Eintracht Frankfurt endured a long, hard-fought semifinal duel with Borussia Monchengladbach to reach the final of the DFB Pokal.
After 120 minutes and 16 dramatic penalty shots, Frankfurt escaped with a 7-6 win after both sides played to a 1-1 draw up to extra time.
Now, they are in the final. But they will be in the same predicament because standing as major obstacle are Borussia Dortmund.
Thank goodness, it’s not Bayern Munich though because Dortmund brushed aside the holders 3-2 in the other thrilling semifinal held at the Allianz Arena.
On May 27 at Olympiastadion Berlin, Die Adler (The Eagles) get the chance to “write history’’ as manager Niko Kovac likes to have their fate to be described.
Frankfurt are in their first German Cup final since 2006, thanks mainly to the winning penalty shot of attacker Branimir Hrgota shot that sealed the end of an arduous night in Monchengladbach.
Goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky also played a major role in the victory after making crucial stops against ‘Gladbach defender Andreas Christensen and midfielder Djibril Sow.
Kovac’s men are looking to bring home their first major silverware since they last reigned supreme in the very same tournament in 1988.
It has been a long wait since but they are back in the most important match of the competition and might as well give it their best shot against Dortmund.
In their last five meetings in the Bundesliga, Frankfurt won two matches at home, with Dortmund taking the other three, also at home.
Just about on even terms if we are to gauge how they would fare against each other when they collide for the crown.
Being in the final is a triumph itself for Frankfurt because this feat was unimaginable 12 months ago when Kovac moved heaven and earth to guide the team out of the drop zone in the German top-tier.
Yes, this is victory already by all means. But a win over Dortmund give them a ticket to the Champions League.
They are on the verge of reaching Europe’s biggest stage in football and they know it won’t be easy.
Dortmund are equally hungry for a title, having their last taste of DFB Pokal glory in the 2011-12 season when they beat Bayern, owners of the most titles in the competition at 18.
After that title-clinching season, Dortmund were runnersup for three successive years, including last year when they lost 4-3 on penalties to who else, Bayern, after the match went scoreless after extra time.
Looking from all angles, Frankfurt are the solid underdogs against Dortmund, but merely advancing this far shows the club’s upward thrust, and resolve to drop the upset axe on their more superior opponents.
As Kovac implied, his men will “throw everything’’ at Dortmund at match time in their bid to seize the cup.
But then again, they should thank the football gods, it’s not Bayern they will be confronting.