Created on 2019-05-24 at 18:15 PM
It’s the last act of the season, and a chance for Bayern to crown a successful campaign. On Saturday night, the record cup winners meet RB Leipzig in the DFB Cup final (live ticker from 20:00 CEST). A week after winning the Bundesliga title for the 29th time, the Munich men can complete the domestic double for the 12th time.
“Of course we’re going to Berlin to win – we want the double!” stated Niko Kovac before the trip to his home city. However, on arrival, he warned of the difficulty of the task his side face. League rivals Leipzig “are the toughest opponents we could have”, said the 47-year-old at the pre-match press conference. Recent years have shown “there are no favourites in the cup final”, he added.
Leipzig captain Willi Orban is also expecting an “even contest”, as was the case when the two sides drew 0-0 two weeks ago. Despite having some good chances, FCB couldn’t manage to find a goal, which was also down to the strength of the home side’s defence. “We had the best defence in the Bundesliga this season, and we want to show why tomorrow,” RB coach Ralf Rangnick declared confidently before the match.
The Saxony outfit certainly don’t want to shy away in their maiden cup final. “We want to prove that we’re capable of producing a top performance in games like this,” said the 60-year-old, whose team were unbeaten in 18 games in all competitions before their ultimately meaningless 2-1 defeat at Werder Bremen on Matchday 34. Moreover, the Red Bulls are at full strength for the final according to their boss (“we have everyone on board”).
Bayern, meanwhile, will be without Leon Goretzka, who will miss his first DFB Cup final because of a muscular problem. “That’s bitter,” commented Manuel Neuer, who can empathise with the midfielder. The Bayern captain missed last year’s final through injury and had to watch as his side lost 3-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt – at the time coached by Kovac.
This will be a third final on the bounce for cup expert Kovac and he’s hoping to repeat last season’s feat with Bayern. His players have learned the right lessons from that defeat to Frankfurt. “Last year, everyone was sure we’d win,” said Robert Lewandowski. “We need to work harder and play better than last year.”
That was also the call from Neuer, who’s looking forward to the game after his absence in Berlin 12 months ago. “Finals are always special games, especially the cup final in Berlin,” said the 33-year-old. “We want to complete the double, that’s our target!”