BERLIN, Germany, May 19 – Ante Rebic ruined Jupp Heynckes’ farewell as Bayern Munich coach on Saturday with the Croatia striker scoring twice as Eintracht Frankfurt claimed an upset 3-1 win in the German Cup final.
The victory gave Eintracht boss Niko Kovac his first trophy as a coach in his final match before leaving to take over from Heynckes at Bayern.
After Rebic’s opening goal, Robert Lewandowski equalised for Munich early in the second half.
However, Rebic added his late second before substitute Mijat Gacinovic tapped into an empty net just before the whistle to delight Frankfurt fans and break Bayern’s hearts.
“Everyone said that we’d be beaten out of the stadium,” said Frankfurt’s Ghana midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng.
“But we showed heart and it was Bayern who were beaten.”
This was supposed to be Heynckes’ farewell party with Bayern sending their 73-year-old head coach into retirement with the German cup and league double having wrapped up a sixth straight Bundesliga title.
“It was an avoidable defeat and sometimes defeat belongs to sport,” said Heynckes graciously.
“We made a serious mistake before they went 1-0 up. If you don’t exploit your chances, then you can’t win a cup match like that.
“We also had bad luck, hitting the post twice, but we didn’t play with fluency or power and Eintracht are worthy cup winners.”
It is exactly 30 years since Eintracht last won the German Cup as they lifted the trophy for the fifth time.
“I am happy that we have won the cup after 30 years,” said Rebic.
“The team deserves it, Bayern are always the favourites, but at the end it was us who won the cup.”
Bayern made a bright start in the capital when Lewandowski hit the underside of the Frankfurt bar with just eight minutes gone.
However, Frankfurt scored from their first clear chance.
When Bayern midfielder James Rodriguez was robbed of possession in midfield, Kevin-Prince Boateng threaded a pass through to Rebic.
The Croatia striker dodged the challenges of Bayern centre-backs Niklas Suele and Mats Hummels to plant his shot past Bayern keeper Sven Ulreich with 11 minutes gone.
The shock goal sent a ripple of panic through the Bayern ranks as it was the third straight game they have fallen behind.
– Clear penalty –
Bayern went close with 25 minutes gone when Lewandowski fired wide of the empty goal after Franck Ribery and Thomas Mueller had already opened up the Eintracht defence.
It should have been 2-0 to Eintracht eight minutes before half-time when Rebic squared for Jonathan De Guzman, who was unmarked, but the midfielder stumbled with the goal at his mercy.
Tempers started to fray as Frankfurt defender Jetro Willems was booked for body-checking Joshua Kimmich but it stayed 1-0 at the break.
Bayern drew level on 53 minutes when Suele combined with Kimmich, who picked out Lewandowski near the penalty spot to slot home the equaliser.
Mats Hummels hit the post with a header with ten minutes left, but Frankfurt — and Rebic — were not to be denied.
The Croatia international again burst in between Suele and Hummels and brilliantly lifted the ball over Ulreich.
The referee checked the replay on advice of the video assistant referee, but the goal stood to make it 2-1 on 82 minutes.
Bayern were denied calls for a clear penalty after a foul on Javi Martinez deep into added time.
“It was a penalty, but we shouldn’t start criticising,” added Heynckes, while Kovac admitted: “I have to say — it was a penalty”.
With all Munich players in the Eintracht half and time running out, Frankfurt sealed the victory when Gacinovic got on the end of a Bayern corner, sprinted the length of the pitch to slot into an empty net in the 96th minute.
The Eintracht squad mobbed the 23-year-old and the referee blew the whistle to trigger the Frankfurt party.