Thanks to strong morale and a double strike shortly after the break, Eintracht Frankfurt made it into the final of the DFB Cup for the first time in five years. The Europa League winner won the semi-finals at VfB Stuttgart, who were threatened with relegation in the Bundesliga, on Wednesday after falling behind 3-2 (0-1). The Hessians, who have been without a win in the league for nine games, could once again end what had been a mixed season with a title and also increased their chance of qualifying for the European Cup again. In the final in Berlin on June 3, they will meet last year's winners RB Leipzig, who had won 5-1 at SC Freiburg on Tuesday.
The Portuguese Tiago Tomás put VfB, who suffered their first defeat in their sixth competitive game under coach Sebastian Hoeneß, into the lead in the 19th minute. The goals of Frenchman Evan Ndicka (51st) and Japanese Daichi Kamada (55th) turned the intensive game in front of 47,500 spectators in the sold-out Stuttgart stadium in favor of the guests. Scorer Randal Kolo Muani (77') scored a penalty after a foul on himself to make it 3-1. Enzo Millot's goal in the 83rd minute created even more tension at the end. In the hectic final phase, Stuttgart's Borna Sosa saw the yellow-red card for repeated foul play (86th). In 2018, the Frankfurters celebrated their last triumph in this competition. At that time they defeated FC Bayern Munich in the final.
In both teams, the battered top scorers had won the race against time. At Eintracht, the French vice world champion Kolo Muani reported fit in time after adductor problems, Serhou Guirassy played for the hosts from the start after a swelling in his eye.
In terms of sport, both strikers hardly made an appearance at first, but Guirassy picked up a yellow card early in the ninth minute for complaining. Before that, Frankfurt's Mario Götze and Djibril Sow had each been warned by referee Daniel Schlager after a foul. The game was hard fought from the start, the many duels and nickels disturbed the flow of the game.
The first good attack put VfB in the lead: after a long ball from Waldemar Anton, national player Josha Vagnoman won the running duel against Evan Ndicka, the ball landed on the return pass and Tomás shot it into the near corner. Eintracht goalkeeper Kevin Trapp had speculated on the long corner and had no chance.
The goal gave the home side a lot of momentum. After about half an hour, however, Stuttgart's beefy defender Konstantinos Mavropanos was injured, and Dan-Axel Zagadou came on for the Greek. The hitherto harmless Frankfurt tried to capitalize on it and increased the pressure a little. But in terms of play, the Europa League winner from 2022 once again owed a lot. The Stuttgart team now increasingly relied on counterattacks via their fast offensive players, of whom Silas narrowly missed out on Trapp (35th).
In the second half, Eintracht coach Glasner brought in Aurélio Buta for captain Sebastian Rode, and he seemed to have given the right speech in the dressing room. The guests now played with much more conviction - and were rewarded with the double strike by Ndicka and Kamada. Glasner raised his fists on the sidelines, the relief was clearly visible.
Stuttgart, who met a Bundesliga club for the first time in the current competition, had to shift up a gear offensively. But after an hour, VfB's second central defender, Anton, was injured and was unable to continue playing. Even after the third goal, which was preceded by a foul by VfB goalkeeper Fabian Bredlow on Kolo Muani in the penalty area, the hosts didn't give up and still managed to get the goal back. However, VfB was no longer awarded a possible hand penalty in injury time.