Soccer-Nkunku stars as Leipzig retain German Cup with 2-0 win over Frankfurt

Soccer Football - DFB Cup - Final - RB Leipzig v Eintracht Frankfurt - Olympiastadion, Berlin, Germany - June 3, 2023 RB Leipzig's Willi Orban lifts the trophy as he celebrates with teammates after winning the DFB Cup REUTERS/Cathrin Mueller

(Reuters) -RB Leipzig won back-to-back German Cup titles with a 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt in the final at Berlin's Olympic Stadium on Saturday, with Christopher Nkunku scoring one second-half goal and setting up Dominik Szoboszlai for the other.

After an entertaining but even first half, in which Leipzig's Timo Werner spurned a glorious early chance, Frankfurt looked to be on top but were stunned when Nkunku's strike took a huge deflection off Evan Ndicka in the 71st minute.

The momentum was firmly back with Leipzig and Nkunku slipped in a low ball for the unmarked Szoboszlai, who found the far corner with a poised finish with five minutes remaining to seal the victory.

Leipzig followed up a third-placed finish in the Bundesliga with a second major trophy in as many seasons. Leipzig-born coach Marco Rose claimed his first silverware as manager in Germany.

"Winning a title is always something great, the event itself anyway. We made so many people and ourselves happy. We do everything to experience such moments. It's a privilege to win a title like this with a club from my hometown. It's special for me and I thank the lads for that," Rose told ZDF TV after the match.

Oliver Glasner's final game in charge of Frankfurt was one to forget, however, as his uninspired side rarely threatened Leipzig.

"Of course I'm disappointed but I'm actually more proud. We missed two good chances and Leipzig scored from a double deflected shot. After that they were the better team. We gave Leipzig a real cup fight," said Glasner.

"A year ago we were the lucky winners, that's sport, you have to accept that. It's been two wonderful years for me and I'm happy to have been a part of it," he added.

The best opportunity of a first half fell to Werner in the fourth minute but the striker could only muster a tame effort straight at goalkeeper Kevin Trapp after being set up by Szoboszlai following a rapid counter-attack.

Frankfurt's Randal Kolo Muani hit the side netting from a tight angle and Nkunku forced Tuta into a last-ditch block but both teams struggled to find clear chances in a cagey first half.

Frankfurt improved after the break and Mario Gotze put Kolo Muani through on goal before volleying straight at Janis Blaswich but Leipzig grabbed the opener against the run of play.

Nkunku cut inside past several Frankfurt defenders and shot from the edge of the penalty area, and his effort took two deflections before ending up in the net. He then turned provider for Szoboszlai to put the result beyond doubt.

The result meant Bayer Leverkusen, who finished sixth in the Bundesliga, qualified for the Europa League again after reaching the semi-finals this season.

Frankfurt, who won the Europa League last year, would have qualified with a German Cup victory but will have to settle for the third-tier Europa Conference League.

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Hyderabad; additional reporting Angelica Medina in Mexico; editing by Clare Fallon)

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