Haaland, Sancho lead Dortmund past Leipzig in German Cup final

dortmund-german-cup

Dortmund players celebrate at the end of the DFB Pokal final match between RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (Maja Hitij/Pool via AP)

BERLIN — Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho both scored twice as Borussia Dortmund withstood a second-half fightback in teeming rain to beat Leipzig 4-1 in the German Cup final on Thursday.

Captain Marco Reus was involved in all four goals as Dortmund won the cup for the fifth time and denied bitter rival Leipzig a first title.

Haaland was back after almost three weeks out with a muscle injury, but it was Sancho who fired Dortmund into a fifth-minute lead with a strike inside the far post after Reus won the ball from Kevin Kampl in midfield.

Haaland barreled past Dayot Upamecano for Dortmund’s second goal in the 28th, and Reus and Sancho combined to make it 3-0 before the break.

Leipzig emerged with intent for the second half, striking the crossbar and twice testing Roman Burki in the Dortmund goal.

Leipzig hit the post before Dani Olmo rewarded his side’s pressure with a fine strike from outside the penalty area in the 71st.

Sancho missed a good chance in a one-on-one with Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi, before Haaland finally sealed Dortmund’s win in the 87th.

Dortmund previously won the title in 1965, 1989, 2012 and 2017. Leipzig, which was formed in 2009, was going for its first, but was unable to deal with Dortmund’s committed first-half performance. Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann had been hoping to sign off with a trophy before he leaves for Bayern Munich next season.

Last year’s cup final was Germany’s first to be played without fans present, and they were excluded again Thursday due to ongoing precautions against the coronavirus. Anyone working at the stadium had to produce a negative test result for COVID-19 from a pop-up testing center nearby.

Germany coach Joachim Low was among the few attending. He is due to name his squad for the European Championship next Wednesday.

A small number of Dortmund fans gathered outside to drink beer and sing songs under the watchful eye of police before kickoff. The fans were scattered, evidently still mindful of social distancing measures.

The atmosphere wasn’t helped by a persistent grey drizzle that had taken over from an earlier thunder storm. Usually the streets around the stadium would be teeming with enthusiastic fans before kickoff, their excitement fueled by beer and sausages.

The cup final has traditionally been the most important date in the German soccer season, a showpiece between two of the country’s best teams, but this year’s was switched from its usual Saturday night prime time slot to the less glamorous late Thursday kickoff.

Despite the lack of fans, Dortmund players celebrated with the trophy in front of where their supporters would have been.

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