Hamburg 1 RB Leipzig 3: Poulsen and Forsberg fire visitors into DFB-Pokal final

By Sports Desk April 23, 2019

Yussuf Poulsen and Emil Forsberg fired RB Leipzig into the DFB-Pokal for the first time in their history with a 3-1 win over Hamburg at Volksparkstadion on Tuesday.

Denmark international Poulsen opened the scoring for the Bundesliga side early on and played a key part in Vasilije Janjicic putting through his own net after Bakery Jatta equalised in the 23rd minute.

Hamburg were unable to restore parity once more as Emil Forsberg added a third for Leipzig with 18 minutes to play.

Ralf Rangnick's side will now face either Bayern Munich or Werder Bremen, who meet on Wednesday, in the final at the Olympiastadion on May 25.

Leipzig were rewarded for a fast start as Poulsen profited from some slack defending to guide Marcel Halstenberg's corner past Julian Pollersbeck from eight yards in the 12th minute.

The hosts should have been two goals behind within 15 minutes but were saved by the frame of their goal when Poulsen and Marcel Sabitzer both hit the post in the space of four seconds.

Hamburg made the most of that let off thanks to a goal against the run of play, with Jatta winning the ball from Kevin Kampl and lifting a bending effort over an off-guard Peter Gulacsi.

It took just eight second-half minutes for Rangnick's men to regain their advantage, though. Wary of the lurking Timo Werner, Janjicic turned Kampl's ball across the face of goal into his own net.

Leipzig put the game beyond doubt through Forsberg's strike from the edge of the box, picking out the bottom-left corner just three minutes after he rattled the crossbar.

 

What does it mean? First final awaits Leipzig

A seventh win in a row for Leipzig leaves them on course for a first major honour. The Red Bulls had never previously made it past round three of the Pokal, most recently being knocked out in the second round at the hands of Bayern last season.

With a 10-point advantage over the chasing pack in the race for a top-four finish in the Bundesliga and just four games remaining, Rangnick's side can focus on a date with Bayern or Bremen in Berlin.

Poulsen steps up

Poulsen gave his side a deserved lead and played a huge part in Leipzig's pivotal second, which came when Hamburg were threatening another equaliser. The striker now has 19 goals in all competitions.

Kampl and Gulacsi's blushes spared

Leipzig were boasting a one-goal lead and were in control of the match when Kampl was put under pressure by Jatta and gave away possession near the touchline. A backpedalling Gulacsi should have bailed his team-mate out but was unable to get any power behind his one-handed save, allowing the ball to creep over his head. 

Thankfully for the embarrassed Leipzig pair, Janjicic's own goal and Forsberg's strike put their side back in command.

What's next?

Leipzig could wrap up Champions League qualification from the Bundesliga in their home match against Freiburg on Saturday, while Hamburg travel to Union Berlin the following day.

Related items

  • Lewandowski confirms contract extension "95 per cent" done Lewandowski confirms contract extension "95 per cent" done

    Robert Lewandowski talks over a contract extension at Bayern Munich are "95 per cent" done.

    Poland striker Lewandowski played a starring role as Bayern rolled Schalke aside with minimal fuss in Gelsenkirchen on Saturday, scoring a hat-trick in the 3-0 win.

    There was further reason for fan celebrations after the match as Lewandowski – who is contracted until 2021 – confirmed he is close to securing a reported two-year extension.

    When it was put to him the deal was 99 per cent concluded, Lewandowski told Sky: "Not yet, maybe 95 per cent."

    Lewandowski hit 22 goals last term to finish as the Bundesliga's top scorer and he is confident he will have another stellar campaign in 2019-20.

    "I can always play better and I have the potential improve each season," he added. "I can do something special on my own every season, but I try to help the team. No matter who I play against, I always try to score goals."

    His coach Niko Kovac was similarly upbeat about Lewandowski, saluting the 31-year-old's impact on German football.

    "[His performance was] sensationally good, that's what he's there for," the Croatian said. "That's what he can do.

    "He has already proved in the last five, six, seven years – I don't know how long he has been in Germany – that he's the best striker in the Bundesliga.

    "Not only in the last game, but also today. His efficiency and accuracy are unique. We are glad that we have him and I hope that he will continue like this in the next weeks and months."

  • Zidane pleads for fans' support despite extra pressure at Real Madrid Zidane pleads for fans' support despite extra pressure at Real Madrid

    Zinedine Zidane urged Real Madrid fans to stay on side as he recognises the team are under more pressure this term because of last season's troubles.

    Madrid played their first home match of the 2019-20 campaign on Saturday but were held to a shock 1-1 draw by Real Valladolid.

    Karim Benzema scored what Madrid thought to be the winner in the 82nd minute, but Sergi Guardiola struck his second goal of the season even later to salvage a commendable point for the visitors.

    Little has gone the way of Madrid – or Zidane – in recent months, with their close season marred by the ugly Gareth Bale transfer saga, poor friendly performances and uncertainty around some of the new signings.

    Having finished last season 19 points adrift of Barcelona, Zidane knows the pressure has increased again this season and he is pleading for fans to lend their backing.

    When asked if the team is under more scrutiny because of last term, Zidane said: "I noticed it at the Bernabeu - the crowd [feels the pressure] too.

    "The fans also have to help us. There's no choice. I know it is difficult, but I'm asking because they have also taken advantage of our successes. We will try everything on our part."

    Madrid are next in league action on September 1, when they travel to Villarreal.

  • Manchester City star Sterling deserves all plaudits for improvement – Guardiola Manchester City star Sterling deserves all plaudits for improvement – Guardiola

    Pep Guardiola appreciates Raheem Sterling's willingness to listen but insists the Manchester City star's development into a world-class player is entirely of his own making.

    England international Sterling has blossomed into one of the Premier League's most dangerous attackers under Guardiola's stewardship.

    The former Liverpool winger scored 18 and 17 goals in successive title-winning campaigns and boasts four in two appearances this term, including a hat-trick against West Ham on the opening weekend.

    Guardiola believes it will be tough for Sterling to beat out-and-out strikers to the Golden Boot but praised his appetite for improvement.

    "I think he's a better player, like I said last season. It's all [to] his credit, his desire to be better," Guardiola said.

    "I think every player is good when they understand what we want to do as a group... he's a guy who is incredibly receptive when we have our talks, when Mikel [Arteta, City first-team coach] speaks with him or myself.

    "It's nice, when they don't get that feeling like 'oh, always pushing me or criticising me'.

    "He's open. From day one since we arrived. That's why he's becoming an incredible, exceptional player.

    "After that his physicality [is excellent], he plays every three days and no injuries. He runs a lot and his genetics are so strong. It's good."

    Sterling's injury free run could not contrast more sharply with the difficulties faced by Benjamin Mendy.

    The France left-back has suffered two serious knee injuries since joining the club in 2017 but is now back in training and, according to Guardiola, can still realise his potential.

    "Yes, if he's fit he'll have success," the City boss said.

    "He has a special quality. Right now I'm happy. I don't want to say any big words, but I'm satisfied because for two weeks, the day after training sessions, he feels good.

    "He doesn't feel pain and that's good.

    "I think he's training well. The people from Barcelona [where Mendy underwent surgery in November] told me he's working incredibly, like an animal. Hopefully he can maintain that because it's not one day, it's not one week. It's every day doing that."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.