Wolfsburg took down Borussia Dortmund to win its first-ever German Cup
BERLIN (AP) — Wolfsburg defeated Borussia Dortmund 3–1 to win the German Cup for the first time Saturday, denying Jurgen Klopp the perfect sendoff in his final game as Dortmund coach.
“Yeah, a 3-1 defeat, now we're second. That feels better at the Olympics than it does in the German Cup,” Klopp said.
After seven years at the club, the 47-year-old coach was unable to inspire his side to victory despite going ahead in the fifth minute through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Luiz Gustavo equalized on a rebound against the run of play in the 22nd after Mitch Langerak had saved Naldo's powerful free kick, Kevin De Bruyne put Wolfsburg ahead in the 33rd, and Bas Dost completed the scoring with a header from close range five minutes later.
Dortmund fought hard in the second half, only to struggle against Wolfsburg's well-organized defense with goalkeeper Diego Benaglio in fine form.
“I'm simply proud of the team,” said Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking, who celebrated his first title and was doused in beer by his players in the post-match news conference.
Hecking's players wore jerseys with a green heart and the No. 19 on the left chest side to remember teammate Junior Malanda, the 20-year-old Belgian international killed in a traffic accident during the winter break.
“We wanted to win this game for Junior,” Benaglio said. “He is still a part of this team and will remain so. He also played this season so he is also a real cup winner.”
Dortmund fans set off flares that sent clouds of yellow smoke around the stadium before kickoff, while Wolfsburg supporters took part in an impressive choreography under a banner that said, “The time is right.”
Volkswagen-backed Wolfsburg finished runner-up to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga and was playing its first final.
Aubameyang opened the scoring when he prodded Shinji Kagawa's cross past Benaglio after Erik Durm eluded two Wolfsburg defenders on the edge of the penalty area.
Dortmund goalkeeper Mitch Langerak had to make a good stop to deny Ivan Perisic an immediate equalizer against his former club.
Wolfsburg appeared shaken by the early setback but Dortmund failed to turn its early superiority into goals and was left to rue missed chances when Gustavo equalized.
Then De Bruyne latched onto Daniel Caligiuri's lay-off and fired it through Mats Hummels' legs and inside the left post, and Perisic outsprinted Marcel Schmelzer to cross for Dost to score Wolfsburg's third.
“We conceded three goals in 16 minutes,” Klopp said.
Dortmund had a penalty claim waved away before the break, when Aubameyang appeared to be fouled by Ricardo Rodriguez.
It was Wolfsburg who looked likelier to score in the second half despite Dortmund's endeavors. Langerak denied Caligiuri just after the interval and Durm came to his side's rescue with a goal-line clearance midway though the half.
Kagawa came closest for Dortmund only to see his effort clip the outside of the post.
Klopp applauded the Dortmund fans as Wolfsburg's supporters were celebrating, and was applauded in turn as he received his runner-up medal and bid another farewell.
“Leaving hurts a lot. I've tried to express my thanks to each of my players. It was a huge honor to work with these guys and I've noticed that it hurts a lot to leave them,” Klopp said. “I know life goes on, but still, you need a few moments.”