BAERLIN: Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund 4-3 on penalties to win the German Cup for the 18th time on Saturday, handing coach Pep Guardiola another domestic double in his final game in charge.
Bayern, who also won the Bundesliga for a record fourth straight time, kept their cool in the shootout after a goalless 120 minutes with Douglas Costa beating keeper Roman Buerki with Bayern’s last penalty after two Dortmund players had missed.
It was Bayern’s second Cup win after they lifted the trophy in 2015 when they also beat Dortmund while the Ruhr valley club have now lost in the final for the third straight year.
Guardiola, who has won three league titles and two German Cups in his three seasons in charge, hugged and kissed his players, with tears streaming down his face after his final match in charge before joining Manchester City next season.
“It is amazing to end these great years here with such a game,” he told reporters. “I don’t look at titles or trophies. These are numbers. My track record is what I experience.”
The win in front of a roaring 74,000 crowd at the Olympic stadium also softened the disappointment of Bayern’s third consecutive Champions League semi-final exit under Guardiola earlier this month when they went out to Atletico Madrid.
“I had to win, win, win from the start and had the support of many great people. I am satisfied to be leaving with such a game,” the Spaniard said.
It was also a farewell for Dortmund captain Mats Hummels, who will join Bayern next season, having now lost his third successive German Cup final.
“It is obviously bitter to come that close every time and fail,” Hummels said. “We fought a good battle and we are very disappointed. For me, my time at Dortmund was unforgettable and I will miss them all.”
The encounter between Germany’s top two sides lived up to the hype in terms of the intensity in the first half but chances were few and far between.
A drilled header that sailed narrowly wide from Mueller was Bayern’s best opportunity while Dortmund had to wait 42 minutes for their first shot on target.
Bayern upped the tempo after the break, using the speed of Franck Ribery and Costa on the wings to try to pierce the Dortmund defence.
Thiago Alcantara and Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski twice went close.
It was Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who missed the biggest chance, however, when he fired over the bar in the 85th minute with only keeper Manuel Neuer to beat.
After players from both sides ran out of steam and struggled with cramp in extra time, the Bavarians stayed focused in the shootout.
Sven Bender and Sokratis Papastathopoulos failed to score for Dortmund and Bayern youngster Joshua Kimmich had his penalty saved, but Brazilian Costa sealed the win with the final kick.
Tears for Lucescu
In Ukraine Shakhtar Donetsk clinched their 10th Ukrainian Cup by beating underdogs Zorya Luhansk 2-0 thanks to a double from striker Oleksandr Hladkyi in the final at the Lviv Arena on Saturday.
Hladkyi nodded the opener three minutes before the break and wrapped up the victory 12 minutes after halftime by shrugging off two defenders and firing into the corner of the net.
The triumph brought tears to the eyes of Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu, who after the match officially confirmed he was stepping down from his post after 12 years at the helm.
“This was my last game as the head coach of Shakhtar. Effective immediately I am a free manager and will be looking for a new place,” the 70-year-old told a news conference.
Lucescu leaves after having turned the club into serious rivals to the previously unchallenged giants Dynamo Kiev.
Since joining in May 2004 he has led the club to eight domestic league titles and six national cups as well as the UEFA Cup in 2009 to become their most successful coach.
The final was contested by the two clubs ousted from the east of Ukraine, with Donetsk and Luhansk having been strongholds for pro-Russian separatists since 2014.
Shakhtar and Zorya have been playing in exile, with home games staged at alternative venues, since pro-Russian fighters raised an insurrection in eastern Ukraine, namely in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. (Editing by Ken Ferris)
Hapoel end wait
In Israel Hapoel Beersheba ended a 40-year wait to win the league title for a third time after a 3-1 home victory over Bnei Sakhnin on the final day of the campaign.
Beersheba won back-to-back titles in 1975 and 1976 and Saturday’s achievement ended Maccabi Tel Aviv’s grip on the trophy for the past three seasons.
Maccabi, who finished as runners-up, two points behind Beersheba, crushed Maccabi Haifa 6-0 at home in a dress rehearsal of Tuesday’s State Cup final, which will bring the season to a close.
Beersheba will contest the preliminary rounds of next season’s Champions League. Maccabi Tel Aviv, third-placed Beitar Jerusalem, and Maccabi Haifa who finished in fourth place, will play in the preliminary stages of the Europa Lea