FC Bayern München have claimed the German Women's Cup for the first time after overcoming UEFA Women's Champions League finalists 1. FFC Frankfurt thanks to second-half strikes by Sarah Hagen and Ivana Rudelic.
Though holders Frankfurt had their chances to break the deadlock in an even first period, Bayern took the lead on 63 minutes when Hagen, the American who scored a hat-trick in the semi-final, nodded in from close range. Thereafter, the holders had no answer to Bayern and conceded again in added time when substitute Rudelic burst through to score.
It might have been a different story had Frankfurt, who face Olympique Lyonnais in the UEFA Women's Champions League final in Munich in five days' time, had exploited the opportunities that came their way. On 26 minutes, Bayern goalkeeper Kathrin Längert diverted Melanie Behringer's free-kick against the bar and both Sandra Smisek and Svenja Huth failed to convert the subsequent rebounds.
Bayern grew stronger as the match wore on and deservedly took the lead against the holders and eight-time winners Frankfurt when Hagen nodded in a corner from close range. There was no reaction from Frankfurt, who lie fourth in the Frauen Bundesliga and whose only remaining hope of silverware is Thursday's final in Munich.
Their fate, witnessed by 15,000 supporters in Cologne, was sealed in the dying seconds of the match when Rudelic, who scored in Germany's UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship victory against Norway last year, raced clear and kept her nerve to seal victory. "We are overwhelmed," said Bayern coach Thomas Wörle. "We knew that we had to excel, we believed in ourselves, but it is definitely a great feeling. Congratulations to my players."
Frankfurt's disappointed coach Sven Kahlert was less enamoured by his side's showing but was gracious in defeat. "It was a well-earned victory [for Bayern]," he said. "They did what I had expected from my team. We knew from the outset that it would be a difficult game. We knew that from our league games against Bayern, but whereas they developed their game we did not. If my side play again like they did today, it will be very difficult for them on Thursday."
Frankfurt lie seven points behind leaders 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam with two games left but are within six points of the team in the second European qualifying slot, VfL Wolfsburg, their next league opponents on 20 May. Only the top two qualify for European competition next term, but Germany will have a third entrant if Kahlert's charges overcome Lyon finishing outside the top two places.
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