The appearance at the dress rehearsal was a bit scared, too hectic and nervous. The footballers from Eintracht Frankfurt showed great respect for their opponents and only really subsided after half of the performance. Laura Freilang brought them up to 2: 3 in the 57th minute, but the time was too short for more goals. VfL Wolfsburg won the game on the penultimate matchday of this Bundesliga season a week ago. Curtain up, disappointed expressions at unity.
But maybe the laws of the theater, which say: bad dress rehearsal, good omen for the premiere, are now also taking effect in football! And on Sunday (4 p.m., ARD) in Cologne, after all, it is about a victory in the DFB Cup. “We started to prepare for it last week. I think that was good for us too,” said Freilang, 23, on Wednesday. “Wolfsburg has so much individual quality and being able to adjust to it with a kind of preparatory game helped us a lot. We saw how we could improve. Hopefully we can take that away with us so that we don’t need 45 minutes to find our way. “
Frankfurt was most recently in the cup final in 2014 – and won
For the club, this game marks the temporary high point since the merger: For this season, the record champions 1. FFC Frankfurt switched to Eintracht after 20 titles in 22 years of independence and could now win a trophy right away under a new name. With nine wins, the FFC is also the most successful club in this competition. Most recently, Frankfurt succeeded in the 2014 Cup against SGS Essen, in the 2015 Champions League, and even in the championship in 2008. All too long ago for the claims of one of the most formative clubs in women’s football. From now on, the means and possibilities of a licensing association are to be used to build on earlier success times. FFC manager and investor Siegfried Dietrich saw no alternative in the steadily growing women’s football.
The squad was made up of young and experienced players well before the official announcement of the merger, with a view to the future. That seems to be paying off now, even if sixth place in the championship shows the distance to clubs like Wolfsburg, FC Bayern – as leaders two points ahead of VfL – or TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. However, this is also due to various corona cases in the Frankfurt team.
“A few years ago a merger with Eintracht was already under discussion, it was prepared very well and we managed to bring a good foundation,” said coach Niko Arnautis. “The team has developed and gained a certain degree of maturity. We have grown again at Eintracht, the players are professionals and have many opportunities. The merger was a huge win for everyone involved.”
The expectations before the final are of course high. Eintracht President Peter Fischer held a motivational speech and the 2018 DFB Men’s Cup in the camera in a video message. “You have to think of one thing: I have something here that has been so alone for three years that absolutely needs a sister,” he said exuberantly. “Three years ago the men showed you how to do it, and now we’re all behind you.”
Like the soccer players back then, the role of the underdog could help the women soccer players too. For some time now, VfL Wolfsburg has been what the FFC once was: a favorite and a permanent subscriber to the title. The experienced Lower Saxony women have won seven of the last eight cup finals. Apart from the continuation of an impressive series, what should also drive them: After the last four doubles, the trophy is the only trophy that can still be won this season on its own. It would also be a farewell gift to coach Stephan Lerch, who will be responsible for the male U17s at TSG Hoffenheim in the future.
When the VfL Wolfsburg players lost in the DFB Cup for the last time, the 36-year-old was still training the second women’s team and watched the round of 16 in November 2013 as an uninvolved spectator. Opponent was the 1. FFC Frankfurt.