Niko Kovac's Eintracht Frankfurt to meet Bayern Munich in DFB Cup final after tense Schalke win
Niko Kovac set up a DFB Cup final date with future employers Bayern Munich as ten-man Eintracht Frankfurt edged Schalke in a fiery semi-final encounter at the Veltins Arena.
Schalke 0-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Goals: 0-1 Jovic (74')
Red card: Fernandes (80')
Both sides, who will meet again on the final day of the season, when perhaps UEFA Champions League qualification will be up for grabs, spent much of the first half sizing each other up with chances at a premium. A creative edge was lacking, and Frankfurt lost arguably their most likely source of inspiration when Kevin-Prince Boateng limped off with a thigh injury just minutes before the interval. Guido Burgstaller had provided the greatest threat with a header on the half-hour mark which Lukas Hradecky clawed away.
Hradecky had to be at his best again midway through the second half when he once again denied Burgstaller with an instinctive save, before giving an equally defiant reply to a Yevhen Konoplyanka effort. Frankfurt capitalised on their keeper's heroics by taking the lead minutes later with one of their first real chances of the game. In fact, it was barely even a chance, but Luka Jovic ensured Jonathan De Guzman's cross found the back of the net with a spectacular backheeled effort. Gelson Fernandes was sent on to help the guests defend their lead, but he was on the field barely a minute when he received his marching orders. Schalke substitute Franco Di Santo had a late equaliser ruled out for handball as the Eagles held on to book their ticket to Berlin for a second successive season.
- Frankfurt have come out on top in a club record seven away games in a row in the DFB Cup.Kovac has won 10 of his 11 matches in the DFB Cup as a coach, the only blot to his copybook being last season's final. He is unbeaten in three matches against Schalke (W3, D3).Eintracht have the best defensive records in this season's competition, conceding just once.Jovic scored his first DFB Cup goal. The Benfica loanee is now on nine for the season in all competitions.Boateng won domestic cups with Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan in England and Italy respectively.Schalke have lost two of their last six DFB Cup semi-finals, last reaching the final, which they won, in 2011.
Schalke: Fährmann (c) – Stambouli, Naldo, Kehrer (Teuchert 81') – Schöpf, Goretzka, Meyer, Caligiuri – Pjaca (Konoplyanka 52'), Harit (Di Santo 88') – Burgstaller
Unused subs: Nübel, McKennie, Oczipka
Absentees: Nastasic (knee), Embolo (muscular)
Coach: Domenico Tedesco
Frankfurt: Hradecky - Abraham (c), Hasebe, Russ – Mascarell (Fernandes 78'), De Guzman, Willems (da Costa 72') - Fabian, Boateng (Gacinovic 43'), Wolf - Jovic
Unused subs: Zimmermann, Haller, Chandler, Barkok
Absentees: Salcedo (collarbone), Mbouhoum (knee), Dadashov (disciplined by club), Rebic (calf)
Coach: Niko Kovac