10-man Leverkusen secure the double to end historic season with DFB-Pokal final victory

BERLIN — Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen battled past second division Kaiserslautern 1-0 on Saturday to win the German Cup and secure the club's first ever domestic double.

Leverkusen missed out on a treble after losing 3-0 to Atalanta in the Europa League final on Wednesday in their first defeat of the season after a European record 51-game unbeaten run.

This was Leverkusen's second German Cup win after their maiden victory back in 1993.

In Berlin's Olympic stadium that will host the Euro 2024 final in July, the champions bagged the winner with Granit Xhaka's 20-meter missile in the 16th minute.

They controlled the tempo even after they were reduced to 10 men following Odilon Kossounou's second booking a minute before halftime.

Kaiserslautern rarely threatened after the break with Leverkusen comfortably holding on to cap a memorable season with a second trophy.

"It was a deserved victory," said club CEO Fernando Carro. "We could have added another goal but overall a fully deserved win. We lifted the Cup after we failed to do so Wednesday. Compliments to the team to win this double."

Long derided as 'Neverkusen' for their failure to win a major title since that 1993 Cup win, Leverkusen ended their season with more silverware after also winning the Bundesliga title without a single loss — the first German team to achieve that feat.

"In the end, to win like that meant we showed spirit, we fought for the fans for the club," said manager Xabi Alonso. "It is huge success to win the double. We will remember this in the future."

Leverkusen lost only one of 53 matches across all competitions this season, their only defeat coming in Wednesday's Europa League final against Atalanta.

"The most important thing was the belief of the team. They were ready to battle with 10 players and I am proud of that," Alonso said.

"I need time to accept what happened this season. It was a dream season and to celebrate the last day like this here is special."

Leverkusen vs Kaiserslautern highlights

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, Editing by Toby Davis)

Videos you might like