Bayer Leverkusen cruised past Fortuna Düsseldorf in the DFB Cup semi-finals. - © IMAGO/Dennis Ewert/RHR-FOTO
Bayer Leverkusen cruised past Fortuna Düsseldorf in the DFB Cup semi-finals. - © IMAGO/Dennis Ewert/RHR-FOTO

Unbeaten Bayer Leverkusen cruise past Fortuna Düsseldorf to book DFB Cup final berth


Bayer Leverkusen will face Kaiserslautern in this season's DFB Cup final after dispatching Bundesliga 2's Fortuna Düsseldorf to go 40 competitive games unbeaten.

Bayer Leverkusen 4-0 Fortuna Düsseldorf
Goals: 1-0
Frimpong 7' (assist: Schick), 2-0 Adli 20' (assist: Wirtz), 3-0 Wirtz 35' (assist: Adli), 4-0 Wirtz (pen. 60')

Leverkusen left it very late to preserve their unbeaten record against Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga at the weekend, but flew out of the blocks in their semi-final tie. Jeremie Frimpong had already gone close to converting an Álex Grimaldo cross, when he rifled high into the net from inside the Fortuna box with seven minutes on the clock. Robert Andrich fired over, before Florian Wirtz fed Amine Adli for an unerring drive into the bottom corner. Florian Kastenmeier repelled Grimaldo as the barrage continued, but it was the Fortuna stopper's errant pass that gifted the Bundesliga leaders a third goal. Wirtz then supplied the finish to a punishing attacking move that put Bayer in total control at the break.

Leverkusen picked up where they left off after the restart, dictacting proceedings in a veritable game of cat and mouse. There were no takers as Adli sent over a devilish cross, before Andrich drifted a warning shot into the stand behind Kastenmeier's goal. Christos Tzolis finally gave the visiting fans something to cheer with a shot on the turn that forced Matěj Kovář to parry, but normal service was resumed on the hour mark. Moments after heading onto the woodwork, Patrik Schick won a penalty for a handball decision against Matthias Zimmermann. Wirtz duly sunk the ensuing spot-kick as chants of "Berlin, Berlin - we're going to Berlin" reverberated around the BayArena. Alonso's runaway Bundesliga leaders - who are also through to the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals - take on Bundesliga 2 representatives Kaiserslautern in the German capital on 25 May.

Match stats

  • Leverkusen have won 35 and drawn five of their 40 matches in all competitions so far this season.
  • Wirtz has 31 goal involvements to show for his 38 competitive appearances for B04 in 2023/24 (13 goals, 18 assists).
  • Second-half Leverkusen substitute Victor Boniface made his first appearance of 2024, following a groin injury.
  • Alonso won the DFB Cup as a Bayern Munich player under Pep Guardiola in 2016, and could follow his former boss as only the second Spanish coach to lift the trophy.
  • Bayer are the competition's top scorers this year with 22 goals, beating the previous 19-goal club best from 1988/89.
  • The DFB Cup was Leverkusen’s last major honour, won back in 1993. They were runners-up in 2002, 2008 and 2020.


Leverkusen: Kovář - Stanišić, Tah (c), Tapsoba - Frimpong, Xhaka (Kossounou 78'), Andrich, Grimaldo (Hincapié 71') - Adli (Tella 65'), Wirtz (Hofmann 65') - Schick (Boniface 65')
Unused subs: Hradecky, Palacios, Borja Iglesias, Hlozek
Out: Arthur (thigh)
Xabi Alonso 

Fortuna: Katsenmeier - Zimmermann (Vermeij 85'), Siebert, Hoffmann (c) (Quarshie 46'), Iyoha (Jastrzembski 76') - Oberdorf, Engelhardt - Klaus (Sobottka 46'), Jóhannesson, Tzolis - Mustapha (Niemiec 65')
Unused subs: Niemczycki, de Wijs, Appelkamp, Daferner
Out: Bunk (collarbone), De Wijs (muscular), Gavory (muscular), Tanaka (appendectomy), Uchino (unconfirmed)
Daniel Thioune

As it happened!

4 - 0

(3 - 0)

DFB Pokal
Semi-final BayArena

Full time: Bayer Leverkusen 4-0 Fortuna Düsseldorf

Leverkusen are heading back to Berlin after a dominant home performance. That's now a whopping 40 games unbeaten in all competitions for Alonso's men, and it's easy to see why. Fortuna gave it a go and should have got on the scoresheet, but a poor start condemned them to an easy defeat. It's over to you, Kaiserslautern...
+ 1

Should've scored

Vermeij misses the chance to leave Fortuna's fans with a present as his header is sent straight at Kovar. Either side and it was a goal.

Excellent defending from Quarshie

Tella has the run of the pitch as B04 set up a counter, but Quarshie comes from nowhere to stop the speed demon just as he lines up to make it five.

Boniface gets involved

Boniface nearly has an assist on his return as he finds some room in the box and sets up Frimpong. The Dutchman's finish isn't good enough, though.

Total control

Fortuna are just passengers now as Leverkusen see out the half barely letting go of the ball.

Don't let up

Even at 4-0, Alonso remains incredibly animated on the touchline, keeping the high standards that have seen his side stay unbeaten.


Tzolis goes down in the box with Frimpong on his back, but replays show the Greek in fact tripped himself over and his Dutch rival got the ball.

Watch: Bayer's control centre - Xhaka & Andrich

Surviving the sweeping changes were Bayer's two key midfielders Xhaka and Andrich, here's why they're so important.

Watch: Alex Grimaldo free kick specialist

Here's a look at some of Grimaldo's free kick stunners from the season so far.

Grimaldo takes aim

After going close in open play, Grimaldo launches a trademark knuckleball from a free kick, but it's just over the bar.

Time for a rest

Alonso makes four changes, taking off key men perhaps with an eye on West Ham in the Europa League. Of those coming on, the returning Boniface obviously gets the biggest cheer.



Boniface gets ready

Cheers go around the BayArena as Victor Boniface begins warming up. This could be his first appearance of 2024.

Wirtz with his second

The keeper goes the right way, but Wirtz shows his class as he squeezes the ball inside the left hand post.
Florian Wirtz

Penalty for Leverkusen!

It seems harsh but Shick's off target header hits Matthias Zimmermann's hand in the box and the referee points to the spot after consulting VAR.

Watch: Fortuna for all

After this match, Fortuna will again make their next Bundesliga 2 match free to attend, here's why...

Düsseldorf should be on the board!

Fortuna work a chance and it's their best one yet. A low cross comes in for Tzolis and although he connects, Kovar is equal to it again. The Greek should have scored.

B04 back on top

Leverkusen put together a wonderful passing move to start the second half, but Adli's pull back isn't good enough to crown the move with a goal.

Double change

Thioune makes a double change in an effort to shore things up, and perhaps get back into the game

Back underway

We're back at the BayArena as Fortuna boss Thioune looks to do the impossible.

Watch: Xabi Alonso is staying put

This match is just another reason among hundreds why Leverkusen fans are still buzzing about Xabi Alonso's decision to stay at the club next season...

Half-time: Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 Fortuna Düsseldorf

Leverkusen did exactly what Alonso wanted it steamrolled Fortuna from the off. Andre Hoffman's late chance may have reduced the deficit and given the away side some half-time encouragement, but it's looking likely that Alonso's side will be heading to Berlin.
+ 2

Nearly four before the break

Xhaka has a shot blocked after some fine work from Grimaldo, and then Wirtz twists his defender before almost making it four.

Close to 3-1!

Fortuna nearly get back in the game just before the break as the ball falls to an unmarked Andre Hoffmann in the box, but Kovar gets across well to keep the away side scoreless.

Fortuna chance

Fortuna continue trying to capitalise on their brief moments of possession, this time Jamil Siebert sends a long-range shot just wide.

Wirtz again

Wirtz lets rip from range after a quick turnover of possession and Florian Kastenmeier is forced to tip over the moving shot for a corner.

Watch: Wirtz & Musiala - Germany's future

We're getting incredibly used to Wirtz finding the back of the net, and here's why Germany fans are getting so excited for Euro 2024.

Ill discipline

Fortuna pick up their first yellow card as Tzolis takes down Xhaka with force. Frimpong also requires some brief treatment from another tough challenge moments earlier.

Wirtz with a hammer blow!

Florian Wirtz makes it three as Leverkusen quickly regain possession in the opposition half and give him the ball. With one defender in his way, the attacker leaves him in the dust and unleashes a vicious shot into the net.
Florian Wirtz

Aerial competence

Alex Grimaldo twice tries with crosses into the box, but Fortuna will be happy with those, as they're so far showing strong ability in defending high balls.

They can't handle him

Adli goes on a run, taking the ball from the halfway line to the edge of Fortuna's box. His shot is blocked for a corner.

Cup king Adli

Adli goes close again, and it's time to highlight his stats as the competition's top scorer with five goals.

Frimpong showcase

Leverkusen patiently work an attack, but after briefly losing possessing, Frimpong earns it back and nearly creates a chance with his astonishing pace. Clearly fed up, Marlon Mustapha soon responds with a foul on the flying wingback.

Adli makes it two!

Another quick Leverkusen attack sees Wirtz find Amine Adli, and although he has options, the forward confidently carries the ball forward and unleashed a shot inside the far post.

Amine Adli


Amine Adli

Andrich lets rip

Robert Andrich threatens. He tries to replicate his equaliser against Hoffenheim, but from further out, and it whistles over the bar.

Fortuna get away with one

A Leverkusen counter sees four vs two heading into the Fortuna box, but Frimpong makes a rare error, failing to find one of his teammates with a cross across the box.

Watch: All of Jeremie Frimpong's goals

Despite being a defender by trade, Frimpong just can't stop scoring. That was his 12th in all competitions, and here are his Bundesliga strikes.

Fortuna not deterred

The away side keep up their high pressing and high line despite going behind, and create their second chance of the game through Christos Tzolis.

Frimpong on fire!

After going close twice, Frimpong finally ends up with the ball unmarked in the away area, and he thumps it home for an early lead.

First chance

Jeremie Frimong is nearly found at the far post for a tap-in, but a touch from the defender earns a first corner of the match.

First opening

Patrik Schick finds himself some space on the edge of the away area, but his pass to Florian Wirtz is just cut out with the German ready to fire home.

Fortuna with energy

Fortuna give away two free kicks in the first three minutes as they chase down Leverkusen like a pack of dogs.

Off we go!

We're underway at the BayArena as Fortuna look to cause an almighty upset against the undefeated Leverkusen.

No more comebacks

Xabi Alonso isn't looking for another late show from his team, commenting pre-match: "There have been big surprises, we don't want that today. We need a complete performance."

Hradecky on Alonso

On the bench as he has been for the entire cup run, no.1 goalkeeper Hradecky commented on manager Xabi Alonso announcing his stay for the 2024/25 season: "We gave him some applause in the dressing room when he told us. He's a big part of the team and the development that we've been showing. We're of course grateful for the faith he's shown us and hopefully we can keep going well this season and next season on the path he wants to go on. He's a fantastic coach."

History books

Should they seal their final spot against Kaiserslautern in Berlin on May 25, Leverkusen will contest their fifth final, having lifted the trophy once in 1993. Fortuna have a better record, with seven final appearances and two wins in 1979 and 1980.

Tanaka loss

Fortuna sporting director Christian Weber commented on the loss of their star man, saying: "It's really bad news for us, we have seen the best out of him since he arrived and it's a pity for us and it's also a pity for the player."

Another late show?

Even with a lead heading into stoppage time, Fortuna Düsseldorf will know things aren't over thanks to Leverkusen's recent late-show heroics...

Boniface returns, but only to the bench

Xabi Alonso has welcomed back star striker Victor Boniface to his squad for the first time in 2024, but the Nigerian doesn't make the XI. Instead Lukas Hradecky, Piero Hincapie and Jonas Hofmann make way for Matej Kovar, Josip Stanisic and Amine Adli.

Tanaka blow and three changes

Daniel Thioune has made three changes to the team that beat Kaiserslautern last time out, with one of them forced as star midfielder Ao Tanaka underwent an appendectomy. Takashi Uchino is not in the squad, while Shinta Appelkamp is benched. Making their way into the team are Emmanuel Iyoha, Andre Hoffmann and Isak Johannesson.

Leverkusen line-up

Kovář - Stanišić, Tah (c), Tapsoba - Frimpong, Xhaka, Andrich, Grimaldo - Adli, Wirtz - Schick

Leverkusen subs

Hradecky, Hincapie, Kossounou, Hofmann, Palacios, Boniface, Borja Iglesias, Hlozek, Tella

Fortuna line-up

Katsenmeier - Zimmermann, Siebert, Hoffmann (c), Iyoha - Oberdorf, Engelhardt - Klaus, Jóhannesson, Tzolis - Mustapha

Fortuna subs

Niemczycki, de Wijs, Quarshie, Appelkamp, Jastrzembski, Sobottka, Daferner, Niemiec, Vermeij

Watch: Alonso talks Leverkusen spirit

The home side's season has been defined by a series of late heroics, the latest seeing them secure a dramatic victory over Hoffenheim at the weekend that puts them on the brink of the title. Alonso spoke after that win about his team's never-say-die attitude.

History awaits

Tonight marks a momentous occasion for both sides, with the winner going on to face second-tier Kaiserslautern in the final on 25 May. For Leverkusen, they're gunning for the treble as their remarkable - and currently unbeaten - season approaches what is shaping up to be an historic home stretch. Fortuna, meanwhile, are third in the second-tier and the prospect of both promotion to the Bundesliga and a cup final will have their fans similarly salivating.

Alonso on Fortuna

“We’re expecting very good opponents, not just from the last game but they’re on a good run, they’re in good form. We’ve watched a lot of their games. Tomorrow it’s a semi-final for both teams, a big chance to play in a final. That’s not easy, and we’ll give everything to get to Berlin."

Watch: Fortuna's top 5 goals this season

Enjoy the five best goals from Bundesliga promotion hopefuls and DFB Cup semi-finalists Fortuna Düsseldorf in the 2023/24 Bundesliga 2 season.

Thioune on Leverkusen

"We don't decide whether we progress, Bayer Leverkusen do that with the performance they put on the pitch against us. Unfortunately, I can't ask any of my colleagues how to beat them because nobody has ever won against Leverkusen. That's why I have to come up with something myself."

More late drama?

Both these teams like leaving it late, with Leverkusen winning from 1-0 down in the 88th minute last time out, and needing three stoppage time Patrik Schick goals in the Europa League to see off Qarabag in their last 16 tie. Düsseldorf, meanwhile, have won two of their DFB Cup matches after full-time, most recently beating St. Pauli on penalties in the quarter-finals.

Watch: Kaiserslautern 1-3 Fortuna Düsseldorf

Düsseldorf prepared for their daunting trip to the BayArena in the best way possible - with a confidence boosting Bundesliga 2 win. Leapfrogging Hamburg into the relegation/promotion spot for the top flight, Düsseldorf could well be playing Leverkusen in the league next year, and will want to show they've got what it takes.

Watch: Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Hoffenheim

Leverkusen looked like they may finally be heading for a first defeat of the season against Hoffenheim, finding themselves 1-0 down with two minutes of normal play. Robert Andrich equalised before another Patrik Schick late show edged them even closer to a first Bundesliga title. Now unbeaten in 39 games in all competitions, Xabi Alonso's men are firm favourites against Dusseldorf.

Hello and welcome!

Thanks for joining us for build-up and live coverage of this DFB Cup semi-final match between Bayer Leverkusen and Fortuna Düsseldorf.