Borussia Dortmund claimed a first DFB-Pokal win since 2012 as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s penalty defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s sublime penalty proved the difference as Borussia Dortmund ended a run of three successive defeats in DFB-Pokal finals by seeing off a stoic Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1, in what could be Thomas Tuchel’s last game as head coach.
Uncertainty remains over Tuchel’s future at Signal Iduna Park amid rumours of a fall-out with the club’s board, though should Saturday’s clash indeed prove the end of tenure then Dortmund at least ensured he will leave on a high.
Ousmane Dembele’s superbly taken early goal looked to have set the tone for a Dortmund procession at Berlin’s Olympiastadion, only for Ante Rebic to restore parity just before the half-hour mark.
Haris Seferovic’s strike seemed destined to put Frankfurt ahead prior to the interval, the woodwork coming to Dortmund’s rescue with Roman Burki well beaten.
And Frankfurt were made to pay for failing to make their dominance pay when Aubameyang – widely linked with a move away from Dortmund in the close-season – lofted in a magnificent finish from the spot after Lukas Hradecky’s foul on substitute Christian Pulisic.
Aubameyang was just a post’s width from doubling his tally in the closing stages, but the miss mattered little as Dortmund saw off a late glut of Frankfurt pressure for a fourth DFB-Pokal triumph in total.
Despite their dismal record in recent DFB-Pokal finals, Dortmund wasted no time in asserting their authority this time around – Dembele capping off a sublime team move with a wonderful turn and finish to put Tuchel’s side ahead inside eight minutes.
Seferovic almost got in behind Dortmund’s defence as Frankfurt searched for an immediate response, but Shinji Kagawa was on hand to make a perfectly timed intervention.
Dortmund’s backline was opened up again soon after – Timothy Chandler failing to hit the target with a close-range header before Burki was forced into action to deny Rebic.
Rebic was not to be thwarted again, though as, having capitalised on shambolic Dortmund defending, the 23-year-old kept his cool to slot home into the bottom-right corner.
While Dortmund were rocked by a knock to Marco Reus, Frankfurt continued to dominate – Rebic teeing up Seferovic for a strike that rattled the left-hand upright.
Reus‘ injury proved too much for the winger, who – along with Marcel Schmelzer – made way for Pulisic and Gonzalo Castro at the interval.
That change almost paid dividends four minutes into the second half, but Pulisic could not react quickly enough to tuck home Kagawa’s cross.
With Pulisic looking sharp down the left, Dembele also found space on the opposite flank, and Dortmund’s goalscorer did brilliantly to pick out Aubameyang with a looping cross, only for a combination of Marco Fabian and the crossbar to keep out the striker’s acrobatic effort.
Aubameyang then kept his cool to score the winner. After conceding the penalty with a clumsy tackle on Pulisic, Frankfurt goalkeeper Hradecky was left embarrassed as Aubameyang dinked home his 40th goal of the season across all competitions.
Burki and Dortmund’s defence had to remain steadfast as Frankfurt rallied, though it was Aubameyang who went closest to adding another goal when his strike clipped away off the post as Tuchel’s side claimed their first DFB-Pokal crown in five years.