RB Leipzig vs Borussia Dortmund
Julian Nagelsmann’s days as RB Leipzig manager are numbered. But before leaving Leipzig for Bayern Munich, he can still give the Red Bulls the ultimate parting gift in the form of the DFB-Pokal, which would be the young club’s first-ever major piece of silverware.
However, standing in their way in the final are an in-form Borussia Dortmund side that will be eager to reclaim the title they last won in 2017.
BVB just completed the double over Nagelsmann’s side in the league, but the DFB-Pokal 2021 betting odds for this final in Berlin remain very tight.
Red Bulls lacking momentum for final
RB Leipzig are not having the best end to their final season under Nagelsmann. Their 3-2 defeat at Dortmund over the weekend was the third in their last eight league matches, with just three wins and two draws.
That defeat allowed Bayern Munich to clinch their record ninth straight Bundesliga title. Although, perhaps Leipzig had just lost a bit of motivation in the league as Bayern were always likely to win it all again.
But Leipzig should have all the motivation they need in the cup final against Dortmund as they have a chance to make history by winning the club’s first title.
Nagelsmann fielded more or less a full-strength starting XI against Dortmund, but Hwang Hee-Chan was a surprising selection. The South Korean started just his second league match of the season as he partnered Emil Forsberg up front.
Despite setting up Dani Olmo for Leipzig’s second goal, it seems unlikely that Hwang will keep his starting place in the final, especially if Christopher Nkunku can return from his injury.
However, Hwang has been one of Leipzig’s heroes during this cup run. He has scored all three of his goals this season in the cup, including the opening goal in the semi-final against Werder Bremen in extra-time.
Dortmund back to their devastating best
Borussia Dortmund continued their amazing end-of-season run as they completed the double over RB Leipzig. BVB have won their last five Bundesliga matches in a row and have now jumped back up to fourth in the table.
Despite missing Erling Haaland once again due to injury, Dortmund still had more than enough attacking weapons to overcome Leipzig. Jadon Sancho had a brilliant match in Haaland’s absence as he bagged a brace, including the late winner. It was the first time he had scored two goals all season.
Meanwhile, Marco Reus also continued his terrific goalscoring run at the tail-end of the season. The Dortmund skipper has now scored five goals in his last eight matches.
Thorgan Hazard started in place of Haaland as he, Reus, Sancho, and Gio Reyna caused the Leipzig defence problems with their fluid movement. Hazard is likely to keep his place if Haaland still isn’t healthy in time for the final.
But the good news for BVB is that Jude Bellingham will be back in the lineup after missing the Leipzig match due to suspension. The 17-year-old Englishman has made DFB-Pokal 2021 highlights in his first year in Germany, scoring two of his four goals this season in the cup.
Borussia Dortmund improved upon their impressive record against the Red Bulls with their victory on the weekend. BVB have now won three in a row and five out of the last six against Leipzig.
Nagelsmann’s poor record against Dortmund also worsened. He has now lost six of 11 matches against BVB in his career, with just one win.
In terms of the DFB-Pokal, Dortmund have a storied history in the competition. They have won the trophy four times, the most recent of which came in 2017. They also reached the final in 2014, 2015, and 2016, but lost to Bayern twice and to Eintracht Frankfurt.
Meanwhile, Leipzig will play their second-ever DFB-Pokal final. They faced Bayern Munich in the 2019 finale but lost 3-0.