Leipzig beats Bremen 2-1 late to reach German Cup final

BERLIN (AP) — Leipzig substitute Emil Forsberg scored in injury time of extra time to send his team into the final of the German Cup after beating Werder Bremen 2-1 on Friday.

Hwang Hee-chan, who scored Leipzig’s opening goal in the third minute of extra time, headed Kevin Kampl’s cross back across goal for Forsberg to volley past Bremen goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka.

Leipzig will play Borussia Dortmund or second-division team Holstein Kiel in Berlin on May 17, when the young club will hope to go one better after losing the final to Bayern Munich in 2019.

“Of course I would like to leave with a title,” Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann said after his first game since it was announced that he will be taking over at Bayern next season. “A title means a lot because the club and the players, you can see how they gave everything for me, for the coach and the coaching team after a turbulent week.”

Bremen, which is fighting against relegation in the Bundesliga, was playing in its 23rd cup semifinal, a record bettered only by Bayern’s 31.

“We gave everything,” said Bremen coach Florian Kohfeldt, who was assured of keeping his job only after the game. Bremen has lost seven games straight in the league.

Leipzig had the best chances early on, hitting the post twice and the crossbar once.

Josh Sargent missed Bremen’s best chance in the 30th minute when he had only Peter Gulacsi in the Leipzig goal to beat. The American forward rushed his shot and drew it wide.

Bremen forward Davie Selke punched the air in delight after earning a penalty in a brush with Nordi Mukiele before the break. But video referee Bibiana Steinhaus urged Manuel Gräfe to review his decision, which he reversed after seeing replays that appeared to show Selke looking for the contact with the defender.

Local fans, by now used to supporting from afar due to coronavirus-related hygiene restrictions, set off fireworks outside the stadium as the second half was starting.

Leipzig came closest to scoring before Hwang finally made the breakthrough in the third minute of extra time, taking Yussuf Poulsen’s pass beyond a defender with his first touch and scoring inside the far post with his next.

Leonardo Bittencourt capitalized on a mistake from Dayot Upamecano to score in injury time of the first half of extra time, but Hwang crossed for Forsberg to decide it.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP

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