Sonntag, 26. Mai 2024

Double Delight: Bayer 04 at the Pinnacle of Happiness!

It was a final that made the hearts of Bayer 04 fans race. Compared to the UEFA Europa League final against Atalanta Bergamo on Wednesday, which ended in a 0-3 defeat, head coach Xabi Alonso made six changes to the starting lineup. Lukas Hradecky replaced Matej Kovar in goal, and Odilon Kossounou, Robert Andrich, Alejandro Grimaldo, Jonas Hofmann, and Patrik Schick were new additions.

Granit Xhaka gave the Werkself the lead with a dream goal in the 16th minute. Kaiserslautern tried from the start to put Bayer 04 under pressure with high pressing, but the Werkself remained unfazed and dominated with plenty of possession. Jeremie Frimpong made an early statement by getting past two Lautern players on the right side but was denied by goalkeeper Julian Krahl. A few minutes later, Florian Wirtz also tried his luck but couldn't beat Krahl either. Then came the big moment: Xhaka struck from distance and perfectly placed the ball in the top corner.

After taking the lead, Bayer 04 continued to control the game while Kaiserslautern retreated deep into their own half. Patrik Schick had another good opportunity, but the FCK defense cleared at the last moment. Defensively, the Werkself stood firm, giving Kaiserslautern little room for offensive actions. Just before halftime, there was a shocking moment: Odilon Kossounou, who had already received an early yellow card, was sent off with a second yellow for a foul. Despite being a man down, Bayer 04 went into the break with a 1-0 lead.

The second half started with a delay due to pyrotechnics in the stadium. But even with a man down, Bayer 04 remained the dominant team. Substitutes Amine Adli and Josip Stanisic brought fresh energy and immediately created danger. Adli attempted a long-range shot, and Stanisic narrowly missed the target after a corner. Bayer 04 now played more defensively, allowing Kaiserslautern more possession but remaining dangerous on counterattacks. Ragnar Ache had the best chance for FCK, but Hradecky made a confident save.

In the final stages, Bayer 04 repeatedly took the ball from the opponent and created more chances. Jeremie Frimpong and Florian Wirtz had opportunities to seal the game but narrowly missed. After six minutes of added time, the match ended 1-0 for Bayer 04. With this victory, the Werkself claimed their second DFB-Pokal title and crowned themselves double winners of the 2023/24 season.

After the final whistle, the celebrations knew no bounds. The players ran to the fan section, singing and celebrating with the traveling supporters. It was an emotional moment when captain Lukas Hradecky lifted the DFB-Pokal into the Berlin night sky at 10:22 pm.

However, the celebrations did not end at the Olympiastadion. On Sunday, May 26th, the Werkself returned to Leverkusen to properly celebrate the double. After landing at Cologne/Bonn Airport, the team headed to Morsbroich Castle, where they signed the Golden Book of the city of Leverkusen. They then traveled in a convoy to the BayArena, where they were enthusiastically received by thousands of fans. The stadium opened at 12:30 pm, and fans could follow the stage program and the team's arrival on large video screens.

The 2023/24 season will forever be etched in the minds of Bayer 04 fans. The first double in the club's history, achieved in the 120th season since its founding, is a triumph that will never be forgotten. From the first round of the DFB-Pokal to the crowning finale in Berlin, this Werkself has secured its place in the annals of German football.

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Double Delight: Bayer 04 at the Pinnacle of Happiness!

It was a final that made the hearts of Bayer 04 fans race. Compared to the UEFA Europa League final against Atalanta Bergamo on Wednesday, w...