Berlin (AFP) – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converted a second-half penalty to seal Borussia Dortmund’s 2-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt in Saturday’s German Cup final — on what could be his final Dortmund appearance.
Aubameyang’s calmly taken spot-kick was his 40th goal this season for Dortmund in all competitions and ended Dortmund’s misery after losing the three previous cup finals in Berlin in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
His winning penalty was Aubameyang’s 120th goal in his 190th game in four seasons with Dortmund.
However, despite having a contract until 2020, this could be Aubameyang’s final appearance having said he will decide his future after talks with Dortmund’s bosses.
He is reportedly weighing up bumper offers from Paris St-Germain, AC Milan and China’s China’s Tianjin Quanjian with PSG his most likely destination
After Dortmund took the lead at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium through Ousmane Dembele’s early goal, Frankfurt’s forward Ante Rebic’s equalised to make it 1-1 at the break before Aubameyang turned the game.
Dortmund romped to a 3-1 home Bundesliga win over Frankfurt in mid-April, but this was a much bolder performance from Niko Kovic’s Eintracht, who had won only one of their previous ten games coming into the Berlin final.
Dortmund took the lead with just eight minutes gone when Dembele was released down the right flank and the fleet-footed 20-year-old cut inside Frankfurt defender Jesus Vallejo and curled his shot into the net.
But Eintracht started to pressurise the Dortmund defence.
Frankfurt’s US international Timothy Chandler whipped in a cross and Croatia international Rebic was just inches from connecting with the goal at his mercy.
He made no mistake on 29 minutes when Serbia midfielder Mijat Gacinovic’s superb pass split the Dortmund defence and released Rebic, who slotted his shot past Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki.
Frankfurt should have taken the lead when Rebic traded passes with Haris Seferovic whose shot beat Burki, but hit the post on 39 minutes.
Neither Dortmund captain Marcel Schmelzer nor playmaker Marco Reus came out for the second half.
Schmelzer had carried a leg knock into the final, while Reus injured his right knee midway through the first half.
Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel responded by switching from a 3-3-2-2 formation to a 4-5-1 formation with Aubameyang, the Bundesliga’s top scorer this season with 31 goals, as the loan striker.
Japan midfielder fired at Frankfurt goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky just after the break.
But the scene was set for Aubameyang.
His flying bicycle kick was only cleared off the line by Frankfurt’s Mexico international Marco Fabian on 64 minutes.
And the Gabon hot-shot showed a cool head by slotting the winning penalty straight down the middle on 67 minutes after substitute Christian Pulisic was brought down by Frankfurt’s goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky.
Frankfurt boss Kovac responded by bringing on Frankfurt’s burly striker Alexander Meier, 34, the Bundesliga’s top-scorer in 2014/15, for the final 20 minutes to try to force an equaliser to no avail.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
- Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
- Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Inzaghi conquers Inter Milan despite title disappointment
- Ivan Perisic’s Inter future in doubt after stunning season
- Fuelled by Premier League dynasty, Man City crave Champions League legacy
- Barcelona finish with defeat by Villarreal, Granada go down
- Man City win Premier League title after epic fightback
- AC Milan back on top after snatching title from Inter
- Rangnick relieved to secure Europa League spot for Man Utd
- Marsch hails Leeds players’ character after escaping the drop
- What are the groups for World Cup 2022?
- Vieira calls for ‘safety at work’ after pitch invasion incidents