Bayer Leverkusen cruises into DFB-Pokal final


Saarbrucken were declared champions of their truncated Regionalliga Sudwest campaign – week-by-week consistency having gone hand in hand with an incredible cup run – when Germany's lower categories were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It meant the fourth-tier side had not played for more than three months by the time Leverkusen, fifth in the Bundesliga, arrived at Hermann-Neuberger-Stadion.

Despite the likes of Kai Havertz and Leon Bailey sitting out the contest entirely, Peter Bosz's men were 2-0 up inside 19 minutes thanks to Moussa Diaby and Lucas Alario, with Karim Bellarabi getting in on the scoring act after half-time.

Kerem Demirbay had an early shot deflected wide before a sublime chipped pass from the playmaker found a swivelling Diaby to volley the 11th-minute opener.

Alario capitalised on a defensive mix-up to lash home at the near post and effectively end the contest, with the opening half continuing to take place almost exclusively inside the Saarbrucken half thereafter.

Paulinho clipped a clever effort beyond goalkeeper Daniel Batz and narrowly wide of the left-hand post after Alario opened up the home defence.

Saarbrucken bodies were launched in the direction of Mitchell Weiser's 42nd-minute drive to help keep the deficit down at the break.

A double substitution robbed Leverkusen of their fluency during the opening stages of the second half, although any whiff of encouragement was snuffed out when Demirbay teed up one of the replacements, Bellarabi, to slam home from inside the box.

Paulinho exchanged passes with another substitute, Kevin Volland, to lash over in the 72nd minute before Batz saved sharply from the latter and Markus Mendler scuffed a wonderful chance for a memorable Saarbrucken consolation.