VfL Wolfsburg scored three times in 16 minutes to come back from a goal down to beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 on Saturday and land their first German Cup final win, a fitting coronation after a hugely successful season.
The Wolves, who finished second in the Bundesliga, rallied after Dortmund had taken a fifth-minute lead on a sun-drenched day at the Olympic Stadium, venue of next week’s Champions League final between Barcelona and Juventus.
“It was a great game for us,” goalscoring midfielder Kevin De Bruyne told ARD television.
“We struggled in the first 20 minutes but after that we played great.”
De Bruyne and his colleagues paid tribute to team mate Junior Malanda, who died in a car crash in January, with his number printed on every Wolfsburg player’s shirt.
“We have kept playing for him since the winter break. We had him with us and he would have hoped we won it,” said De Bruyne, fighting back the tears.
Dortmund, in their fourth final since 2008 and hoping for a winning farewell for coach Juergen Klopp, got off to a dream start when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired in a volley following a chip from Shinji Kagawa.
Keeper Mitch Langerak denied Wolfsburg a quick equaliser, palming an Ivan Perisic shot round the post, but he could do nothing when Luiz Gustavo slotted in a rebound after the Australian saved a thunderous free kick from Naldo in the 22nd minute.
De Bruyne, Wolfsburg’s best player of the season by far with 10 league goals and 20 assists, drilled in his first German Cup goal after 33 minutes and before Dortmund could recover, Bas Dost’s header five minutes later made it 3-1.
An estimated 130,000 Dortmund fans poured into the capital but 50,000 of them saw little in the stadium in terms of a second-half comeback from their team.
Instead it was Wolfsburg who were dangerous on the break, leaving Klopp with a bitter end to seven success-laden years at Dortmund that included two league titles, two German Super Cups, a German Cup and a Champions League final in 2013.
For Wolfsburg, backed by car maker Volkswagen, it was their first trophy since winning the Bundesliga in 2009 and came 20 years after their only previous German Cup final appearance.