Euro 2020 Special

DFB-Pokal: Sancho and Haaland Doubles Seal Dortmund Delight

RB Leipzig 1-4 Borussia Dortmund

The end of season showpiece and the chance for Germany’s two bridesmaids to finally become a bride and lift some silverware.

This 2021 DFB-Pokal Final represented a golden opportunity for either RB Leipzig to claim their first ever major trophy or for Borussia Dortmund to win the tournament for the third time in a decade.

A Leipzig success would also provide a successful way for coach Julian Nagelsmann to say farewell before he departs for German champions Bayern Munich this summer.

With two good sides on show, we expected DFB-Pokal 2021 highlights. However, what we didn’t expect was a contest which was over by half-time.

If Dortmund do say farewell to one or both of Erling Braut Haaland and Jadon Sancho this summer, they will always remember this night – the night where interim boss Edin Terzic, who has had some hot-and-cold results this term, guided them to sought-after silverware.

Highlights of the game

Dortmund have been quite dominant against Leipzig over the last few years. They’re undefeated in their last seven meetings prior to this, with five wins and two draws, including both league matches this season – most recently Saturday’s 3-2 Bundesliga success.

That was Dortmund’s fifth win in a row in all competitions as they overtook fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt in the race for next season’s Champions League – a competition the 2013 runners-up are keen to return to after recently reaching the quarter-finals.

However, I thought that result last weekend counted for little with the SBOTOP DFB-Pokal 2021 betting odds assessing two fairly evenly matched sides.

That observation was blown away inside the opening 45 minutes.

Erling Haaland has now scored 39 goals in 39 games this season after scoring a brace in the DFB-Pokal final
Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Braut Haaland celebrates scoring their fourth goal with Emre Can

Five minutes was all it took for Sancho to open the scoring as captain Marco Reus dispossessed Kevin Kampl and he played the ball into Haaland’s path and the young Norwegian cut inside and found Mahmoud Dahoud who swiftly knocked it onto Sancho.

There was still much to do but the Englishman cut onto his right foot and curled a brilliant shot into the far corner.

If that was a setback for Leipzig, when Dortmund scored their second with only their second effort on target just before the half hour, it was a devastating blow.

Reus was involved again, driving forward and passing to Haaland’s feet and he did well to hold off Bayern Munich-bound Dayot Upamecano’s robust challenge before expertly curling the ball into the far corner.

When on the stroke of half-time, Haaland held off the same player to send Reus clean through. The skipper unselfishly squared the ball to the unmarked Sancho who was left with a simple finish for his fourth goal of the week against the Saxony club.

While there had not been that much between the sides in the opening 45 minutes, the contest was over unless Leipzig could be as ruthless as their opponents and produce a staggering comeback.

Both teams made changes at the break and one of them in Christopher Nkunku almost made an instant impact as he struck the bar straight from the restart.

Then after Dani Olmo’s cross was parried by Roman Burki, a goalkeeper who regularly impresses me, Emil Forsberg fired the rebound against the post.

Hitting the woodwork for the second time in a much improved second half showing was probably a sign that it wasn’t going to be Leipzig’s night, although they did get the goal they deserved when Olmo fired superbly into the top corner from an Nkunku flick on.

There was to be no late drama though as the main two attacking outlets on the pitch combined three minutes from time with Sancho leading a counter-attack and the unmarked Haaland doing the rest from the edge of the box.

Two young talents who look set for promising careers and, if this does turn out to be Haaland’s parting gift to the club, his 17 months will always be fondly remembered by those of a Dortmund persuasion.

They are the 2021 DFB Cup winners.

Key statistics

Haaland has scored 38 goals in 38 outings this season.

Sancho’s double took him to six goals in the DFB Cup this season, moving him one ahead of Leipzig striker Yussuf Poulsen as the competition’s top scorer in 2020/21.

At the age of 21 years and 49 days, he is the youngest player to score a brace in a German Cup Final.

Haaland hit 29 goals in 27 games for Leipzig’s sister club Red Bull Salzburg before leaving for Dortmund in December 2019.

What’s next?

Both sides have two Bundesliga matches remaining.

Leipzig can secure the runners-up spot if they avoid defeat against third placed Wolfsburg on Sunday evening (May 16). They then travel to Union Berlin the following weekend.

Dortmund are at Mainz on Sunday before finishing at home to Bayer Leverkusen (May 22).