Tomás with the opener
The semi-final showdown between VfB Stuttgart and Eintracht Frankfurt began with a flurry of three yellow cards in the first nine minutes. After an evenly balanced first quarter of an hour in which neither side managed an effort on goal, VfB’s first proper attack led to the opener. Waldemar Anton’s raking pass found Josha Vagnoman in the 19th minute, and when he cut the ball back to Tiago Tomás on the edge of the area the Portuguese attacker rifled a shot in at the near post. The contest became scrappier after that and Konstantinos Mavropanos was soon forced off with an injury. Silas could have made it 2-0 in the 35th minute, only to be denied by Kevin Trapp. The visitors’ best chance fell to Daichi Kamada in the 44th minute, but his effort was saved. Shortly before the interval VfB had another clear chance but Vagnoman’s powerful drive was saved and Tomás could only hit the side netting from close range on the rebound (45’+2).
Frankfurt’s quickfire double
The away side got off to the better start in the second half and soon equalised when Randal Kolo Muani laid the ball off for Evan Ndicka (51′). Frankfurt kept their foot on the gas and turned the game around inside four minutes when Kamada found the net from distance (55′). VfB struggled to carve out any chances after that and did not have a sight of goal until Wataru Endo’s 74th-minute header, which was too close to the goalkeeper.
Moments later Fabian Bredlow brought down Kolo Muani inside the area and the Eagles forward converted the ensuing penalty to make it 3-1 (77′). Sebastian Hoeneß’ side refused to give up though, and pulled another goal back through Enzo Millot (83′) before Borna Sosa was sent off for a second bookable offence (86′). Even with a numerical disadvantage, VfB threw everything forward in the closing minutes but were unable to find an equaliser.
19th minute (1-0): Anton’s ball sends Vagnoman behind the defence and he cuts it back for Tomás, who fires VfB in front.
51st minute (1-1): Kolo Muani lays the ball off for Ndicka in the middle to equalise.
55th minute (1-2): Kamada scores from distance to turn the game around.
77th minute (1-3): Kolo Muani scores from the spot to make it 3-1.
83rd minute (2-3): Millot and Guirassy play a one-two on the edge of the box. The former gets a shot away and it’s deflected in to reduce the arrears.
Sebastian Hoeneß, VfB head coach: “Congratulations to Frankfurt on reaching the final. We’re very disappointed about the result because we played well. The first 30 minutes, in particular, were really good. We went into the break 1-0 up and could even have been winning by more. We didn’t start the second half well and momentum shifted over to Frankfurt really quickly. Their first two goals came as a shock to us but after that my team showed their unbelievable character again. Even with a man down we were able to put a team like Frankfurt under pressure with our football.”