It's finally here! The DFB-Pokal comes to it's conclusion as Eintracht Braunschweig face off against Lower Saxony rivals VfL Wolfsburg at the Olympiastadion in Berlin. It's certainly going to be a tight game, what with the recent 1-1 draw in the league. Let's look at the line ups of the two sides.
Braunschweig have recently been playing a very interesting formation. 4 at the back and 6 in the midfield with no strikers whatsoever. It's worked though, as the club have won 4 games out of their last 6. The manager Mohlmann went with this formation, rather oddly, when numerous strikers asked for more footballing time.
Wolfsburg though, have stuck with a more traditional 4-5-1 formation, with Pokal top scorer Bas Dost the main man up front. Wolfsburg have enjoyed a lot of success this year as they have already qualified for the UEFA Champions League, meaning no matter the result Braunschweig will play in next year's UEFA Europa League. However, Die Wolfe's star man Diego will miss the game with a twisted knee and his absence may just make the difference.
Let's take a look at the last two fixtures between these two teams, taken from Braunschweig's archives.
The game promised to be one to remember, but for defenders worldwide it was one to forget as 8 goals went in, though 5 of them went past Kostas Lamprou as Eintracht Braunschweig headed for their 4th successive defeat. The Lower Saxony Derby began with a good goal from Omar Elabdellaoui after 10 minutes but moments later Timm Klose levelled the scores and right on half time, Diego lobbed Lamprou with a great free kick to put Wolfsburg ahead at the break. Braunschweig went out to score again and it was Elabdellaoui who did just that straight away, his shot too hot for Max Grun to handle. The Norwegian Elabdellaoui bagged his hat-trick on 66 minutes after a goalmouth scramble yet Ivica Olic went straight up the pitch and scored to make it 3-3. Two late Bas Dost goals consigned Braunschweig to defeat - their 4th one in a row.
Perhaps Braunschweig's biggest test of the month was not the games against Bayern or Schalke. It would be the game against overacheivers Wolfsburg in the Lower Saxony Derby. Unfortunately, it didn't take long for Wolfsburg to go ahead through Diego, getting the rebound after his free kick was blocked by the Braunschweig wall. Orhan Ademi later levelled, getting on the end of Ciro Capuano's cross and Braunschweig again held out with a backs to the wall performance that earned them one more point.
So, who will win? Let's find out.
1 - Kick Off
VfL Wolfsburg get the game underway.
3 - Chance
Lamprou's goal kick across the field, the Greek keeper playing his last Braunschweig game as his loan is up. The kick goes forward. Reinartz wins the header, it falls to Maximilian Arnold, he goes past Bicakcic, he finds Perisic, Perisic is through, a chance for IVAN PERISIC! Should not have shot from such a distance.
5 - Chance
Wolfsburg are dominating in these early stages, Vierinha just flies past numerous defenders again, pass to Luiz Gustavo. Kruppke goes in with the tackle, well done by Maximilian Arnold who wins it back, and gives it to Trasch. Back to Arnold, back to GUSTAVO! The long range effort flies over Lamprou's goal.
15 - No Goal
Maximilan Arnold, finds Trasch, crosses, cleared by Kessel, Vierinha gets it, sets up Arnold nicely, Timo Perthel comes in with the challenge. He gives it to Torsten Oerhl, Oerhl to Bellarabi on the counter attack, he beats Rodriguez for pace, cuts back to Marco Caligiuri, long shot stopped by Benaglio but it's BOLAND! 1-0! MIRKO BOLAND TAPS IT IN! NO! Disallowed! It won't count, I think it's an offside call against Boland. Unlucky for Braunschweig.
26 - Chance
Timm Klose heads the ball to Naldo, he's missed it, it's Kruppke for Braunschweig in the centre of the park, out wide to Torsten Oerhl who cuts it back for Karim Bellarabi, he enters the box and SHOOOOOTTTTTTTS! Benaglio didn't need to move a muscle, easy catch, poor effort, from Bellarabi in his last game for Braunschweig.
29 - Chance
The game seems to be going into Braunschweig's favour now... it's a corner to Die Lowen, which will be taken by Dennis Kruppke. He puts one arm up and delivers to CORREIA AT THE NEAR POST! Ooooh! He was unmarked, it's a free header for the Portuguese defender, but he heads it at the side netting.
31 - Chance
Naldo has the ball in the middle, he's under no pressure from Braunschweig, picks out a simple pass, to Christian Trasch. Trasch to Vierinha, he beats Capuano, gives it to Arnold, who puts it back out wide for Vierinha again, this is a good chance... AND THAT'S A BAD MISS! Vierinha went for glory, he went for the near post, he came up with nothing, hit the side netting, and ends up with egg on his face. Disappointing miss for Dieter Hecking's side.
45 - GOAL! TSV Eintracht Braunschweig 1-0 VfL Wolfsburg - Karim Bellarabi
Timm Klose puts the long ball up the pitch here for Wolfsburg, Perisic doesn't challenge for it and possession changes hands, it's Benjamin Kessel, taps it to Bellarabi, he has Oerhl and Kruppke in support, goes past Klose and Rodriguez and HE'S IN, AND HE SCORES! BELLARABI NEEDED NO SUPPORT! HE WALTZED THROUGH THE DEFENCE AND BLASTED IT IN! WHAT A FINISH! Bellarabi scores a cracker here, he had support and he didn't need it nor did he want it. That is a solo goal and Bellarabi has made a massive difference here on the stroke of half time.
So Braunschweig lead. It's certainly interesting, but will Wolfsburg come back to level and maybe win the game? Or will Der BTSV take home the cup? Let's see, in the second half.
46 - Kick Off
It's Braunschweig who start the second period. What does the next 45 minutes have in store?
54 - Chance
Mirko Boland has the ball. He passes to Torsten Oerhl, to Bellarabi, who runs, he beats Ricardo Rodriguez, cuts back for Perthel and he gives it to Kruppke, Perthel takes it back and shooots!!! Blocked! But he's got the rebound now and it's PERTHEL AGAIN! Over!
61 - Chance
Wolfsburg need to score soon to get back in the game, Braunschweig have dominated the half and Die Wolfe have barely got a look in, but they have an opportunity with a corner kick on the left. It's whipped in by Arnold and it's PERISIC! Over the bar, he should have put it in.
72 - Chance
A quiet period seems to be over now, Wolfsburg and Braunschweig are at each other's throats yet again. Vierinha has a free kick for Wolfsburg, he looks to cross it I think, up he steps, and no, that's a shot and not a good one - way over.
74 - Chance
Pekhart has the ball for Wolfsburg and he has time too. No pressure, he finds Brandt who runs at the defence beats his man and gives it to REINARTZ! Shot saved by Lamprou BUT HE'S DROPPED IT! Oh, if only Bas Dost hadn't slipped. Lamprou clutches the ball, he got there just before Dost could react and the Greek keeper will be the first to admit - he got lucky there.
78 - Chance
Increased pressure from Wolfsburg now. Braunschweig can't get a look in but the trailing side are going to need a goal soon. Another chance to get it here. Vierinha's corner to the near post find's Dost... wide. Dreadful effort.
87 - GOAL! TSV Eintracht Braunschweig 2-0 VfL Wolfsburg - Timo Perthel
Wolfsburg break, it's Rodriguez, Pekhart, Benjamin Kessel wins the ball and stops the attack! Kruppke gets the ball, back to Kessel, Torsten Oerhl, Karim Bellarabi, Gustavo tracks back and goes in hard on Bellarabi! He's gone down in the box, but the referee waves play on, Gustavo clears but only as far as Perthel AND OH MY WORD! WHAT A GOAL! FROM 35 YARDS OUT! TIMO PERTHEL! The game is beyond doubt, Perthel smashed it from miles away and beat Benaglio, though maybe the Swiss keeper should have stopped it.
90 - Full Time - TSV Eintracht Braunschweig 2-0 VfL Wolfsburg
Robin Knoche plays the long ball, out for a goal kick, the referee looks at his watch and blows the final whistle! Braunschweig are DFB-Pokal winners! What a win!
Braunschweig players and fans celebrate on the Olympiastadion turf! VfL Wolfsburg's players are dejected, and nobody more than key player Diego who missed the final with injury, being forced to sit alongside Dieter Hecking in the dug out. And Dieter Hecking himself - his mind games spectacularly backfired. He said his side had practically won the game - but Braunschweig were the better side and deservedly won. A great performance from Benjamin Kessel and Karim Bellarabi in particular.
Journalist: Congratulations Benno, you must be delighted!
Benno Mohlmann: Oh yes, I am. Only one side can win the cup each year and this year it's us. I'm over the moon.
J: At times, during the campaign, did you feel it was all hopeless?
BM: At times we were bottom in the Bundesliga table. And at times in the cup - like against Stuttgart - we didn't think it would go our way. But it did and of course we were lucky - but luck wins the cup and that's what we've done.
J: Despite your triumph, Karim Bellarabi and Kostas Lamprou will both depart soon as their loan deals run out. Will you look to get them again?
BM: Obviously, Kostas and Karim will be missed if we can't replace them but we will - maybe with themselves, haha! The squad will be different of course. Matthias Henn wants to leave and Damir Vrancic will be back after his spell at Hoffenheim. Hopefully we'll do even better next year.
J: You're in next years Europa League; do you think that will attract more players?
BM: Maybe, maybe.
J: Once again, congratulations, Benno.
BM: Thank you.