Leipzig beats Freiburg on penalties in German Cup final

Leipzig's goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi, center, celebrates with his teammates after winning the German Soccer Cup final match between SC Freiburg and RB Leipzig at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Michael Sohn/AP)

BERLIN — Ten-man Leipzig came from a goal down in the German Cup final to beat Freiburg 4-2 on penalties for the club’s first trophy in its short history on Saturday.

Christopher Nkunku equalized in the 76th minute for 1-1 in normal time, sending the game to extra time, then penalties, where Freiburg captain Christian Günter and Ermedin Demirovic both missed. Demirovic, who struck the post in extra time, crashed his effort off the crossbar.

Maximilian Eggestein fired Freiburg ahead in the 18th minute and Leipzig’s chances of a comeback were dented when Marcel Halstenberg was sent off for pulling back Lucas Höler when the Freiburg forward would have been through on goal.

But Nkunku popped up with Leipzig’s vital equalizer.

It’s Leipzig’s first title since its formation in 2009. The club lost the final last year to Borussia Dortmund and in 2019 to Bayern Munich.

It was also the first German Cup final to be played with fans present since 2019. The coronavirus pandemic meant German soccer’s end-of-season showpiece was played in an empty stadium the previous two years. More than 74,000 attended Saturday’s final at Berlin’s Olympiastadion.

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