BERLIN: Bayern Munich clinched the domestic double after winning the German Cup but Barcelona fell at the final hurdle in Spain.
Bundesliga champions Bayern beat RB Leipzig 3-0 thanks to two goals from Robert Lewandowski to win their 19th cup after top-scoring Robert Lewandowski headed them into a 29th-minute lead. Kingsley Coman’s 2-0 in the 78th and Lewandowski sealed the win with a superb finish in the 85th minute to clinch Bayern’s 12th double.
Coach Niko Kovac, who won the cup last year with Eintracht Frankfurt, thus became the first man to win the double with Bayern both as player and coach.
Bayern also had to thank their goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who on his return from injury made two superb point-blank saves to protect their one-goal lead.
Kovac said: “It was the toughest opponent we could have had and we saw that in the opening 30 minutes. Neuer kept us in the game with two superb saves but overall the victory was deserved. We had tough times back in October and November so compliments to the team. To be here with two titles makes me very proud.”
Veteran French winger Franck Ribéry, who is leaving along with Arjen Robben, came on as a late substitute to make a record eighth German Cup final appearance in his final game for the club.
In Spain . . .
Valencia won the Spanish Copa del Rey winners after Lionel Messi’s second-half goal was not enough to cancel out strikes from Kevin Gameiro and Rodrigo Moreno.
Halfway through this season Valencia were only four points off the relegation zone but patience with under-pressure coach Marcelino García Toral was ultimately rewarded by the securing of Champions League place on the final day of the LaLiga campaign now cup success.
Barcelona suffered from the attacking absences of Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele, once again – as against Liverpool in the Champions League – relying complacently in vain on another miracle from Messi.
He did score from close range in the closing stages after Clement Lenglet headed against a post but it was too little too late.
Elsewhere . . .
In Portugal Sporting beat Porto 5-4 on penalties after a 2-2 extra-time draw to win the Portuguese cup.
Tiquinho Soares put Porto in front after 41 minutes but Danilo Pereira equalised before half-time, which is how the game also finished after 90 minutes. Bas Dost fired Sporting in front 11 minutes into extra time before a lifeline was thrown to Porto with Felipe’s equaliser. Soares gave Porto the lead again, in the penalty shootout, but it was not to be for the league’s runners-up.
In Italy Napoli slipped up 3-2 at Bologna in their final game. The second-placed visitors went behind after a quick-fire Bologna double just before the break. Federico Santander headed into the bottom corner for a 43rd-minute opener before former Napoli midfielder Blerim Dzemaili doubled their advantage from outside the box after Santander provided the assist.
Napoli reduced the deficit through Faouzi Ghoulam just before the hour mark as he slotted in from a tight angle, while Napoli’s’ top scorer Dries Mertens equalised with his 16th league goal this term after 77 minutes. But Santander completed his brace with a second header two minutes from time to clinch maximum points and end Napoli’s four-match winning run.
Relegated rivals Frosinone and Chievo played out a goalless draw in the early evening kick-off at Stadio Benito Stirpe. Frosinone bossed possession but, despite close efforts from Federico Dionisi, Camillo Ciano and Daniel Ciofani, could not break the deadlock. For the second-bottom hosts, the result saw them extend their winless streak to seven matches ahead of life back in Serie B after their promotion to the Italian top flight last season. The draw was a fifth game without a victory for bottom-placed Chievo, who have scored just one goal in that run and count just two wins all campaign.
In France coach Thomas Tuchel has signed a contract extension with champions Paris Saint-Germain after speculation about his future following the Champions League exit to Manchester United.