Goals from Yussuf Poulsen and Emil Forsberg helped to steer RB Leipzig into the DFB Cup final for the first time ever thanks to a 3-1 victory away to Hamburg on Tuesday evening.
Hamburg 1-3 RB Leipzig
Goals: 1-0 Poulsen (12'), 1-1 Jatta (24'), 1-2 Janjicic (o.g. 53'), 1-3 Forsberg (72')
The match began at a frenetic pace, with early sights of goal for Marcel Sabitzer, Marcel Halstenberg and Poulsen before the latter eventually broke the deadlock with a well-placed header from a corner. And while Leipzig were on top for most of the half, Hamburg played well and bravely tried to get forward whenever they could. They were rewarded for their bold approach when Bakery Jatta's pressure forced Kevin Kampl into under-hitting an attempted back pass, allowing the HSV forward to curl in a brilliant equaliser over the stranded Peter Gulacsi. The match continued to be an end-to-end affair, but there were no more goals before the break.
That soon changed early in the second period, when Kampl made amends for his mistake with an outstanding pass over the Hamburg backline to find Poulsen, whose back-post volley was turned into the net by HSV defender Vasilije Janjicic. Ralf Rangnick's men never looked like relinquishing their lead again, even if the home side continued to threaten on the break, and Forsberg made sure of the win with a low drive from the edge of the box into the bottom corner, rubberstamping Leipzig's ticket to a maiden DFB Cup final on 25 May.
- RB Leipzig are into the DFB Cup final for the first time in their history. Their previous best in the competition was reaching the last 16 in 2014/15.
- Poulsen and Forsberg both got their second goal of this season's competition - the Dane and the Swede were also on target in the first-round win over Viktoria Cologne (also 3-1 away).
- Hamburg have won the DFB Cup on three occasions, most recently in 1987 - the year they last reached the final.
- Third in the Bundesliga, Leipzig are on the verge of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League group stage for the second time in their history.
- In 17 career meetings with Hamburg, Ralf Rangnick has now won six, drawn three and lost eight.
- Pierre-Michel Lasogga is the top scorer in this season's DFB Cup (6 goals).
Hamburg: Pollersbeck – Jung, Lacroix, Van Drongelen, Douglas – Narey, Janjicic (Hunt 73'), Mangala (Holtby 79'), Vagnoman (Hwang 68') – Jatta, Lasogga
Unused subs: Mickel, Bates, Wintzheimer, Sakai
Out: Ambrosius (knee), Samperio (knee)
Coach: Hannes Wolf
Leipzig: Gulacsi – Klostermann, Konate, Orban (c), Halstenberg – Sabitzer (Haidara 89'), Kampl (Demme 90+3'), Laimer – Forsberg (Mukiele 73') – Poulsen, Werner
Unused subs: Müller, Cunha, Augustin, Ilsanker
Out: Upamecano (knee), Adams (groin), Mvogo (knee)
Coach: Ralf Rangnick
AS IT HAPPENED!
FULL TIME! HAMBURG 1-3 LEIPZIG
It's all over! Hamburg played valiantly and gave Leipzig a good game, but ultimately the difference in quality took its toll and Ralf Rangnick's men will take their place in the final in Berlin on 25 May!
90+3' FINAL SUB FOR LEIPZIG
The visitors eat up a few more seconds as Diego Demme comes on For Kampl.
90+1' CHANCE FOR HAIDARA
Leipzig launch a rapid counter-attack and all of a sudden it's two vs. two. Halstenberg has the ball but opts to come inside, instead of playing in Werner. He passes to the onrushing Haidara, who lashes a shot over the bar.
90' THREE MINUTES OF ADDED TIME
89' ON COMES HAIDARA...
...in midfield, replacing Sabitzer.
83' LEIPZIG RUNNING THE CLOCK DOWN
The visitors are using every trick on the book now as the clock ticks towards full-time. They're passing the ball around well in midfield and in defence and taking their time with set-pieces and injuries. Hamburg are gamely playing on but look like they know the jig is up.
79' LAST THROW OF THE DICE FOR HAMBURG
Mangala is taken off and Lewis Holtby comes on as the hosts go for one final push.
73' SUBS ON BOTH SIDES
Hamburg make an attacking change, bringing on Hunt for Janjicic, while Leipzig make a defensive substitution as Forsberg makes way for Mukiele.
72' GOAL! HAMBURG 1-3 LEIPZIG (Forsberg)
Having gone within a whisker of scoring just moments ago, this time Forsberg makes no mistake. Collecting the ball on the left-hand corner of the Hamburg box, he drills a low shot into the bottom corner. That's surely game over now.
69' FORSBERG OFF THE BAR!
Leipzig hit the woodwork for the third time this game after Klostermann powers down the right and pulls the ball back to Forsberg. He's in between the penalty spot and the edge of the box, takes a touch to set himself and then cannons an effort off the crossbar.
68' HSV SUB
Hamburg make the first change of the game, with Hwang coming on for Vagnoman.
62' CAT AND MOUSE
Leipzig continue to enjoy more possession (57 per cent) and most of the action is taking place in Hamburg's half, but they're being kept on their toes by the home team's rapid counter-attacks, and Jatta's pace in particular.
58' LEIPZIG FREE-KICK
Forsberg is fouled by Janjicic in a central position, a good 40 yards out. The Swede takes the set piece himself and chips it towards Poulsen at the back post, but his cut-back is cleared.
53' GOAL! HAMBURG 1-2 LEIPZIG (Janjicic o.g.)
Leipzig edge in front again as Kampl atones for his earlier error with a sublime pass over the top of the Hamburg defence. Poulsen volleys it towards the back post where Forsberg is lurking, but HSV defender Janjicic inadvertently bundles it over the line!
49' MORE OF THE SAME
The match has seamlessly carried on where it left off before the break. Both teams are getting forward quickly whenever they get the ball. You get the sense there are plenty more goals to come...
Hamburg get us under way again. No changes to either side at the break.
HALF-TIME! HAMBURG 1-1 LEIPZIG
What a game we've had so far! Leipzig took the lead and seemed to be in control, having kept Hamburg at arm's length, but Jatta pounced on a mistake by Kampl to get the home side back in it. The visitors have had more and better chances to add to the scoreline, but HSV have looked threatening at times and are by no means out of this.
45' DOUGLAS TRIES HIS LUCK
Hamburg's Brazilian left-back takes aim from a good 30 yards out and sends a rasping shot at Leipzig's goal. It's an awkward one for Gulacsi, bouncing just before it reaches him, but the goalkeeper collects it with minimal fuss.
41' NAREY JUST WIDE!
Offff! Hamburg should be in front as Narey beats the offside trap and reach a lovely through-ball. He's only got Gulacsi to beat, but places his shot wide of the far post. A real left-off for Leipzig there.
36' WERNER OVER THE BAR
A delightfully worked move from Leipzig ends with a decent chance at goal. Kampl slides the ball into the path of Halstenberg down the left and he lofts a cross into the middle, where Poulsen nods it down for Werner. The striker takes it first time, but the ball's on the rise and his acrobatic effort sails well over the bar.
32' CHANCE FOR HAMBURG!
Douglas curls in an inviting cross from the left that falls at the feet of Narey. He's under pressure but only six yards from goal. He can't quite get his feet sorted though, and flicks it wide of the target.
28' HAMBURG MORE CONFIDENT
That goal has understandably put a spring in Hamburg's step and given them greater belief that they can win this match. They're quickly putting Leipzig under pressure in midfield - having reaped the reward of doing so just moments ago - and with the fans whipping them into a frenzy, anything is possible
24' GOAL! HAMBURG 1-1 LEIPZIG (Jatta)!
Hamburg have equalised against the run of play! Kampl gets himself into a pickle on the Leipzig right and, under pressure from Jatta, tries to play a pass back to Gulacsi, who's on the edge of the Leipzig penalty area. However, Jatta gets a toe in before he can play the pass and, spotting the goalkeeper off his line, curls a lovely effort over him and into the top corner! Game on!
19' WERNER SHOOTS
It's all Leipzig at the moment - not that you'd know it given the way the Hamburg crowd keep chanting - and this time Kampl finds some space down the right. He passes inside to Werner, who's lurking on the edge of the box. The Germany international has a first-time shot, but he doesn't get enough pace behind it and it's a comfortable save for Pollersbeck.
16' IT SHOULD BE 2-0!
Poulsen gets on the end of a cross from the left but his shot hits the post and squirms off at an angle. Werner is first to it and squeezes a shot across the face off goal. A defender gets a touch on it and the ball slows down, but it's going wide of the post... but wait! Here comes Sabitzer! He slides in at the back but can only hit the post again, the ball ricocheting away this time and Hamburg can breathe a sigh of relief!
12' GOAL! Hamburg 0-1 Leipzig (Poulsen)
Leipzig take the lead from the resultant corner, Poulsen getting on the end of an out-swinging corner to direct a header into the bottom corner!
11' POULSEN ON THE PROWL
Kampl intercepts a ball in midfield and immediately plays it into the path of Poulsen, who takes a touch before shooting. His shot is blocked for a corner.
6' CHANCE FOR HALSTENBERG
Superb build-up from Forsberg, who cuts into the Hamburg penalty area from the left and back-heels the ball into the path of left-back Halstenberg, who scored a brace at the weekend. The Germany international hits a low first-time shot that whizzes narrowly wide of the far post.
5' HAMBURG NOT HOLDING BACK
Far from being intimated by that early opening for Leipzig, Hamburg are getting forward boldly, taking their game to their high-profile visitors. Every touch is being greeted with a deafening roar of approval from the home crowd.
1' HALF CHANCE FOR SABITZER
The visitors get forward immediately and have the first sight of goal inside the first minute, as a loose ball is headed forward on the edge of the Hamburg area. Sabitzer is well positioned and tries to volley it on the spin, having had his back to goal, but he can't quite catch it and the chance passes. The Austrian holds his head in frustration.
Here we go! The Volksparkstadion is bouncing and a sea of blue and white flags are waving on the home team as Leipzig kick things off.
The teams are lined up in the tunnel, about to walk out onto the pitch. It's almost go time!
LEIPZIG TEAM NEWS
The visitors have made two changes to the team that beat Gladbach 2-1 at the weekend. Orban and Poulsen both start ahead of Mukiele and Matheus Cunha.
HAMBURG TEAM NEWS
Hamburg coach Hannes Wolf has made three changes to his line-up from the side that drew 1-1 with Aue at the weekend. Vagnoman, Jung and Lasogga have all come in for Sakai, Wintzheimer and Özcan.
Meanwhile, Hunt is on the bench after recovering from a knock. He's been a key player for the side this season and could add extra guile to the attack if he comes on.
FROM THE NOU CAMP TO THE VOLKSPARKSTADION
Tonight's referee is Munich native Dr. Felix Brych. The last match he officiated was Barcelona's 3-0 win over Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League last week, but he's unlikely to be presiding over as one-sided a fixture here.
The 43-year-old is familiar with both teams, having been in charge of Hamburg's 4-0 away win at city rivals St. Pauli on 10 March, while he has officiated three Leipzig matches this season, all of which have ended in draws:
25 February 2019: Leipzig 1-1 Hoffenheim
28 October 2018: Leipzig 0-0 Schalke
23 September 2018: Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 Leipzig
RANGNICK: "HAMBURG FEEL LIKE A BUNDESLIGA TEAM"
Leipzig boss Ralf Rangnick is taking nothing for granted despite his side being overwhelming favourites, telling journalists at his pre-match press conference: "We've had to beat three Bundesliga teams to get to the semi-finals and now we obviously want to reach the final too. Hamburg feel like they're a Bundesliga team, so it'll be a very tough game. They'll throw everything they've got at us in front of their own fans. Having said that, we've seen how are boys have been playing since the winter break and we're going there with a healthy dose of self-confidence."
WOLF: "YOU ALWAYS HAVE A CHANCE IN FOOTBALL"
His side may be the underdogs tonight, but Hamburg head coach Hannes Wolf has got fire in his belly as kick-off approaches: "It's a very important game for us. We know we're facing a very, very good team, but you always have a chance in football. We'll give our all to compete with them and to win the game. There's no other way to approach the game. We've had a great cup run so far and now we're just a game away from the final in Berlin. We'll have to give it absolutely everything we've got in every area of the pitch. We'll need our goalkeeper to be alert and we'll also need a little bit of luck."
This is just the fifth competitive meeting between the teams and although Leipzig are away from home, that may be no bad thing if history is anything to go by: the respective home side has never won.
Jan. 2018: Leipzig 1-1 Hamburg
Sept. 2017: Hamburg 0-2 Leipzig
Feb. 2017: Leipzig 0-3 Hamburg
Sept. 2016: Hamburg 0-4 Leipzig
FIRST FINAL FOR LEIPZIG?
This is the first time Leipzig have ever got as far as the semi-finals, having previously only got as far as the last 16 (in 2014/15). Going on to the final would, obviously enough, be a momentous occasion for the club.
HAMBURG EYEING FOURTH DFB CUP
HSV midfielder Aaron Hunt, 32, is the only member of the current squad to have been born the last time the team reached a DFB Cup final. He was only a few months old when Hamburg beat the Stuttgarter Kickers 3-1 in the final June 1987, their third cup triumph after 1963 and 1976.
Tonight's meeting is the first of the two DFB Cup semi-finals, with Werder Bremen hosting Bayern Munich in the other tie tomorrow night. Leipzig are obviously the favourites going into this clash with their second-tier opponents, but 53,000 fans are expected at Hamburg's Volksparkstadion, of which only 4,200 are anticipated to be Leipzig supporters, so there could well be home advantage for HSV.