It may not have been quite the one he wanted in Milan next week, but Pep Guardiola still enjoyed a glorious, and tearful, farewell to Bayern Munich thanks to a penalty shootout victory over Borussia Dortmund in the German Cup final. Douglas Costa struck home the winning kick after misses from Sven Bender and Sokratis in the final in Berlin, which failed to produce a goal in 120 minutes.
It means Guardiola ends his time in Bavaria and heads to Manchester City with Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal triumphs in his final season. And it also gives him a seventh title in three seasons at Bayern. While the disappointment at falling in the semifinals of the Champions League for a third season running cannot be erased, he has garnered a haul of silverware, all with a superb style, that means accusations that his time in Germany has been a failure look faintly ridiculous.
And, while often described as being cold and detached, the tactical master let out a rare shower of emotion at the final whistle. Immediately the tears flowed and in the subsequent minutes before lifting the trophy, Guardiola enjoyed touching embraces with many of his staff and squad. It may be time for both him and the club to move on, but his impact has been a sizable one.
The feelings were not so happy for another man bidding farewell. Mats Hummels was in the desperately awkward position of captaining his current side in a major final against the team he will be joining in just over a month. And he will do so empty handed, after a season in which Dortmund finished second best to Bayern in both the Bundesliga and now the DFB-Pokal. Perhaps those results will be seen as vindication for Hummels’ decision to become the latest player to make the switch from Bayern’s closest domestic rival.
But the two sides could not have been any more closely matched in Berlin on Saturday. Predictably, Bayern Munich dominated possession. But they also struggled to penetrate the Borussia Dortmund backline. Indeed, it was Dortmund who had the best chances to settle the match without the need for penalties.
First, five minutes from the end of regulation time, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a golden opportunity to get his 40th goal of the season, but sent the ball over the bar from point-blank range having been found free in the box by Lucas Piszczek’s cross.
That opening came after a trademark Dortmund quick break and it was a similar scenario that brought them another chance to decide the contest in extra time. This time it was Henrikh Mkhitaryan found behind the defense. And, while it wasn’t as clear-cut an opening as Aubameyang’s, the Armenian should still have done netted than to drag his shot cross goal.
Bayern Munich had a chance of their own to go ahead in extra time. Rather than wayward finishing, in this case it as a superb defensive intervention from Dortmund full-back Erik Durm that denied former Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski when he looked sure to find the back of the net.
But it was Thomas Tuchel’s side who were left to regret the missed opportunities, and two poor penalties from Bender and Sokratis. While Joshua Kimmich erred too for Bayern, Costa made no mistake to complete a fine first season in Munich for him and an ultimately successful final one for Guardiola.