Bayer Leverkusen celebrate German double with DFB Cup final win over Kaiserslautern


A superb Granit Xhaka strike proved the difference as Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen edged past Bundesliga 2's Kaiserslautern to make it a German double with victory in the 2023/24 DFB Cup final.

Kaiserslautern 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen
Goals: 0-1 
Xhaka 16'
Red card: 
Kossounou 44'

Kaiserslautern were backed by a vociferous following in Berlin as they went out eager to shake off their underdogs tag and spoil Leverkusen's double dream. Daniel Hanslik sent a testing drive on the champions' goal in the opening minutes and Lukáš Hrádecký dived well to keep it out. Xabi Alonso's charges soon showed the kind of quality that took them to an unprecedented unbeaten Bundesliga season, though, with Jeremie Frimpong, Patrik Schick and Florian Wirtz all threatening. The breakthrough came with 15 minutes on the clock when Xhaka latched on to a loose ball to dispatch a deadly drive into the top corner from over 20 yards out. Leverkusen continued to pile the pressure on their Bundesliga 2 opponents, with Alex Grimaldo almost setting up a second for Schick before sending a shot wide. Just when Leverkusen appeared to be breezing towards a win, the first half had a final twist in store as Odilon Kossounou was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Boris Tomiak. Tobias Raschl then drove wide when he could have levelled in first-half stoppage time.

A trio of half-time substitutes were in the thick of things after the restart. Amine Adli hit the first effort of the second period before Josip Stanišić headed narrowly wide from a corner. Leverkusen appeared to be back in control of proceedings, but Kaiserslautern substitute Ragnar Ache flashed an effort wide before having a shot saved. Tymoteusz Puchacz also fired wide before Frimpong brought the ball into a threatening position and Adli steered a shot narrowly off target in a relatively open and even final phase. Despite not gaining the kind of dominance on the night that was expected, Leverkusen took their lead over the line to send their fans wild with a second DFB Cup in club history and a first domestic double.

Watch: Leverkusen win 2023/24 double!

Click here for DFB Cup final reaction!

Match stats

  • Leverkusen finished 2023/24 unbeaten in domestic competition across 34 Bundesliga and six DFB Cup games.
  • Alonso's the third man after Niko Kovač and Hansi Flick to win a Bundesliga-DFB Cup double as a player and coach.
  • Leverkusen also won the 1992/93 DFB Cup, before runners-up finishes in 2001/02, 2008/09 and 2019/20. They have become only the sixth club to win the domestic double in Germany.
  • Xhaka's strike was his first ever in the DFB Cup.
  • Adli finishes this season's DFB Cup as top scorer, with five goals.
  • The match was Friedhelm Funkel's last as Kaiserslautern coach after taking over in February.


Kaiserslautern: Krahl - Zimmer (c) (Touré 90+3'), Tomiak, Elvedi, Puchacz - Kaloc, Raschl (Klement 83') , Zolinski (Tachie 74'), Ritter, Redondo (Opoku 83') - Hanslik (Ache 46')
Unused subs: Himmelmann, Ronstadt, Aremu
Out: Niehues (knee), Zuck (knee)
Coach: Friedhelm Funkel

Leverkusen: Hrádecký (c) - Kossounou, Tah, Tapsoba - Frimpong (Tella 90+3'), Xhaka, Andrich, Grimaldo (Hincapie 85') - Hofmann (Stanišić 46'), Wirtz (Hložek 90+3') - Schick (Adli 46')
Unused subs: Kovář, Palacios, Boniface, Iglesias
Coach: Xabi Alonso

As it happened!

0 - 1

(0 - 1)

DFB Pokal
Final Olympiastadion, Berlin

Bayer04 celebrations underway!

Xabi Alonso's double winners are partying with their fans in Leverkusen!

Watch: Party time for Leverkusen fans!

+ 6

Leverkusen win the double!

They've done it! Bayer Leverkusen add the DFB Cup to their Bundesliga title. It wasn't easy, but they managed the challenge of playing the second half with 10 men with real professionalism.
+ 5


Xhaka throws himself at a loose ball on the edge of the area to make a heroic clearance. He's caught by Tomiak in the process, but it's Klement who goes into the book for his reaction to the referee's whistle.
+ 5

Yellow card

+ 3


+ 3



SIX added minutes!

Do Kaiserslautern have one last push in them?

Half chances

It suddenly opens up for Hincapié on the break. He clips a pass back to Frimpong, who loses his footing in the penalty area, just when the chance was on. Bayer come again as Wirtz meets Xhaka's clipped pass, but Grahl is alert to the danger and is out quickly to block. Two big let-offs for Kaiserslautern.

Winding down the clock

Hradecky's in no rush to release the ball after coming to claim a searching cross from the left-hand side. There will be a lengthy amount of stoppage time, remember...


Wirtz shows a great touch to bring a long ball under wraps in the FCK area, but he can't get round his marker. Heavy legs from the youngster...

Attacking changes

It's now or never for Funkel's team. They go on the attack, but Ritter's long-range effort is charged down.

Good spell for Leverkusen

They're dictating the pace again, and still managing to press high, despite having to play with 10 men since late in the first half.

What a chance!

Wirtz works his magic and sends Frimpong in on goal. The Leverkusen full-back rounds Grahl, but without looking goes for the cut-back, which he plays straight to a Kaiserslautern defender. All he had to do was glance across at the box, and he'd have seen Wirtz unmarked. Adli then hits one wide from distance.

Fresh legs

Forward Tachie's on for defender Zolinski. The Kaiserslautern substitute has three goals and six assists so far this season.

Mixed feelings

The Leverkusen fans are in fine voice, but these are nervy times for the Bundesliga champions. Alonso may be considering further changes as his players tire...

Possession count

Kaiserslautern lead the way 53 to 47 percent in the second half, as you might expect for a team a man to the good.

Head-Ache for Leverkusen

The Kaiserslautern sub wriggles away from Tah around 20 yards from goal, before drawing a strong diving save from Hradecky. Alonso looks on pensively...

Warning shot

Ache wins a long ball ahead of Tah. The former Frankfurt forward runs towards the edge of the area, but his low strike lacks power and precision, and Hradecky just watches it wide.

Power of the punch

Krahl's taking no chances as Adli fires in a dipping strike from range. Stanišić meets Grimaldo's ensuing corner, the Bayern Munich loanee glancing a header wide.

Set up to counter

Leverkusen hog the ball, before a mistake allows Ache a chance to instigate a break on halfway. He lays the ball off and races towards the edge of the box, but the return pass is picked off by a black shirt.

Play resumes

Away we go again in the German capital...


The referee halts play as some Kaiserslautern fans let off fireworks in the stand behind the Leverkusen goal.

Second-half changes

Josip Stanišić is on to plug the gap left by Odilon Kossounou, while Amine Adli replaces lone striker Patrik Schick. Kaiserlautern make one change, with top scorer Ragnar Ache - a doubt before the game - on for Daniel Hanslik

Watch: All Granit Xhaka's Bundesliga goals

Xhaka doesn't score a lot of goals, but they're usually pretty special when he does!

Half-time! Kaiserslautern 0-1 Leverkusen

Granit Xhaka's thunderbolt has Bayer in front, but Odilon Kossounou's sending off for two bookable offences means there is still along way to go in the 2023/24 DFB Cup final. Will Kaiserslautern make their man advantage count?
+ 2


Leverkusen don't deal with a ball into the box. It's knocked back for Raschl, who drives agonisingly wide of the far post. The keeper was beaten!

Time added on

Three minutes at the end of a curious first half...

Kossounou sent off!

Well, well. Leverkusen are reduced to 10 men as Kossounou collects his second booking - this one for a dangerous, studs-up challenge on Tomiak. Kaiserslautern might not get a better chance to turn things around...

Second yellow card


Flo-look pass

Wirtz tries to disguise a reverse pass into the feet of Schick, but overcooks his effort and the ball goes straight through to Krahl.

One-way traffic

Leverkusen have the white shirts hemmed in their own half. The Red Devils will do well to get to the break only a goal down...

Watch: Leverkusen fans celebrate Xhaka's rocket


Redondo a threat

Another shaky moment for Kossounou as he tussles for a long ball with Redondo, but the referee blows for a foul against the Kaiserslautern attacker. Not a bad ploy to target the Bayer defender, who's on a booking...

Leverkusen in control

That goal has really unsettled Kaiserslautern. They've been chasing shadows ever since.


The Spaniard is a whisker away from doubling Bayer's lead with an out-swinging free-kick. Is there anyone with a better knuckle-ball in football today?

Tomiak to the rescue!

Grimaldo clips the ball to the left of the advancing Krahl. Schick looks set to turn it into the open net, but Tomiak has other ideas. Superb intervention.

No fake-out this time

Xhaka feigned injury when he scored against Mainz in February - something he played on when celebrating his opener in Berlin.

Invincible double?

A reminder that Leverkusen are unbeaten in competitive meetings with German opposition this season - 34 Bundesliga and five DFB Cup fixtures.

Pick that out!

Xhaka thunders Leverkusen in front with an absolute rocket from over 20 yards out. Kaiserslautern just couldn't get the ball clear, and Bayer's midfield general made them pay with an unerring first-time hit for his first DFB Cup goal!

Granit Xhaka


Granit Xhaka

Krahl to the rescue

Wirtz shows all his class with a waltzing run into the Kaiserslautern area. He then gets off a fierce low strike that Krahl does really well to block with his left leg.


Leverkusen attack with Grimaldo, who slides a ball towards Schick in the penalty area. He motions to apply a first-time finish, but Raschl slides in to make a crucial block.

Right idea

Frimpong goes on a solo run up the right-hand side. He darts into the area and turns his marker, but the Dutchman's shot is fairly routine for Krahl at his near post.

Taking it to the champs

Alonso warned in his pre-match presser that Kaiserslautern's league standing was irrelevant. They're certainly not playing like a lowly Bundesliga 2 outfit in the early exchanges, backed by a vociferous support.

Worth a crack!

Kaiserslautern come again with Hanslik, who skates in off the right and draws a full-stretch save from Hradecky. The Red Devils mean business!

First booking

Kossounou barges over Redondo as Kaiserslautern threaten on the counter. He goes into the book, before Hanslik sends in a free-kick that Bayer just about deal with.

Yellow card


Lively already!

Leverkusen are straight on the attack. Grimaldo swings over a cross towards Schick, but he's beaten to it on the edge of the six-yard box. Likely a sign of things to come...

Niceties done

All smiles between captains Lukas Hradecky and Jean Zimmer, with the Leverkusen skipper winning the toss and electing to kick off. Bastian Dankert is the man in the middle.

Teams out!

Leverkusen are in their usual black kits with red trim. Kaiserslautern are dressed in all white.

Kick-off approaching

The atmosphere is truly electric!

Kaiserslautern fans loving the occasion

Over 25,000 Kaiserslautern fans are expected to cheer their side on from within the Olympiastadion. For a club that has been out of the top flight since 2012, making this year's final is a special moment in their proud history.

Lively Leverkusen fans

They have come to the German capital in their thousands and have clearly put the disappointment of Dublin on Wednesday behind them as they eye a domestic double tonight.

More on that Kaiserslautern team

The Red Devils' top scorer this season, Ragnar Ache, only starts on the bench after recovering from injury, but Marlon Ritter (pictured) might be confident of finding the net after smashing a hat-trick in Kaiserslautern's 5-0 win over Braunschweig on the final day of Bundesliga 2.

More on that Leverkusen team

Xabi Alonso makes five changes to the side that began the UEFA Europa League final in Dublin on Wednesday. Patrik Schick (pictured) gets the nod to start up front, while Andrich, Kossounou, Hofmann and Hrádecký are also brought into the side.

Kaiserslautern starting XI

Krahl - Zimmer (c), Tomiak, Elvedi, Puchacz - Kaloc, Raschl, Zolinski, Ritter, Redondo - Hanslik

Kaiserslautern subs

Himmelmann, Touré, Ronstadt, Toure, Aremu, Klement, Ache, Opoku

Leverkusen starting XI

Hrádecký (c) - Kossounou, Tah, Tapsoba - Frimpong, Xhaka, Andrich, Grimaldo - Hofmann, Wirtz - Schick

Leverkusen subs

Kovář, Stanišić, Hincapie, Palacios, Adli, Boniface, Iglesias, Hložek, Tella

Watch: Leverkusen 2-1 Augsburg - highlights

Leverkusen beat Augsburg on the final day to become the first team to go unbeaten through an entire Bundesliga season, before officially taking receipt of the Meisterschale.

Watch: Kaiserslautern 5-0 Braunschweig - highlights

Kaiserslautern thumped Braunschweig 5-0 in their final league game of 2023/24 last weekend.

Leverkusen fuelled by Europa League heartache

Leverkusen were unbeaten in a European record 51 competitive matches, until losing 3-0 to Atalanta in Wednesday's Europa League final. Although disappointed, Alonso believes the setback will prompt the necessary response against Kaiserslautern. "The time for analysis is short because our focus is now on tomorrow," he said at his pre-match press conference. "What happened on Wednesday hopefully will not have much influence. We have to have the hunger, and I think after Wednesday we have it even more. We have to continue after the defeat. The goal is big. We can cap [the season] with the DFB Cup."

Double double?

Alonso has won the DFB Cup before, lifting the trophy as a player in 2015/16 with Bayern. Having also helped the record champions win the Bundesliga that season, victory today will see him go into the annals as only the third man in Bundesliga history to do a league and cup double as a player and coach, after Niko Kovač and Hansi Flick (both with Bayern).

Ritter the key?

Kaiserslautern are without 17-goal top scorer Ragnar Ache due to an Achilles problem. Attacking midfielder Marlon Ritter's their next best for goals this season, with 12 in all competitions, including two in five DFB Cup games. The 29-year-old has also produced six assists.

Thirty rungs apart on the league ladder

Whilst Leverkusen were busy making history at the top of the German football pyramid, Kaiserslautern were, for a time, fighting to avoid relegation from Bundesliga 2. In the automatic drop zone for a few nervy weeks in April, the Red Devils ultimately finished 13th, three places and seven points clear of the relegation play-off spot.

Watch: Alonso's Bundesliga Invincibles

Twenty-eight wins, six draws and not a single defeat is the history-making balance of Alonso's Invincibles in 2023/24. No team had ever gone a full Bundesliga campaign unbeaten before them. Find out how the Spaniard masterminded their unprecendented, title-winning run.

Cup pedigree

Kaiserslautern are two-time cup winners and five-time runners-up. They last reached the final in 2002/03, losing 3-1 to Bayern. Bayer, meanwhile, won the 1992/93 DFB Cup, before runners-up finishes in 2001/02, 2008/09 and 2019/20. Alonso's charges could become only the sixth club to win the domestic double in Germany.

Watch: Lukáš Hrádecký - my story

Although being the designated cup goalkeeper this season, Matěj Kovář will make way for club captain Lukáš Hrádecký, after Alonso confirmed he wanted both goalkeepers to play in one final each this week. Bayer's No1, who won the 2017/18 DFB Cup with Frankfurt, conceded a Bundesliga-low 24 goals during his Leverkusen's title-winning campaign, whilst recording a division-leading 15 clean sheets.

Alonso’s view on Kaiserslautern

“They’re dynamic and flexible with some quick players. They played very well in the tail end of the season. It doesn’t matter if they’re in the first, second or third division. They deserve to be in the final. It’s been a long way for us to get here. We’ve fought to be here since August. It’s great to have the chance at a title in the cup final.”

Funkel’s view on Leverkusen

“It’s my third cup final here in Berlin and I’m really looking forward to it. Even if Leverkusen had won the Europa League I don’t think they’d have partied that much because they’re such a professional team, and their coach is too. They desperate to win here in Berlin. It’s neither and advantage nor a disadvantage for us [that Leverkusen lost the Europa League final].”

Watch: All of Leverkusen's 2023/24 DFB Cup goals

See how the Bundesliga champions sealed their place in this season's showpiece in Berlin, scoring 23 goals between the first round and the semi-finals!


That game was one of six overall in the cup, with each team winning three. They have also faced off 56 times in the Bundesliga, although the most recent of those was in April 2012. Leverkusen have the edge with 26 league victories to Lautern's 18, with 12 draws.

Last time out

These teams last met in a competitive fixture in the DFB Cup last 16 in March 2015. That match finished 0-0 after 90 minutes, but goals from Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Stefan Kießling in extra time sent Leverkusen into the quarter-finals. Current Werkself sporting director, Simon Rolfes, played from start to finish.

Watch: All of Kaiserslautern's 2023/24 DFB Cup goals

See how the Red Devils made it to the final, one goal at a time!

How they got here: Leverkusen

Leverkusen have cruised into the final, with only Bundesliga rivals VfB Stuttgart causing them any real concern. Die Werkself twice came from behind to win that quarter-final clash 3-2, having previously beaten minnows Teutonia Ottensen 8-0, 3. Liga's Sandhausen 5-2 and Bundesliga 2's Paderborn 3-1. Fortuna Düsseldorf - also of Germany's second tier - provided the opposition in the last four, but had no answer to another supremely polished Bayer display that produced four goals without reply.

How they got here: Kaiserslautern

Kaiserslautern were flirting with relegation from Bundesliga 2 until recently, but have been flawless in Germany's domestic cup. The Red Devils thumped lower-league Koblenz 5-0 in the opening round, before edging out Bundesliga outfit Cologne 3-2. After wins over Bundesliga 2 rivals Nuremberg and Hertha Berlin, they successfully negotiated a banana-skin meeting against a giant-killing Saarbrücken side, who had accounted for Bayern Munich, Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Mönchengladbach in the previous rounds, to reach the final


Bundesliga 2 outfit Kaiserslautern take on unbeaten Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen in a real David vs. Goliath DFB Cup final. Stay tuned for build-up, live match coverage and reaction!