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Leverkusen win German Cup to complete unbeaten double

Ciaran FaheyAP
Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso lifts the German Cup after his side completed the domestic double. (EPA PHOTO)
Camera IconLeverkusen coach Xabi Alonso lifts the German Cup after his side completed the domestic double. (EPA PHOTO) Credit: EPA

Granit Xhaka's early strike was enough for Bayer Leverkusen, even with just 10 men, to win the German Cup final 1-0 over Kaiserslautern for an unbeaten domestic double.

Xhaka fired the ball in under the crossbar from distance in the 16th minute, and it proved to be enough against second-division Kaiserslautern despite the Bundesliga champions losing defender Odilon Kossounou to a second yellow card just before the break.

Leverkusen won the Bundesliga unbeaten, an historic feat. The only blip on the record of Xabi Alonso's team was losing the Europa League final to Atalanta 3-0 on Wednesday in Dublin.

That ended Leverkusen's record 51-game unbeaten run across all competitions, and was their only loss in 53 games this season.

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But it was just a temporary blip in their amazing story as Alonso and his players ended up running to salute their fans after the whistle on Saturday in Berlin's Olympiastadion.

They had supported the team loudly throughout, though were drowned at times by the even more vociferous Kaiserslautern supporters.

They displayed a spectacular tifo of a red devil grasping the trophy in front of a hellish background of fire and brimstone before the game, and the second half began to a huge fireworks display from the Leverkusen fans.

But despite the smoke above, there was little fire on the field after a long hard season.

Kossounou was booked for stopping Kenny Prince Redondo's break in the third minute, then was issued another yellow for a foul on Boris Tomiak in the 44th.

But it didn't stop the Leverkusen machine from grinding out the win as Jeremie Frimpong should have made it 2-0 in the 75th after going past the goalkeeper.

It's Leverkusen's second German Cup title after beating Hertha Berlin's reserve team in the 1993 final.

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