It is the game of all games in Germany. The 77th final of the DFB Cup takes place on 4 July 2020. At the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. With Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Against Bayern Munich. While the trip to the capital is almost a yearly routine for the record cup winners in the early summer, this football summit marks the fulfilment of a long cherished dream for supporters of the Werkself.
Back in the final at last! Andreas ‘Paffi’ Paffrath, Torsten Schäfer and Hendrik Walter can vouch for that. They were fans when Bayer 04 competed for the cup in 1993, 2002 and 2009 and their reports are included in this special edition of the Werkself Magazine. Memories that are part of a fan's life – anecdotes for countless, enjoyable get-togethers. But the other contemporaries we hear from in the magazine from Simon Rolfes, Lukas Hradecky, Andreas Thom and Carsten Ramelow through to René Adler leave no doubt: Berlin always was and is worth a visit. The clash at the Olympic Stadium is the emotional high point of the football season.
For fans it is even more: This weekend in early summer is a pilgrimage, a confirmation of support, the destination of desire. Against that background, it was our concern to pull out all the stops so that the final would be played in front of at least a certain number of supporters. But the legal situation is clear and we stood no chance. Talking about opportunities: FC Bayern are undoubtedly the favourites to win the final. The record cup winners have played the best second half of the Bundesliga season in the club's history. The team is packed with world-class players and they have found a coach in Hansi Flick who knows how to get the best out of his squad. But none of that counts in Berlin. It is a one-off game. It's a final. And we've twice proved in recent months that Bayern are not unbeatable.
And a look at our cup history also provides encouragement. We've had to overcome hurdles in all three cup competitions where the Werkself have reached the final. In the winning year of 1993, for example, the team led by the legendary strike partnership of Ulf Kirsten/Andreas Thom had to play Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-finals – at the time the best team in Germany. And in the final we first had to fend off 60,000 Berliners and then the two public broadcasters ARD and ZDF. In 2002, a gargantuan challenge in three competitions led to the team coached by Klaus Toppmöller running out of steam in the end. By contrast in 2009, Bayern Munich were beaten in the quarter-finals on "neutral ground" but the weekend of the final was marked by misunderstandings and a lot of bad luck. At the same time, 2009 also saw the launch of 'Finally Red'. Anyone who wants to know more about those seasons can find out in the following pages.
Now, after eleven years, we are back in #B04RLIN. The desire is huge. For the golden trophy. For a title. That feeling was evident in 2002 and was strengthened in 2009: But we forgot something then. And now we want to definitely make amends for that this year. 27 years is enough.
We wish you a lot of fun in reading the magazine and all of us lots of success for the 77th DFB Cup final.
Fernando Carro and Rudi Völler (Bayer 04 Leverkusen management)
Click HERE for the online version of the special edition of the Werkself Magazine for the DFB Cup final.
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