RB Leipzig claim DFB Pokal in penalty shootout
The 2022 edition of the DFB Pokal featured two clubs that have never won a major piece of silverware, never mind a German Cup trophy.
RB Leipzig were hoping third time’s charm after two failed attempts. Freiburg, the underdogs, were looking to make some noise in their first DFB Pokal Final.
A jam-packed Olympiastadion in Berlin was a spectacle to see and great to hear an amazing atmosphere to kick off the match.
To start, there was a feeling out process between both clubs, the first piece of action not coming until minute 7. Freiburg earned the first corner kick of the match, and they led the Bundesliga in goals off corner kicks with 9.
In minute 19, the first shot on target turned into a goal for Freiburg. There was some controversy due to a possible hand ball, but after review, the goal stood. Maximilian Eggestein produced the goal and Freiburg were on the board first.
End-to-end action pickup up and moments later, RB Leipzig had a glorious chance to level the match. But in his final appearance for Freiburg, Nico Schlotterbeck made a heroic goal line clearance to preserve the 1-0 lead.
At the break, Freiburg had protected the lead with compact defense, not giving RB Leipzig any space to create anything of importance. The 2022 Bundesliga Player of the Year, Christopher Nkunku, was pretty quiet through one half of action.
After a positive start for Leipzig to open the second half, Freiburg appeared content to sit back and defend the 1-0 lead the rest of the way. Then disaster struck in the form of a red card for Leipzig’s Marcel Halstenberg. A gut-wrenching moment for RB Leipzig fans who’d had their hearts broken in two previous DFB Pokal finals.
In minute 75, it was game on as Nkunku made a great sliding tap-in to knot the score and give a boost of confidence to the 10-man side. Freiburg, a dangerous team off set pieces, had allowed Leipzig to equalize on a set piece. Minutes later, another set piece by Leipzig created another dangerous scoring chance as Freiburg had their “bend don’t break” defensive moments.
For a third time this year, RB Leipzig and Freiburg drew 1-1 after 90 minutes of play. But in the German Cup Final, on they went into overtime.
Even down to 10 men, Leipzig had the momentum in the early stages. Freiburg would go on to hit the post three times in extra time, allowing Leipzig to hang around.
Red Bull made a claim for a penalty when Dani Olmo was brought down inside the box, but after a VAR review, no damage was done. The Cup winner would be decided via penalty kicks.
RB Leipzig ended up winning 4-2 on penalties, claiming their first trophy in the club’s 13-year history having lost two of the previous three cup finals. Leipzig became the 25th different club to win the DFB Pokal Cup.