Alonso achieves a double victory after consuming a German brew.

Kaiserslautern present a tough challenge for Leverkusen in Berlin; however, after an enthralling cup contest, Xabi Alonso and his teammates can rejoice in their victory.

May 27, 2024
3 min read
NewsRhineland-PalatinateFinalBerlinNorth Rhine-WestphaliaXabi AlonsoGermanyResistanceAtalanta Bergamo CalcioRudi VöllerBayerRobert AndrichDFB CupBeerEuropa LeagueBayer Leverkusen1st FC KaiserslauternKaiserslauternGranit XhakaLeverkusenPatrik SchickSoccerFriedhelm FunkelJulian NagelsmannRagnar Ache
Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso celebrates after the victory with the trophy.
Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso celebrates after the victory with the trophy.


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Football: A Thrilling Sport - Alonso achieves a double victory after consuming a German brew.

In a scene filled with excitement and joy, Xabi Alonso, the coach of the victorious soccer team from Bayer Leverkusen, embraced each of his players as they celebrated their win in the DFB Cup. The jubilant athletes jumped to greet their enthusiastic fans, while the emotionally moved club legend Rudi Völler applauded from the stands. It was a historic moment for the German soccer champions as they achieved a double victory, marking the best season in the club's history. "I'm proud and happy for the players," Alonso declared. "They deserve it completely," he added, announcing his intent to enjoy some German beer later on.

The victory came three days after a 3-0 defeat in the Europa League final against Atalanta Bergamo, which was Bayer's only loss in the entire season. 1. FC Kaiserslautern, a team from the second division, provided a tough challenge for the champions. Odilon Kossounou received a yellow card in the 44th minute. Simon Rolfes, the team's sporting director, noted, "We really wanted to win it."

A stunning goal by Granit Xhaka in the 16th minute secured their victory against the determined Palatinate team coached by legendary Friedhelm Funkel, in front of an audience of 74,322 spectators at the sold-out Olympiastadion. "This experience of holding up the trophy is just amazing," remarked Leverkusen international Robert Andrich. "It's a really fantastic feeling."

It has been 28 years since Bayer last won a cup victory in 1993. Kaiserslautern failed to create the desired sensation, only managing to reach the cup final this time around. In spite of their valiant effort, they fell short of their goal. In an interview with Sky, Funkel stated, "Even if we had an extra player, it wouldn't have made a difference against a team like this."

The question of whether this was Funkel's last game as coach hung in the air as he had been denied the cup trophy at his third attempt in that role. Regarding his decision to leave, he stated, "I don't know yet."

Following their disappointing performance in Dublin, Alonso sought to hold his team accountable. "Now we must see if this team truly has the character we believe it does," Xhaka stated. The coach made several changes to his squad. Hradecky, the team's captain and goalkeeper, replaced Kovar in goal, and Kossounou, Robert Andrich, Jonas Hofmann, and Patrik Schick joined the team.

Funkel, meanwhile, introduced Ache, his top scorer, into the second half. The head coach had lost the cup final against Eintracht Frankfurt 3-1 43 years earlier as a player at Lautern. Before the match, Funkel promised a nail-biting match.

In anticipation of Leverkusen's presumed dominance, Funkel joked about parking his team's bus in front of his own goal. Thankfully, this did not happen. Kaiserslautern supporters wowed the crowd with a creative choreography before the match: a giant Red Devil almost reached under the stadium roof. During the match, however, they set off flares nearly continuously.

Kaiserslautern's first opportunity to score came from Daniel Hanslik, but the team failed to make use of it. Leverkusen then showcased their usual passing game amidst the cauldron. Xhaka scored a remarkable goal from around 25 meters, putting Bayer ahead 1-0.

Leverkusen maintained control over the game, with Kaiserslautern frequently chasing the ball. Krahl, FCK's goalkeeper, made an attempt to save a cross from Grimaldo, but Schick missed the goal. Kossounou received his second yellow card for a harsh foul on Tomiak. Tobias Raschl had a chance to even the score, but his shot sailed just past the post. Funkel, the coach, rooting on his team well into the final stages, had overcome Bayern Munich to achieve a 2-1 victory as a player with Bayer Uerdingen back in 1985.

An unfortunate delay in the game occurred due to a flagrant use of pyrotechnics from Kaiserslautern's fans, which caused a brief interruption. After the smoke cleared, Leverkusen pressed for the decisive goal without showcasing their typical ball control. [Paraphrased]

Approximately an hour later, Ache narrowly missed targeting Hradecky's goal and promptly encouraged the goalie to make a magnificent stop. Unyielding, Lautern kept pushing forward, undeterred by their opponents' inability to control the match. Ultimately, it was Leverkusen who emerged victorious, earning the title of the league's sixth double-winner. Among the previous winners were Hannover 96, a second division team, who lifted the cup in 1992.

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