DFB-Pokal: Schalke celebrate fifth DFB Cup triumph

Both parties were expert at celebrating. Not only champions FC Schalke 04 received a triumphal reception on return to Gelsenkirchen on Sunday, May 23. The losers MSV Duisburg were also greeted heartily at their own stadium during their parade of honour on the same day. “We had a great season, we have altered our image, we have won over hearts”, said MSV coach Milan Sasic the day after their 5-0 (3-0) defeat in the 68th Cup final of the German Football Association, DFB, in Berlin. The fans of the second division club passionately cheered their team. “The Zebras left Berlin as losers, they returned to Duisburg as heroes”, declared the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, WAZ.

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The supporters of MSV Duisburg also cheered on their team. (Photo: Firo/Augenklick)


The Schalke party was somewhat bigger. The team remained at the stadium for more than an hour after the match to join the celebrations with about 30,000 fans in the stands. “It is indescribable, I still can’t fully understand it”, said Julian Draxler, the 17-year-old who scored the best goal of the match. The winners celebrated with an intensity the DFB Cup final has seldom experienced. Not only Julian Draxler enjoyed the weekend after Schalke had ensured their fifth DFB Cup victory since 1937, 1972, 2001 and 2002 on Saturday at 21.47 hrs. 

A team-mate, twice as old as Julian Draxler, also rejoiced like a little boy who opens his presents on the great Spanish holiday of the Three Magi. Raúl González Blanco, who will turn 34 in June, was surrounded by numerous representatives of the Madrid media. “That means more to me than just a title. I am experiencing one of my happiest days”, Raúl disclosed. With six Spanish national titles, three Champions League triumphs, two World Club Cup victories he won almost everything with Real Madrid – but never the Spanish Cup as Madrid lost two finals, to La Coruna in 2002 and Saragossa in 2004.

The DFB organises memorable final extravaganza

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“This year perfectly fulfilled my dream”, said Raúl. Young Draxler had opened the door into the semi-finals with his fantastic long distance shot for 3-2 in the quarter-final against Nuremberg. With his header “Oldie” Raúl ensured the Westphalians 1-0 win over FC Bayern Munich, possibly the most important of his 19 goals in his first season with Schalke, leading them to the unique experience in Berlin. Compared to the final festivities organised by the DFB, the decisive matches for the Copa del Rey are simple football games. “This was for Schalke, and particularly for me, the crowning moment of the season”, said Raùl. By holding the Cup final in Berlin, the DFB has turned the Olympic Stadium into a German Wembley, as the Association likes to describe it. The playing of the DFB Cup final, the concluding match of the season, held in Berlin for now 27 years, could not be faulted and stood no comparison.

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Raúl with the DFB Cup. The Spaniard won many titles with Real Madrid but never the national Cup competition. He achieved that with Schalke. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)

The orchestration before the match and after the final whistle gave the match a very festive setting. Thanks to the DFB, the cup final has become a great football festival. The teams and the fans also love Berlin.

Greatly impressed by the joyous occasion he became the cheerleader of a team, the leader of a rejoicing band of players. Jefferson Farfán had been the Man of the Match on the pitch. The Peruvian striker recorded four assists with the five goals. After Julian Draxler, Jan-Klaas Huntelaar scored twice, Benedikt Hoewedes and Jurado one apiece.

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Benedikt Hoewedes scores for 3-0 for Schalke against Duisburg with a header from a corner kick. (Photo: Firo/Augenklick)


A higher win has never been recorded in the 76-year history of the DFB Cup final, although Schalke achieved a 5-0 win against Kaiserslautern in 1972. The Duisburg team were overwhelmed early. Schalke, who finished 14th in the Bundesliga, remained fully focussed after six defeats in a row. “It was great fun. We all laughed during the last 20 minutes”, was how Hoewedes described the team’s mood. Schalke were forced to play in the unfamiliar shirt colour “ultrabeauty”, corresponding approximately with purple. Due to losing several injured players in previous weeks, Duisburg started with little chance of success.

Schalke qualify for Europa League

“I know from the history of my country, Croatia, that heroes are born only in difficult times”, Sasic had suggested in an interview before the match. But after going ahead 1-0 in the 17th minute Schalke’s success in this Ruhr Derby far from home was never in danger. However, in the 81st minute the spirit of camaraderie was witnessed when 20,000 Duisburg fans stood up and burst into an MSV song. The Schalke fans applauded and let them sing in peace for a few minutes.

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The Schalke supporters’ section at the Berlin Olympic Stadium on May 21. (Photo: Firo/Augenklick)


Shortly afterwards the great celebration for the Gelsenkircheners began. It was also the first big success in his coaching career for coach Ralf Rangnick. “The most important fact is that we have qualified for the Europa League”, he said. “Whenever the team concentrate they play really good football”. While he was responsible as coach for the triumph over Inter Milan in the Champions League, the onus in reaching the DFB Cup final went to his predecessor Felix Magath. “I am undefeated in the DFB Cup competition. I leapfrogged two rounds since leaving Hoffenheim”, Rangnick explained. His next task will be to lead FC Schalke 04 to the position they deserve in the Bundesliga. Raúl reiterated their number one aim: “Our fans want us to become champions. I shall fight to achieve that”.