Berlin!