SC Freiburg vs RB Leipzig – Football Match Report – 21 May 2022
RB Leipzig beat Freiburg 4-2 on penalties in a spirited German Cup final on Saturday, handing Domenico Tedesco’s side their first major trophy despite an hour-long game with 10 men at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin.
Freiburg captain Christian Guenter and striker Ermedin Demirovic both missed attempts from the penalty spot to seal a thrilling clash that ended 1-1 after extra time.
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“It’s crazy… we had a very bad start to the game, played a disastrous first half, we were too shy, we weren’t successful in the tackles…”, said the director General of Leipzig, Oliver Mintzlaff, on the television channel ARD.
“We had to show a different face after half-time. Then came the red card, which was of course justified. The fact that he [all] worked at the end is amazing.
“It’s the first title in the rather short history of our club. We have to reflect on what we have achieved in the last 13 years and over six years in the Bundesliga. We played in front of a fantastic audience… We have to let it flow, it’s great.”
Midfielder Maximilian Eggestein put Freiburg ahead in the 19th minute with an excellent low shot from the edge of the box, a goal that stood following a VAR review for a potential handball in the build-up.
Leipzig nearly equalized five minutes later after Christopher Nkunku’s rebound from close range beat goalkeeper Mark Flekken, but defender Nico Schlotterbeck saved his side with an intervention inches from the goal line.
However, as the Freiburg fans began to celebrate, chanting and lighting flares, Nkunku finally ruined their party with a leveler in the 76th minute.
The 24-year-old French international, voted Bundesliga Player of the Season and beating Robert Lewandowski and Erling Haaland for the award, flicked the ball down the line from Willi Orban’s precise header.
The late equalizer gave life to Leipzig, who played with a man from the 57th minute after defender Marcel Halstenberg was shown a red card for a risky tackle on striker Lucas Hoeler.
Both teams had chances to win near the end of regulation time, with Freiburg hitting the post twice and hitting the bar in extra time.
Leipzig, meanwhile, were denied a penalty for a foul on midfielder Dani Olmo after a frantic VAR check in the final minutes – a move that has already earned Kevin Kampl a second yellow card for his protests.
Leipzig won the trophy at home for the first time after finishing second in 2018-19 and 2020-21.
The victory could have allowed this season’s Europa League semi-finalists to return to Europe’s second-tier competition, but they had already secured a fourth successive Champions League season thanks to a top-four finish in the Bundesliga.
Freiburg enjoyed one of the best campaigns in the club’s history and, with Leipzig winning the Cup, sixth place in the league final table earns them a return to the Europa League for the first time since 2013.
It also means that seventh-placed Cologne will enter the Europa Conference League qualifiers.