DFB Pokal final: Borussia Dortmund 1-3 VfL Wolfsburg - 5 talking points
Jurgen Klopp’s farewell Dortmund game left a bitter taste in his mouth as his side were comprehensively beaten 3-1 by Wolfsburg, who lifted their first German cup in the history and a first major trophy since 2009.
In-form striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the Yellow Brigade ahead with a close-range finish just 5 minutes into the game, only for Luiz Gustavo to restore parity for the Wolves 17 minutes later. The Bundesliga runners-up went ahead shortly after through a sublime long-range effort by Kevin de Bruyne before fiery striker Bas Dost sealed the tie with a powerful header, in what was a compelling encounter at the Olympiastadion in Berlin.
Klopp’s 7-year reign ended in a heartbreak as he failed to lift the last possible title as a Dortmund manager. Here are the 5 talking points from the game.
1.Wolfsburg takes a road less travelled
The Wolves from Lower Saxony, despite boasting a talented set of players over the years, never managed to reign supreme domestically. Although they did claim the league title in 2009, that perhaps, was the only major silverware they carried into their trophy cabinet in the 69-year old club history. Hence winning this tie against a more experienced opponent in Dortmund was a step into uncharted waters for Wolfsburg.
A pall of gloom descended over the Northwest outfit soon after Aubameyang tucked the ball away into the net to put BVB ahead and the memories of the 1995 heartbreak clouded over. However, they weren't to be second time lucky as strikes from Gustavo and De Bruyne coupled with an impeccable header from Bas Dost ensured them a victory in only their second major finals.
After a strong finish in the league and a winners medal in this competition, Wolfsburg have well and truly, emerged from the state of oblivion.
2.No fairytale ending for Klopp
The spice of this game was no one else but the departing Jurgen Klopp, who patrolled the Dortmund dugout for one last time. After 7 illustrious years at the helm, one of Dortmund’s most successful manager, ‘Kloppo’ was not able to give the fans another reason to cheer as he saw his side go down to an effervescent Wolfsburg side.
Klopp’s image as one of the wiliest managers in the world had been somewhat dragged through the mud for all the turbulence that Dortmund endured all season. Despite that, the Ruhr side pulled out an absolute shocker when they ousted the mighty Bayern Munich on penalties in the previous round, thereby laying down a marker to the naysayers.
The final served as a last chance for The Black and Yellows to salvage the torrid season by winning the prize and offer a memorable fend off to their charismatic manager. Unfortunately, that wasn't meant to be. All the grin from Klopp’s face departed after the 3 goal salvo and his side were never able to pull off a comeback.
After 7 years, 5 trophies and a Champions League silver medal, Klopp’s final goodbye ended in a bitter note.
3.Dortmund paid the price for not taking their chances
The scoreline may suggest an absolute dominance by Wolfsburg, but a microscopic glance at every proceeding of the game saw Dortmund create a host of chances, which they just squandered one after the other.
Marco Reus had a brilliant chance to double their lead just 10 minutes after the opener when Aubameyang broke free down the right to feed the Germany international, but his profligate finishing denied it. Later on, it was the latter who was at fault as he drove a shot wide off target.
Midway through the game, Kagawa wasted a vital opportunity when he poked the ball just wide in the area and their Gabonese forward couldn't make the most of the free-kick deep into the game.
Dortmund had enough chances to at least draw level with Wolfsburg, but were ultimately made to pay the hefty price for not taking them.
4.De Bruyne leaves the top guns of Europe licking their lips
In what might have been his final game for Wolfsburg, Belgian wizard Kevin de Bruyne made sure it ended in style as he was the prime mover in his side's emphatic win.
While it was his sublime long range effort that put Wolfsburg ahead, his flair and danger on the ball was evident throughout. The former Chelsea man picked Dortmund apart at will and pressurized them to an extent that they crumpled visibly.
De Bruyne has been one of Wolfsburg’s best players throughout the season and buffed up his reputation with yet another stellar showing.
With some big guns of Europe touted to be on the prowl for him, this performance must have surely piqued their interest in De Bruyne and a tight race to acquire his services is sure to break out during the summer.
5.Can Wolfsburg keep the momentum going into next season?
While a miasma of despair whiffed through the Dortmund camp, it was all smiles in the enemy camp as they capped off a remarkable season with the DFB title.
Wolfsburg had taken everyone by surprise this season with their ferocious attacking brand of football, romping past their adversaries including Bayern Munich. Having secured a second place finish in the league as tangible evidence to the vast progress the club has made this term, they went one step further by icing it with a trophy.
It has indeed been a season to remember for the West German club and expectations are set to soar for next season as they’ll be competing in the Champions League again. Whether the Wolves can mount such a challenge again next season or emulate the heroics in Europe is something to watch out for.